Platform
PlayStation 4, Vita, Xbox One, PC
Publisher
COWCAT Games
Developer
COWCAT Games, Diabolical Mind
Genre
Action, Adventure, Permadeath, RPG
Players
1
File Size (Minimum)
87MB
Release Date (NA)
Dec 19, 2017
Purchase From


Filed Under

Cat with Monocle spoke with Breton Fabrice from COWCAT games, developer and publisher of “Demetrios – The BIG cynical adventure” and helped developed and published upcoming PlayStation Vita game “Xenon Valkyrie+”.

Hello! How are you doing meow?

Purr-fect!

(=´∇`=)

Could you tell us a bit about your company? How did you come up with COWCAT? Does it have something to do with a cow and a cat fused? What is it like being a solo developer?

Hi! I’m Fabrice, solo French game developer (and now publisher!).

I’ve been a video game fan and programmer all my life!

COWCAT is indeed a cow and cat (just look at the logo!)

I wanted something short and easy to remember, but it’s also a metaphor for “self-sufficient” – a cow can produce milk and a cat drinks the milk!

You previously developed Demetrios: The Big Cynical Adventure, a point-and-click title reminiscent of the Broken Sword and the Leisure Suit Larry series. What other games influenced Demetrios, and what are some of your other favorite games in general? Did any movies, books, or television programs provide additional inspiration?

You’ve summarized it pretty well! There are other influences such as Discworld, Deponia, Gabriel Knight, and even the Ace Attorney series (to some extent!) Not sure about other media inspirations, but I guess the game has some American Pie style of humor, which is something you don’t see every day in all-too-serious video gaming nowadays 🙂

What did you learn from working on Demetrios that helped with your other projects?

Oh, a lot!

I pretty much never drew anything in my life before starting this project. So you can say I pretty much learnt drawing and coloring by making Demetrios 🙂

Composing music, too. I didn’t do all of the soundtrack myself but a good part!

I’ve had general programming studies (I’ve had a job at a software company for hospitals before), but making a video game is quite different. I’m using GameMaker Studio, which is quite easy to use and a good portion of the Demetrios code is reused for my next game. Considering how ambitious this new project is, it would be a nightmare if I hadn’t made Demetrios!

 

Of course, I could also mention learning how to publish a game on consoles, how to promote it, how to run an (individual) company, to make contracts, to do accounting… Yes, I’ve been busy these few last years :p

From your twitter feed, you mentioned that you believe Demetrios didn’t attract more players was because of the graphics. Would you ever go back to fix that or do you move on from it?

Actually, I wouldn’t change them. Because they fit the (voluntarily) amateurish, quirky humor of the game quite well. I was just saying I’m going to improve on the next game (both by improving myself and by commissioning “true” artists) so it gets more noticed 🙂

You’ve worked with Diabolical Mind, another solo developer, to help bring Xenon Valkyrie to the Vita. How did that relationship begin, and what was it like to collaborate with another solo developer on porting the game to a console?

Daniel Fernandez Chavez is the original developer of Xenon Valkyrie. He reached me directly, as he loves the Vita and definitely wanted his game on it.

He considered doing it himself but he’s less fluent with English than myself, which makes it harder to communicate with Sony. Also, he’s already dedicating time to work on his next game, and he thought I did a good job with the Demetrios Vita version. Being two solo devs ourselves means we’re on the same level of thoughts, which is great 🙂

I won’t hide that his game had many issues when originally released on Steam. He worked hard to fix them, but at some point he was stuck, unable to fix a few things players were still complaining about.

You see, we come from different backgrounds – he’s mostly an artist who learnt programming, while I’m the opposite! When I playtested the game, I felt there was a huge potential, thus I accepted this deal. But on one condition – that we would improve the game to meet console quality standards. Even though narrative games are my favorite, I’ve played very varied styles of games over the years, so I’m able to notice gameplay flaws and how to fix them.

Would you be open to collaborating on another project with Diabolical Mind or with another small development team?

This is the dillema I’ve already had when pondering whether to accept the port of Xenon Valkyrie+ – should I spend time on ports to make “quick” money, or dedicate time to my own projects? The answer is probably a blend of both! Daniel made another game before Xenon (Riddled Corpses), so there’s always the possibility to port this one too at some point. But no promise!

We would LOVE to see it ported over to a home/handheld console!

Is there any difference between the Steam and Vita versions of Xenon Valkyrie, aside from now calling the game “Xenon Valkyrie+”?

The PS Vita version contains all the improvements since the original PC version (and believe me, there’s a ton!) and also contains a few gameplay changes, such as dedicating one button to each action (sword with X, gun with triangle, grenades and special items on shoulder buttons) instead of scrolling them on the PC version. This makes the gameplay fluid and much more enjoyable!

We’ve seen indie developers have more success on the Nintendo Switch recently than on Steam, mobile phone, and other home consoles put together. Are there any plans in the future to bring Xenon Valkyrie+ and Demetrios over to the Switch? Other consoles?

I wish! But GameMaker Studio doesn’t have an export for Nintendo Switch currently. Hopefully someday?

On the other hand, PS4 and Xbox One ports are a possibility.

What’s the process when trying to publish a game to a console like the PlayStation Vita?

It’s a mess! lol

I don’t even know where to start… But I’ll summarize it by saying it’s much, much more difficult than releasing on Steam for example. Not so much on the technical side (although you need a devkit and a lot of technical requirements to respect), but all the administrative stuff… is very annoying for a small indie company like myself. Well, the most important is that we succeed to release anyway!

Comparing all the platforms you’ve worked with (Steam, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One), can you tell us about the pros and cons of publishing, developing, etc. for them?

Steam is by far the easiest, because it was designed for small indies in mind. It’s basically “step by step”. You do pretty much everything yourself, but that means you get control on everything.

Sony’s publishing process seems very old-school and made for big companies in mind. Very segmented, bits of info and documentation scattered everywhere, two regions to manage (USA, Europe) separately, obscure forms… Not user friendly. But I’m starting to get used to it. Vita and PS4 submissions are very similar, which is a plus.

Microsoft is kinda in-between, especially with their ID@Xbox program – still strict but overall easier for indies!

Your new project titled “Project Brok” is currently in development. What can you tell us about it (an estimated release, and what consoles would it launched on, etc.)? Any feline characters?

It will be very ambitious and unique, mixing several genres in a way that no other video game has done before (AFAIK)

I’ve spent one year on it, but it’s still early in development – I expect to dedicate several years to make it!

And that’s an interesting question – because yes, there are several felines in the game, and one of the two main characters is a cat! 😀

Is there anything else you would like to share about Xenon Valkyrie+ before its release later in December or about the future of COWCAT Games?

It should release before Christmas on the Vita PSN ! Expect an announcement with the precise release date on the PlayStation blog soon! 🙂

Thank you for your time! Best of luck with COWCAT Games!

Thank you! You’ve been purr-fect!

(^._.^)ノ

You can visit COWCAT Games official website to read the latest on their games!



About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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