Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How old are you? Where were you born and raised?
I’m 33 years old (34 this month in August) and born in Lexington, KY, where I’ve lived my whole life.
What was it like growing up there?
Pretty peaceful…maybe a little too much Country music though. I’ll forgive that.
Here’s the creator, Justin Fox
What did you want to become when you were a child?
[I] wanted to be a basketball player, [but] my older brother told me it was possible for us to make video games like we were playing. [I’ve been] soldever since!
What generated your interest in gaming?
My older brother. His Christmas present was the original NES. Mario was cool, but Punch Out blew my mind. The characters, the size of the sprites, the challenge, the personality. It was those two games that changed our lives forever.
When and why did you decide to create a video game?
I was always impressed with the scope and scale of the RPG (Role Playing Genre) genre. Those were always the games that changed my life consistently. [The] Final Fantasy series, the Ys series, Xenogears, Grandia, and so many more just blew my face off. So, I decided to go into game making when RPGMaker for PS1 dropped in America in 2000. We didn’t own a computer that was capable of doing much of anything (I think we had the old terminal back then). So console was the only chance I had to make a game. I could nothave been more excited for the opportunity. I remember it taking almost a month to get anything on the screen. I figured it out and 7 memory cards later I had my first game, Melee! (Video) simply because I’d always wanted to.
What is ReElise? What is it about?
An in-game screenshot of ReElise
ReElise is a Hip-Hop, 2D, Hand animated, Turn-based, mature Christian Role Playing Game. It’s about a young woman named Elise who has been through the horrors of human trafficking. She escapes with her fellow captive, best friend Lead, teams up with two mercenaries, and goes to find an item called the Judge’s Key, an item of legend said to destroy all evil in the world. Heaven help whoever gets in her way.
There is a faith element that surrounds the game. I wanted to see what God (El in this game) could do with a character this extreme. I wanted to show a narrative of hope in seemingly hopeless place. However, I didn’t want to preach to my audience. I wanted to weave the narrative in there as a story in this world, but if the player wanted to explore the Biblical themes I wanted to provide them with resources to do that in the form of a study guide.
What type of game is it? Who is it for?
It is a Turn-based role playing game (think Pokemon type battle system) with a lot of unique mechanics to spice things up a bit.
Transformations/Aura system has many enemies transforming or changing tactics to keep you on your toes. Different attacks work for different transformations so you’re not jamming on the “win” button.
The Emo System adds your emotions as a mechanic to gain the upper hand on enemies. Some choices you make before a battle can also affect your mood negatively or positively
This game is truly for anyone that loves these kinds of games. It’s notfor children however, and it’s certainly not just for Christians. I haven’t preached my way into the game. It’s the player’s choice to engage in the study guide if you want to dig deeper into the Biblical themes of the game.
Are your working with a team? If so, note everyone and their responsibilities.
My wife, Lauren Fox, is the Art Director and monster designer of the game (see her portfolio here0. My homie, Andy Smith, is the sound designer (see his work here). These are the two that are directly involved but both do an amazing job!
Another screenshot from the game
What do you like most about working on ReElise?
Tough question…I think praying in the overall process. I know that sounds a bit spooky but, after prayer some stuff comes out that challenges myself. He subverts me artistically, and mentally about what’s “supposed” to work. This makes everything interesting.
How long have you been working on this project? When will it be completed?
I’ve been working on this for about four years now. It’ll be completed likely towards the end of 2017, but I’d love it to be sooner of course.
How can people purchase your game/support your project?
It’s not for sale right now, the main avenues of support are going to be the Kickstarter.
Also clicking the link to share the Thunderclap.
Funding the project and sharing it are big big deals and we’ll need all the help we can get for such a strange title.
What are your plans once ReElise is finished and released?
Onto the next one of course! A smaller project or two before I start the next big one.
What advice do you have for people who want to be video game designers?
Learn, and start small! Game design is not intuitive. Learn about design from books websites etc. A quick google search can inspire many things you’d like to try once you learn more about design. Also the smaller games give you a chance to explore mechanics and systems with little to no risk before you move onto the higher profile stuff. If I could do it over again, I’d start small.
Why do you think it’s important for people to follow their dreams?
Who wants to sit on their porch as an old man/woman (if you’re blessed to live that long) and say, “Man… I really should have done that, but now it’s too late.” That’s kinda horrifying to me.
Photo credit: Dreamer Loop