Ladykiller in a Bind seems to be a break from making these games about systems (Please correct me here if I’m wrong). Why did you decide on making a more traditional visual novel this time around? Are there any possibilities in visual novels you would like to explore? Would you consider dabbling in writing for game genres outside your range, such as the story for an RPG? Considering your interest in computer interfaces, would you consider doing design work outside gaming to make these interfaces, for example for a social network, or maybe even a Linux build?
Actually, Ladykiller in a Bind is very easily going to be my least traditional visual novel, and vastly more systems-oriented than my previous stuff. It's still a visual novel presentation, but we're going to be doing a lot with the social manipulation element of the game; the ways you interact with people, and who you decide to pay attention to, will play a very big role in how the story unfolds. So there's going to be a lot of careful balancing of hostile social situations, which is quantified through game systems, and designed to be very different in multiple playthroughs.
It's also going to be my last visual novel, precisely because I'm sorta worried I've focused too much on making the same sorts of games, and I very much need to start increasing my range. I don't want to fall into a rut of just constantly making visual novels about computer interfaces. I have no idea what I'll be working on after Ladykiller in a Bind, but it'll likely be a very different sort of game than I've done in the past.
I did some research and understand you have been making games since 2010, which means in a relatively short time you’ve made quite a name for yourself in the industry. If you had to honestly assess yourself, do you think you’ve garnered attention because of the strength of the stories you tell, or the skills you’ve developed in telling these stories, or perhaps a combination of both?
God, I don't even know. I've gotten good at a particular kind of storytelling, I guess? Probably literally anyone other than me could answer this question better, because frankly, when I look at my work, I mostly just see how obvious its failings are. I feel like I can do a lot better, and want to.
Twine games have been becoming increasingly prominent in the same years that you’ve been working on games. I must say, personally, I was won over by twine games after playing Depression Quest, because it was so great at illustrating that experience in a way that a person who’s had to deal with depression could not fully explain. Can you name any game that won you over into making twine games? Who do you admire/ recommend among your colleagues?
Embarrassingly, I really can't play Depression Quest; as someone who does have depression, I just find it to be too emotionally difficult to handle. It's unfortunate, because everything I've heard about it certainly sounds impressive! The games that have really sold me on Twine was Porpentine's Crystal Warrior Ke$ha, Merritt Kopas's Conversations With My Mother, and Sloane's Electro Primitive Girl, which are all really interesting short things that play to the strengths of the medium, especially in terms of presentation.
But I think, really, what really makes me happy isn't well-known games; it's the fact that Twine is getting so many people interesting in game-making who wouldn't even consider it possible otherwise. I've been really impressed by the work of people like Anna Anthropy and Merritt Kopas for doing a lot of really awesome community work, organizing workshops and game jams for people who've never made a game before. That's super cool to me.
Finally, we know you’re planning to reveal information on Ladykiller in a Bind in the coming weeks and months, but is there anything about the game you’d like to share for the readers today?
Ha ha, well, I guess I've already said a lot about it as is. It's going to be a very different sort of work than I usually do, and a lot more sexually explicit, but still, I hope people look forward to it!