Talking Undertale with Toby Fox
Last year a small game called Undertale took us all by surprise in the best way possible.
In Undertale you accidentally fall into the Underground, a large region situated underneath the Earth. Along the way you meet many memorable characters and journey to find your way back home. On the surface the game’s minimalist art style seems mundane but in reality it is so much more than that. Undertale’s music, character dialogue, and level design all work together to create an incredibly heartfelt story which will fill you with determination.
I had the honor to chat with the creator of Undertale, Toby Fox, and ask him a few questions about the game.
Spencer Birch: What made you initially want to create Undertale?
Toby Fox: To be honest, I was bored.
SB: Is Undertale your first game?
TF: Define game [laughs]. I like to consider it as my first “true” game. But I have made some crappy “games” in the past.
SB: [laughter] I understand completely. All of the characters in Undertale have really distinct personalities. Are any of these characters based on people that you know? Or are they characters that you created to fit within the world you built?
TF: Hmm, that’s a really good question. I like to think that I have subconsciously based them off of people I know, but to be fair, I mostly molded them around the game itself.
SB: Most of the characters’ personalities are pretty intense so I may be a bit concerned if they are truly based on real people you know! You made the game mostly on your own with some help from a few other people. What aspect of it was the most fun for you to create? My personal favorite is the music.
TF: Oh yes, the creative process that went into making the music was awesome. I would say that music was the most fun, seconded by creating the story.
SB: I love the soundtrack so much. Each track contains so much feeling, yet it is amazing how little is actually going on in some of those songs. A lot of fans have been pining for ports of Undertale on other platforms. Is this something you have given any thought to?
TF: Yes, I have had some deliberation about this topic, nothing has been decided, but it’s still a real possibility.
SB: That’s good to hear. In any case, it seems like Undertale was a great success being on just PC and Mac. If i’m not mistaken you created the game in Game Maker which can have some difficulty porting to consoles in some cases, so I understand at least some of your reluctance to do it. I personally like that the game is only for those two platforms. It makes it seem more boutique in a way. Maybe it seems to me that the game is more of a passion project for you and not something to make money off of exclusively. Would you say this is true?
TF: That was definitely a factor, I’ve always cherished Undertale as a sort of “magnum opus” so to speak. However, I have learned to be more mature with my decisions, which could result in a port.
SB: I think that no matter what the future of the game is, it will hold a very special place in many player’s hearts and in gaming as a whole. It’s truly a really unique and wonderful game. It’s amazing that something so seemingly simple can be so deep and provoke such emotion. Just two more questions if I may! What are a couple of your favorite games ever?
TF: UNDERTALE. No but for real, would say, probably Earthbound, simply because of it’s ties and connections with Undertale and how I became inspired to create it. I also enjoy the occasional Pokemon.
SB: Do you have any plans or ideas for a future project?
TF: Maybe :3
Toby thanks so much for chatting with me! I look forward to whatever you have in store for us.