The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human Interview

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Posted May 27, 2015 by Spencer Maxwell in Video Games

   The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human is a dungeon exploring game developed by YCJY Games, a budding indie studio based out of Gothenburg, Sweden. The two-man operation of Christopher Andreasson and Josef Martinovsky had their first release, Keep Walking EP, in October of last year, which is available for free on their website. Their first big release is currently being crowd-funded on Kickstarter. I had the pleasure of interviewing Christopher Andreasson about the project, what inspired it, and what’s to come.

Spencer Maxwell: Tell us the story of the game.

Christopher Andreasson: You take control of the spaceship Argo 9, returning to earth from a failed space mission through a wormhole. Time has passed much faster outside the wormhole and earth is not quite the same. The whole planet is now submerged under water and humanity has been extinct for centuries. It’s up to the player to explore this unfamiliar home world and find out about what happened to the human race.

SM: What inspired you to create this game?

CA: There are lots of influences. Planet of the Apes is one of the biggest inspirations when it comes to the story. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou has been an inspiration visually. For the gameplay, I’d say Super Metroid and Shadow of the Colossus are the biggest influences. Daily headlines and online articles about how we are treating our Earth and the effect of global warming on rising sea levels has also been something that has influenced the story. We want to be able to tell a classic story, with classic gameplay, but with a message that’s important today.

SM: What sets The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human from other dungeon exploring games?

CA: The game focuses greatly on two things: boss fights and exploration. The gameplay during the boss fights is very action-packed and intense, while the exploration parts of the game are more atmospheric and calm, although there are some areas than can be tough to navigate through. This creates an interesting dynamic in the gameplay which sets it apart from games of the genre. You won’t be fighting waves of small enemies and then standing still to read the story. The unique story will be told mostly by analyzing the environment.

SM: What’s the music like?

CA: It fits the gameplay well, as it’s very atmospheric during the exploration parts, and much more intense during the boss fights. It’s a lot of drums during the boss fights and arpeggiated synths during the exploration. We wanted the music to match the underwater setting as well as possible. Karl Flodin is our composer and you can listen to some samples of the game’s music on our Kickstarter page.

SM: What about the atmosphere of the game?

CA: All of civilization is dead, but the wildlife is thriving! Earth is still very much alive and there are aquatic creatures and plants living everywhere. Humanity has still left quite a big mark on the planet, which creates an interesting feel to the environments. There’s sunken cities surrounded by coral and seaweed and gigantic pipe systems with aquatic bugs and crustaceans living in them. The game world is divided into many different areas, each with a different atmosphere and feel to them. There’s the very calm, but dangerous Seaweed Forest and the dark and hazardous Abyss. Throughout the game, one may feel a bit lonely and hopeless but it’s the human spirit and curiosity to keep on going that we want to tap into.

SM: An important element of this genre is isolation, why do you think people are drawn to this?

CA: I think people like the idea of you versus the world. Overcoming danger when you’re all isolated and completely on your own might generate a greater feeling of accomplishment for the player. The thought of being the last human alive is also something I think many have fantasized about. Man/woman versus nature. It’s a constant struggle, and nowadays it seems like we are the ones doing the beating.

adventures of the last human pic 1

SM: Why the retro style?

CA: We actually didn’t try to make the game look retro. Pixel art is something that comes very natural to us. People often shout retro when they see pixel art and there’s nothing wrong with that, but for us it’s just one way to create the game sprites which works well for us. There are lots of graphic elements in the game which wouldn’t be possible to create in the retro days; the lighting for instance.

SM: Other than funding, how has Kickstarter aided in development?

CA: It’s definitely helped us to get noticed. Also, it has helped to push us to work harder. Since we are new to the business and terrible at social media, it has really helped us tell people about what we are making.
SM: What challenges did you face or are facing in development?

CA: Oh, there have been plenty of challenges during development. There have been lots of bugs and memory leaks, which always is frustrating. But, I’d say the most difficult parts haven’t been making the game, but rather all the things surrounding it. Marketing, starting up and running a company, etc. These are things we’re both very unfamiliar with. I would like to add that it’s been a standard challenge to make the bosses fun and difficult, but not impossibly hard. And then making the exploration parts not just feel like travel segments, but we think that we did a good job with it.
SM: Any plans for future games?

CA: Yes, we have some ideas that we’re really excited about. After we’re done with The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human, we’re going start with the next project. We will probably do something with living people next time.

SM: Any other hints you can divulge?

CA: We’ve not decided exactly what the next game will be, but we have some things that we want to do. Our next release will probably be a bit more action-oriented and it will most likely involve hand-to-hand combat.

aquatic 5

SM: You’ve done so much with such a small team, was there anything you would have liked to add that isn’t possible yet?

CA: We work very well with just the two of us. The only things that we’ve outsourced are the music and some sound effects. If we had the money, we would have outsourced all of the sound effects but unfortunately we can’t. I don’t think adding more people to the team would benefit the development, not for the kind of games that we’re interested in making. We might want collaborate with others in the future, which we will definitely post about, but right now it’s not necessary.

SM: What do you want players to take away from this experience?

CA: We want players to have an exciting and thought-provoking experience with this game. The story will be told in a way that forces the player to create their own theories. The game brings up some modern issues such as climate change, which encourages the player to think about the society we have today. Other than that, we want the players to enjoy the cool boss encounters and all the different locations the game will take you through. Essentially, we want to leave their palms sweaty and their minds exhausted.

You can learn more about The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human on the Kickstarter page or on their website whycjwhy.com. You can reach Christopher Andreasson on YCJY’s official Twitter page: @YCJYgames.




                    
					                            
                     
                    
                    

About the Author

Spencer Maxwell

I write about pretty much everything surrounding nerd culture. @CSpencerMaxwell