Interview by Miguel Penabella
Originally conducted December 9, 2019
Edits and introduction written March 17, 2020
What strikes me about Brendon Chung, sole developer of independent studio Blendo Games, is his sustained interest in taking things apart to learn—really learn—how they work. In his many meticulously detailed game development streams on his YouTube channel, he pays this knowledge forward, educating budding game makers on how to build a game from scratch. And in his informative GDC talk about deploying architectural principles in game design, Chung further demonstrates his do-it-yourself ethos that has followed him throughout an accomplished career. This DIY attitude is just how Brendon Chung operates. During his years working for AAA game developer Pandemic Studios, he grasped the importance of teamwork and constructive feedback, carrying these values into his one-man venture, Blendo Games. But despite this solo status, Brendon Chung never fully works alone. Enjoying the creative space of Glitch City alongside other Los Angeles-based indie game developers and broadcasting his work through development streams online, Chung sharpens his talents through a steady stream of feedback and the patience of trial and error.
Blendo Games has been around for just over a decade now, following the inaugural release of Gravity Bone in 2008 while Brendon Chung was still at work for Pandemic Studios. However, Chung’s career extends far beyond Blendo and Pandemic, having released mods for games like Doom and Quake as early as grade school. These early mods swap traditional gunplay for more experimental game design choices that would anticipate Chung’s current independent work, subverting and expanding the forms of expression of a rigid, first-person shooter. Discussing this early mod work, Chung conveys a deep fondness for the challenge of thinking creatively under constraints. His early Citizen Abel series, for example, builds an overarching, comedic mythos of intergalactic contract work from the comparatively grim world of Quake II. Brendon Chung’s Barista series is even more experimental, playing with storytelling techniques like the smash cuts of Barista 2 that explode the unbroken first-person perspective assumed in videogames by cutting nonchronologically across time and space. Chung deploys this design strategy to great effect in 2012’s Thirty Flights of Loving, weaving in flashbacks of a tragic love story into a failed heist. This design approach of modding existing works and tinkering and upending traditional expectations of game design is what Heather Alexandra shrewdly observes as “remixing… into new shapes,” an idea that Errant Signal’s wonderful video on Blendo Games demonstrates further. While his games are often experimental, they are never inaccessible, but are instead playful, unruly, and funny. Beyond his imaginative first-person forays from Citizen Abel to Quadrilateral Cowboy, Chung has also released deeply satisfying strategy games including Flotilla and Atom Zombie Smasher.
A thorough examination of Brendon Chung’s career proves incredibly difficult given his prolific output across two decades, but the conversation we shared illuminates some of the motivations for his medium-pushing game design and the creative origins for many of his ideas. We touch on his experiences working in the AAA space of Pandemic Studios and the early challenges of transitioning to independent game development. We also lovingly discuss the modding scene of the 1990s and its significant impact on the Citizen Abel and Barista series. Throughout our interview, Chung briefly muses on the lessons learned from various media including the design of games from Marathon to Death Stranding, the humor of films like Marriage Story and Midsommar, and the DIY independent film scene of the 1990s with films by Wong Kar-wai. Below is our interview (conducted December 9, 2019), which has been condensed and edited for clarity.
You’ve been making videogames for over two decades at this point, and the gaming landscape looks quite different as we enter 2020. What excites you about videogames now?
I felt that when I first started, it was kind of a struggle to find the resources to make a game, or even to learn how to build it. What’s cool now is that it feels so much more democratized. It you want to learn how to make a driving game, you can just search for resources and assets to do it. If that’s a thing you want to do, the amount of friction to get to that point is decreasing, and it’s becoming much easier to learn how to make a game. A friend of mine here is teaching an Intro to Game Development class at a high school in Los Angeles, and when he told me that, it blew my mind. I was like, “What? I didn’t know it was a thing you could do now!” As a kid, I was super interested in game development but had such trouble finding out how to do it, and the idea of it being introduced in that class was really cool to hear.
What was your opinion about the state of videogames at the very start of your career?
I loved videogames and knew I wanted to make games, but at that time, with my limited worldview and limited experience in life, I felt that you had to work at a large corporation if you wanted to make videogames. I was just in middle or high school at the time, but that was my mental model of how games worked. It wasn’t until later on, when I did end up working at a studio, that it became clearer to me that you can actually make your own independent thing. Once you see some other people out there doing it, you realize, “Oh, okay. Now that I can see people actually doing it and surviving, I know it’s possible for me to do it.”
“It wasn’t until later on, when I did end up working at a studio, that it became clearer to me that you can actually make your own independent thing.”
Before you started making games, what was your background and education?
I studied Film at university. I knew that I wanted to do videogames because prior to going to university, I had spent a bunch of years doing mod work for Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, and Warcraft since elementary school. I went to college and knew I wanted to do videogames, but there wasn’t really any program to point you in that direction. I knew I didn’t really want to major in computer programming because from what my friends and what research was telling me, the university’s computer science major focused a lot on structures, theory, and the history of it, which I wasn’t really interested in doing. I just wanted to learn the nuts and bolts of how to make a game. Since there was no real program at my university, I studied film, which was something that I wanted to learn more about. I felt that it could probably help me in my game programs that I’d do later on in my life.
I’m glad that you mentioned that you were thinking about these things as early as elementary school, because you also said in this interview that you did with Nightmare Mode way back when that you were making those mods for Wolfenstein and Doom.
Yeah! In my sixth-grade yearbook, I wrote, “I want to be a videogame designer.” It’s like, “Um, alright. We’ll see what happens.” [laughs]
It ended up being true.
I got lucky!
You mentioned that you worked in the industry, and I saw that you worked for the AAA developer Pandemic Studios. What games did you work on while there? What was your role?
Yeah. I worked on some titles that will probably never see the light of day, and I worked on two titles that shipped. The first one was Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers, which was a kind of tactical military game. Imagine a real-time strategy (RTS) game, but you only have two units. It was weirdly innovative in a lot of ways, and I think its influence can be seen in some current games. I was brought in between the middle and end of the project to do level design. What was really cool was that the team was very small, and so that meant all the people on the team had to wear different hats. I was lucky enough to do the tutorial level and one of the levels in the middle of the game. I worked a little bit with the camera systems, and I did about half of the cinematics. The other game I worked on at Pandemic Studios was The Lord of the Rings: Conquest. The pitch was kind of like, “What if Battlefield 1942, but Lord of the Rings?” I worked on the tutorial level and one other level, and I was a kind of contact person for multiplayer design. I also worked on the camera design and one of the downloadable content (DLC) packages.
What were some of the lessons that you’ve learned from working in that space that you’ve carried with you until now?
I think a big thing was that I acquired a lot of empathy skills. [laughs] It’s pretty easy to fall into a trap of being very certain that you are right and everyone else is wrong, that your design is obviously the one that should be chosen, and that any time that’s not being spent on that design is a waste of time. But then, as you work through the dynamics of working on a team of different people with team politics and different personalities and egos, you learn that things are a lot more complicated and require a lot more understanding of how people work and how people’s feelings are important. There are things more important than just game design or making a game fun. I think that was very valuable to me. There was a time in my life where I would see a bad game come out, or a game that didn’t quite work, and I’d think, “Wow, that team just did not know what they were doing.” And then, after spending time making games as a part of a big team, you realize that there’s a million factors that are out of anyone’s control. Sometimes things just happen that you don’t have any influence over. No one wants to intentionally make a bad game. There is no five-dimensional chess game or conspiracy theory about people sabotaging a project. No, everyone goes into game development wanting to make something great, but sometimes, things just happen.
“You learn that things are a lot more complicated and require a lot more understanding of how people work and how people’s feelings are important. There are things more important than just game design or making a game fun.”
What was the motivation behind leaving the industry and creating your own independent, one-man studio, Blendo Games?
I had been doing mod work for quite a long time prior to working in the industry, and I still continued doing a little bit of that while at Pandemic Studios. I made a thing called Gravity Bone, which is just a short first-person game. There was something satisfying about making a little project on my own. And so, my plan was to start tinkering on a small project during my off time, and when it was ready, I would leave and continue fulltime. What ended up happening was that our studio was shut down by our parent company. I was pushed out of the airplane, and my plans were accelerated. From what I remember, I still continued searching for other industry jobs because it’s scary to not have a paycheck and be on your own. I thought, “Okay, I’ll continue working on my side project, but I’ll look for a ‘real job’ while I do that.” As it turned out, I ended up making my first Blendo game, which is Flotilla. I put it on Steam, and Flotilla ended up selling well enough to support me, and the ball kept rolling from there.
You mentioned before that one of the lessons you learned from working at Pandemic Studios was team feedback and that sense of empathy, but now that you’re working for yourself, how do you get that kind of feedback? When do you know that you’re satisfied with a game?
I got a lot of friends working at Pandemic, so I was lucky that they were nice enough to lend me some of their time to give feedback, do some playtests, and send me notes. It was good to have that outside perspective tell me, “Oh, this actually doesn’t work at all. I don’t know how to fix it, but you’ve got to do something.” That was invaluable to have. But to be very honest, it was really tough to be on my own, making my own thing in my room without this environment full of super talented people at the top of their game. I worked from home for quite a while, and it was very productive, but I think I did not handle it in the best way possible. My sleeping habits and general health were not super great at all times. I got very lucky in that a bunch of other local game developers in Los Angeles started doing meet-ups. Because they were all dealing with a similar problem in that we were all isolated a bit, we got the idea to pool our resources together to start a small collective space called Glitch City. We rented an office together for work, so you have the community and support network that you would get from a larger institution, but we’re all still independent. You get the best of both worlds.
And Glitch City is located over in Culver City?
We were there, but we just moved this year. We’re near Koreatown right now.
I think I remember Donut County and Hyper Light Drifter as some of the games made through Glitch City.
Yeah. That’s from Ben Esposito and Alex Preston, two of our co-founders.
“I was pushed out of the airplane, and my plans were accelerated.”
I’m interested in some of your early games, such as your Citizen Abel series. How did those games come about?
This was back around junior high or high school. I was really into making multiplayer maps for Quake II. I found it really satisfying, and when you’re being introduced to a thing, you have this period where you’re exponentially learning things at this really rapid pace. For me, it was mega exciting to make these cool things, so I made a series of maps because I was a diehard Quake II multiplayer fan. These maps did not get any traction. [laughs] No one was playing them, and no one was really talking about them. In hindsight, I think the idea of making a multiplayer map and getting people to play it is kind of a big ask. It’s a little bit disheartening when you make something that you’re really proud of but that doesn’t connect with anybody. I decided that it might not be working.
I was learning a lot but wanted to make some kind of connection with people, so I thought I’d make a single-player map. That ended up being the first Citizen Abel map, where you play as this person with a mission to acquire this red box that is always on a conveyer belt, just out of reach. You’re contracted to acquire it for a mysterious benefactor. I made this map and was pretty happy with it, and it got some attention. It was very satisfying and validating to hear that other people were playing it and sending me feedback. During this time, the mod scene for games was pretty bananas. There were a handful of sites where all they did was review mods, and this was a normal thing—that was just how things were at that era. It was cool because you would make a mod, and they would play it and post a review on their site. People then read the review and played your game. That led me to focus more on single-player stuff, and the Citizen Abel games became more and more elaborate. The first one was just a map, and then I started adding art assets and little tidbits of new code. From there, it started sprawling out as I learned more and more things.
What were some of those mod community websites?
The one that I remember the most was called Ten Four. Their site had a very nice layout, and I was a big fan of the work that they did. [laughs] I do have a portfolio CD-ROM back when I was interviewing for jobs, and I did download some of those pages, so it exists somewhere.
“The mod scene for games was pretty bananas.”
I really liked the bizarre, self-contained universe of Citizen Abel, and many of your other games like Pilot Light and the upcoming Skin Deep have you play as some kind of worker in their own fictional world. What’s your process for coming up with these stories and characters?
I have a big document full of game ideas and notes of things that I want to do sometime during my lifetime. Whenever I come up with something that I think would be interesting or funny enough to make people laugh, I just add it to this document. When the time comes to build something, I rifle through this document and pick out stuff that might work. My process is reading a lot of books and comics, watching a lot of movies, and trying to absorb as many things as I can.
Is there something in that document that’s a white whale that you haven’t been able to figure out how to incorporate into a game yet, but has been sitting in that document for quite a while?
[laughs] I grew up playing a lot of multiplayer games. I played a lot of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Age of Empires, Duke Nukem 3D, and Quake II. Basically, I’ve always wanted to make anything that’s multiplayer, but if you do a multiplayer game, you’re setting yourself up for something exponentially more complex than a single-player game. On top of that, in order to make a multiplayer game work, you have to get this critical mass of people to play the game in order for it to survive. That’s always been this thing I’ve tried to crack, and it’s always in the back of my mind. I think there are ways to make a multiplayer game that can be designed around some of these problems. One of the problems is that you need a critical mass of players, but I think what’s cool is that there’s this new wave of games that have asynchronous multiplayer that doesn’t require players to be online at the same time, while still having the benefits of having a bunch of people playing the game. I think there’s something there; I just have to think about it more.
What are some of those asynchronous multiplayer games that you’re interested in? Are you thinking about the multiplayer experience of something like Death Stranding?
Yeah! I think there’s something juicy about how you walk around and see things that other players have done, but it works around the problem of needing players to be online at the same time, or needing twenty players in order to start a match, or all of those other weird little design problems that multiplayer games have.
“My process is reading a lot of books and comics, watching a lot of movies, and trying to absorb as many things as I can.”
How did the Barista series come about? Can you talk about the motivations behind the narrative and gameplay choices?
Originally, the Barista series started because I wanted to play with a game engine, and I always like to start small. The Barista games are like dipping my toe into new tech whenever I have any; I make something nice and manageable. In terms of the story, it involved how I normally write stories, where I start with a really rough idea and then start implementing as quickly as I can. I make part of the game and then see how it feels, and then from that point, I try to build off of that. It’s this process of slowly building and evaluating what I have, and then building more and evaluating what I have again, because that’s what works for me.
I read another really great discussion that you had with Robert Yang for Rock, Paper, Shotgun where you mention some of the early games by Bungie like Marathon, Pathways into Darkness, and Myth as games that are of really great importance for you. What is the significance of those games for your work?
It was difficult for me to get exposure to Mac games, but during college, I found a website called Marathon’s Story, and it was this breakdown of every single computer terminal that you see in Marathon. It shows the text, and then it shows an explanation or possible interpretation of it, with possible connections to other bits of the story. It was really inspiring to read this giant, sprawling thing that made this really rich universe just through text terminals. From what I remember, Marathon doesn’t really have scripted sequences or voiceover narration; the story is told through text. There’s always this moment, whenever I see something that’s really low budget or low tech, that you can see how much you could do with it. It’s always very inspiring. For me, I was stuck on that Marathon story page for a month or so, just reading every single page. It showed me what games could do with very little.
And I also noticed that Pathways into Darkness has its own story page too.
Yeah! And it’s really good! [laughs] It makes these really cool connections to Marathon, and it’s just really, really good stuff that you could do that with a limited budget.
You had mentioned before that you worked on Gravity Bone during the time you were at Pandemic. How did those ideas for that game come about? Did you have in mind from the beginning that you were going to expand that into Thirty Flights of Loving?
No, definitely not. Gravity Bone was originally intended to be a direct sequel to the Citizen Abel games. It still is, but it’s just definitely very different in tone. The Citizen Abel games are a lot more action-oriented; they’re much more like traditional first-person shooter games. That’s how Gravity Bone started. The “gravity bone” was originally intended to be this mysterious weapon that you get at some point, but as development continued, the combat stuff didn’t make me interested anymore. I felt that there was room to play with other ideas. At my day job at Pandemic Studios, I already spent so much time doing combat stuff that I felt that I needed a little bit of a change. And so I gradually de-emphasized the combat bits more and more and more until it just disappeared completely, and I ended up with this storytelling experiment. Thirty Flights of Loving was originally one of the early iterations of Gravity Bone, so at some point, Gravity Bone was a game about doing these smash cut edits. I don’t remember why it didn’t go in that direction. I just had this prototype of Thirty Flights of Loving in my hard drive that later on was resurrected and built up into the final Thirty Flights of Loving.
“There’s always this moment, whenever I see something that’s really low budget or low tech, that you can see how much you could do with it.”
I’m glad that you mentioned those editing techniques like the smash cuts, because I noticed that you also used that in some of your other games like Barista 2, when you’re falling down the shaft and you get a flashback. What was your motivation in going forward with this storytelling technique?
I think there’s a lot of room to play with different ideas in the first-person genre. I think it’s tricky because one of the defining things about first-person games is that when doing them, you have this one really long shot where you are the camera. The camera never cuts, and it always stays inside your eyeballs. One of the challenges is in trying to find ways to convey information in which things don’t always happen in front of you. I love scripted sequences; I think they’re wonderful. But at some point, they do feel a little bit hard to do because you have to find ways to always have every single piece of action happen in the same room as the player and in front of the player’s eyes. I was trying to find ways to work around that, and so I thought, what if we just didn’t do the long shot? What if we played with the idea of tweaking that or messing around and having fun with it? Barista 2 played with the idea of cutting away from the player’s point-of-view to go somewhere else and travel across space and time.
Since we’re talking about these cinematic influences, I know that the filmmaker Wong Kar-wai and the cinematography of Christopher Doyle is quite a big influence on you and for Thirty Flights of Loving especially. What does their work mean to you and to the game?
During the mid-1990s, there was this independent cinema boom with filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez, the Coen brothers, Richard Linklater, Wong Kar-wai, and other people like that. They would make these very low-budget movies that were these great, wonderful things with limited resources—this is similar to what we were talking about with Marathon and the text terminals. Throughout high school, I definitely watched a lot of these movies. I was infatuated with Wong Kar-wai’s work. Tonally, his films do things that you do not expect. They have this dreamlike tone and logic to them. People don’t act in a natural way, but in a way that’s really compelling and interesting, and you just want to be around them. There’s this giant list of things that he does that’s very special, and Wong Kar-wai was a big inspiration for me.
“Barista 2 played with the idea of cutting away from the player’s point-of-view to go somewhere else and travel across space and time.”
There are a lot of other clear inspirations and references throughout the game. I remember in Thirty Flights of Loving all these references to the anime Cowboy Bebop, the film Three Days of the Condor, the videogame Doom, the book The Great Gatsby, and many others. How do you decide on what material to draw from in creating that game?
[laughs] It’s kind of whatever makes me laugh or whatever I think would be funny. I think that jokes are really important for anything; it’s kind of how I operate. We just watched Marriage Story this weekend, the Noah Baumbach movie, and it’s really good! I think what makes it work is that it’s really funny, which is not very intuitive to want from a dramatic film, but there’s something about the way that jokes can fit in to whatever you’re doing. Jokes make a horror movie better. Midsommar came out this past year, and I think that movie has some incredible jokes in it. It has really funny stuff, and it’s very important for me that when I make games, my work runs the spectrum of emotions. Strong jokes are definitely a thing that ties everything together.
How do you write a joke for a videogame?
For me at least, it’s building out the game, seeing it onscreen, and then seeing the potential of a corner being a good spot to do so-and-so or seeing the architecture of the world and thinking, “Oh, what if I tweak this and that? That could be a nice setup for X, Y, and Z.” I’m not very good at planning things out and making a grand masterplan, but what works for me is in building out a chunk of the game, having assets that I can look at onscreen, being able to walk around in this world, and spotting potential spots to make a weird, funny thing or something that makes me giggle.
One of the things that I really loved about Thirty Flights of Loving is that you include director’s commentary, and one of the things that you reference is theme park design as something that game designers can learn from. What draws you to theme parks in your game design?
What I like about theme parks—specifically those that emphasize theming, like Disneyland—is that they have to do this thing I’m really into. Theme parks must be a beautiful, aesthetically gorgeous space infused with story and character while also having logistical considerations like being suitable for people to walk through and understandable so that people do not get lost. It’s this really cool but difficult and challenging combination of beauty and utilitarianism at the same time. That’s something that I’m really drawn to because there’s something really challenging about making things work on different axes.
“Strong jokes are definitely a thing that ties everything together.”
I’m going to move on to Quadrilateral Cowboy, which you describe as “twentieth-century cyberpunk.” Why are you fascinated with these analog technologies that figure so much in the game like CRT monitors and cassette players?
Part of it is that I just grew up with that stuff, and so I have a connection to it. I think the other part of it is that there’s a really strong, tactile satisfaction of pressing a really chunky button and hearing it clunk and feeling it lock into place. I think that nowadays, I don’t really get that same satisfaction from smartphones, touchscreens, and things like that. There’s always this input lag, or it feels kind of mushy. For me, I just wanted to feel that feeling again of pressing a really chunky button or using a hard-to-turn dial that you turn really hard before it clicks into place and makes a loud clunk. On some weird level, it feels very satisfying and immediate.
I see Quadrilateral Cowboy as about taking things apart and understanding how things work. It’s almost like a reflection of your own career and some of your interests like how you worked on these early mods and took apart these games, and even the development stream that you have on YouTube for your games. You really like to show us the guts of things.
Yeah! Growing up, I would borrow my dad’s screwdrivers all the time when I was a kid, and I would just take things apart around the house. There’s something satisfying about opening up a radio, looking at all the guts inside of it, and trying to figure out how this connects to that. I didn’t understand anything, but there’s something satisfying about having this power to dissect things. There’s this joy of being in a place where you shouldn’t be and learning more about how the world operates. I try to make these things more transparent to people whenever I can because it’s very satisfying to learn how things work.
One of the other games that I’ve enjoyed from you is Fitz Packerton, which is a game that you worked on with Teddy Dief, Ryan Cousins, and Sarah Elmaleh. In that game, there’s a story that’s told through implication. You pack up various bags, and it starts off mundane but becomes increasingly criminal. You piece together what story is happening in the background. How do you design for a game that happens largely offscreen?
That was an interesting project to work on. If you have a universe of possibilities to make something, it’s very challenging to figure out how to make it work. But once you constrain it into a box, it makes the decisions a lot easier. I think that’s what made the project work. I remember when I once met an Imagineer, a Disney person who made theme park rides. They were talking about how in dark rides like the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean—where it’s a little car moving around a dark room and you look at things—one of the ways they design these rides is by having this track. You have a really limited amount of space to make the layout, so you have to use a lot of switchbacks, U-turns, and a turnabout pattern in order to pack as much things into the space as possible. When you do that, you end up in a situation where you actually don’t have many options to make things work because of the limited space, and you just have to cram everything in there. You end up with this really serpentine pattern.
For Fitz Packerton, one thing that helped crystallize or focus the design was deciding on the conceit that it was a theater production. Everything in the world had to be physically possible, and we couldn’t do weird videogame tricks. It all had to physically fit together and be physically creatable in real life. Once we made this decision, it made things a lot more obvious: Fitz Packerton was going to be a bunch of rooms, and the walls were going to slide out of place like in a theater production. Once you make a decision to have these set restraints, it helps the storytelling by narrowing or whittling down decisions to just a couple of things.
“There’s a really strong, tactile satisfaction of pressing a really chunky button and hearing it clunk and feeling it lock into place.”
Beyond your own games, what are some of the other games where you’ve thought, “Wow this is a well-executed level, or this is something that really incorporates this design that I’m interested in?”
One game that I was really impressed by this past year was A Short Hike, which feels very inspired by the Zelda games. It does this thing where it just feels good and welcoming to be in its world. Everything about its tone is so well done. A Short Hike is one of those games where you just want to hang out and be inside its world. There’s something nice about that. There are some games, movies, and books where they do a character or a world so well that you don’t even need to necessarily do anything. You just want to hang out and exist there. I remember the old BioWare Dragon Age games doing that for me. It’s like, “I want to bring party members along my adventure just so I could hear what they’d have to say about things because they’re just so fun to be around.” I had that same feeling with A Short Hike.
“There’s this joy of being in a place where you shouldn’t be and learning more about how the world operates.”
I have one final question, which refers to one of my favorite moments in Thirty Flights of Loving. It’s that scene where you can peel and eat an orange with Anita, and you can look out into the night. How important was it for you to include these quieter character moments?
[laughs] It was very important for me. Displaying character and telling stories without dialogue and without locking a player in a room with a scripted sequence puts you in a position where you have to scavenge the things that can work without those two tools. If I’m voluntarily choosing to restrict myself from not using those two tools, I have to find something that does work. I thought to myself, “Maybe this could be a way of expressing the tone of what we’re trying to do right now, of having this quiet moment where nothing’s happening and the player is intentionally not given anything else to do in this room.” There’s nothing else interactive that players can do, so the only action is this one thing. The scene is very quiet, and it hopefully conveys a lot of information about what’s happening in this world and what your relationship is with these characters.
You could view it as inconsequential if all you care about is finishing the game, but at the same time, it is really important because it’s so revealing of the characters and your relationships to them. I’ve noticed that food becomes a big thing throughout your games like the cookies and milk in The Puppy Years, and the watermelon in Barista 4. They’re really quite interesting.
I love eating. [laughs] For me at least, I think it’s important to try and make stories for people who want it, but I also want to respect people’s time if they don’t want it. I don’t want to force people to engage with that whenever it’s possible. Our time is valuable!