PAX AUS 2022 Indie Showcase - CONSCRIPT
The PAX AUS Indie Showcase is a chance to see some of the best new and upcoming titles from the ANZ development scene with past winners including celebrated games such as Unpacking, Hollow Knight, The Gardens Between, Hacknet, Wayward Strand and many more. The 2022 Indie Showcase is bursting at the seams, with 2021 winners invited back for the in-person experience they missed out on. Furthermore, the inclusion of Tabletop gaming means there is an even larger variety of experiences on offer on the show floor. Player2 encourages anyone visiting PAX AUS to make their way to the PAX Rising area and check out the following title as well as the many other excellent indies on display.
Player2: Thanks for speaking to Player2 Jordan! Obviously Pandemic related issues last year made it impossible to enjoy the benefits of your PAX AUS Indie Showcase win. How does it feel to have the invitation extended to 2022 to be able to experience the spotlight in person?
Jordan: I’m really excited, and I’m very grateful that I’m still able to showcase in person despite the year long delay. I actually booked an indie pod early, not knowing that I’d get a chance to have an indie showcase booth – so it was a nice surprise to find out I could still come and showcase Conscript free of charge.
At the start of my game development journey, I went to PAX 2017 and saw all the amazing indie games on display, and made a promise to myself that one day I’d be there showcasing. Five years later, here we are!
Player2: CONSCRIPT draws on many classic survival horror titles, particularly those born in the PSX era including Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Parasite Eve, Galerians and many more. Which of these would you say was most influential to you as a developer and what was it that drew you to capturing elements of this genre from that specific period of its history?
Jordan: Resident Evil and Silent Hill have both been the primary influences throughout the development process! More specifically, I’d say CONSCRIPT is a blend of Resident Evil’s gameplay and level design, and Silent Hill’s atmosphere and sound design.
What I love most about classic survival horror games is how purposeful their design is. There’s no fluff, and the gameplay, soundtrack, atmosphere and story all come together to represent a handcrafted, unified vision.
Player2: What in particular drew you to the WWI setting for CONSCRIPT? It often seems a somewhat underrepresented conflict when compared to the veritable avalanche of WWII set games.
Jordan: Originally I wanted to create a game that explored multiple historical periods with some kind of time travel mechanic, but I soon realized that would be way too difficult for my first project. So, I settled on the WW1 theme because I had a personal interest in it, and it also happened to be incredibly underutilized – which is always helpful when you’re trying to stand out from the crowd as an indie.
WW1 is the perfect setting for horror, simply because the conditions on the Western Front were, well, horrific! The trenches, the mud, blood, gas, barbed wire and twisted metal all make for the perfect backdrop. So much so, that I don’t feel like I have to make anything up in order to convey horror – because it all actually happened. Which to me, is scarier than any sort of fictional plot or setting.
Player2: Solo development can be particularly challenging, especially over an extended period of time. What have you found most difficult over the process of creating CONSCRIPT?
Jordan: Nothing about this journey has really been easy, because I had to teach myself all the different skills required for game development from scratch.
The hardest part of solo development is the act of juggling all these separate disciplines while still hitting your key milestones. Making a good game by yourself is incredibly difficult, no less when you’re also trying to keep on top of your marketing duties in order to gain enough wishlists so the game performs well.
However, It is incredibly rewarding being a solo developer! Seeing this whole thing come together the way it has over the past few years has been the highlight of my life so far.
Player2: What advice would you give to others looking to make their start in solo indie development?
Jordan: Understand the rules of the game before playing it! Solo indie development is one of the riskiest business moves you could ever make, and a lot of the time it doesn’t work out.
That said, if you have a unique vision and the day-in, day-out dedication to turn it into reality then there’s nothing stopping you. Just know that it’s a multiple year investment of your time. A lot of that work will be unpaid, and people won’t care at all about what you’re doing for at least the first year or two of work. This all depends on how much development experience you have of course, but for me coming from scratch, things took a while! A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into this.
Also, market often and market early. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! People want to know about the person behind the solo project, so get used to the idea of talking about yourself and your passion! Even if you’re an introvert like me!
Steam gives you all the rules to succeed by yourself, giving it a unique advantage over other platforms, so make sure you’re getting those wishlists early so the game performs and you can stay in the indie game after your first title.
Player2: What can PAX AUS attendees look forward to at the CONSCRIPT booth?
Jordan: PAX attendees can look forward to playing a brand new CONSCRIPT demo at the booth! This demo is essentially the introduction sequence to the game. It gets players introduced to the controls and setting, and then throws them into an intense trench battle where you have to fight for survival against incoming enemy soldiers.
I’ll be around for all three days so feel free to come on past, play the demo, have a chat or ask any me questions you might have!
Player2: Thanks again Jordan, looking forward to dropping by the booth in the PAX Rising section!
A demo of CONSCRIPT is available to download on Steam with a full release expected in mid-late 2023.