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The Fall Interview with Over The Moon Studios with founder John Warner

PressA2Join recently caught up with Over The Moon Games Founder, John Warner to chat about The Fall, which has just been released on the Xbox One and Playstation 4 as well as already being out on Steam.

PA2J: The Fall has a very interesting story to it, can you tell me how the idea for the game came about?

Pretty organically, actually. I started working on The Fall for fun, with no expectation of what it was or what it would become. After putting a character in a scene and getting a few things working, I started to wonder who the character was, and for some reason the answer came at me from out of the blue. After that, I found that some of the puzzles I was designing had an interesting pattern to them – they were often about providing unreasonable expectations to the player and having the player circumvent those expectations. Those two elements fit together well for me, and a story about an AI struggling with her internal rules was born!

PA2J: For those who don’t yet know about the game, can you give us some insight into what kind of things players are likely to encounter?

The Fall is a narrative driven exploration game, so more than anything else, players can expect a strong, linear story that progresses by them exploring, and eventually coming to understand their environment. I was initially inspired by games like Super Metroid, where each new area you find offers more hints about where you are in general, and uncovers a sort of mystery as you progress. The Fall is like that, but instead of platformer action, the central gameplay revolves around exploration, as well as traditional point-and-click adventure puzzles. It’s only by understanding where you are that you learn what to do!

The Fall

PA2J: You had a very successful Kickstarter Campaign, it must have been a great feeling to not only reach your goal but smash through it?

Yes, we were incredibly happy with the outcome of our campaign. At the same time, though, we set our initial goal quite low for safety reasons. I wanted to make sure that our initial goal was just enough to allow us to barely finish the project. To be honest, I was hoping we’d get about what we did. Either way though, it was a fantastic experience! Always good to hear that other people are interested in what you’re doing. A lot of folks think it’s the root of all evil, but money is a measurement of value. Friends will always tell you that what you’re doing is great, but if a total stranger will give you ten bucks, but not twelve, then that’s an actual, tangible measurement of value. 

PA2J: ARID is a very unique character, how much fun was she to create and bring to life?

Tons of fun, and I have my writer, Caleb, to thank for most of that. The story was underway by the time he came on, but he’s the guy who’s responsible for really laying out these characters and putting the depth into them (as well as helping finish the story, too!)  I’m interested in story (obviously) but the truth is, I don’t have the chops for really getting into the nitty-gritty of character writing. I can speak for the art, of course, which is always a pleasure. I made ARID before I even had the concept to make The Fall. For some reason I had an idea to make a sort of Metroid-y character. Maybe on some level I wanted to put her into a game engine. Not sure.  Anyway, one thing led to another, and now we’re here… But it all started with ARID.

The Fall

PA2J: The Fall is being released across multiple platforms, was it always your intention to release the game for every console?

Yes and no. This is the first time I’ve done anything like this, and when I started, I wasn’t sure if it was even possible. However, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have made it an easy process. I think most people might not push themselves as far as I try to, so they never discover that taking the next step usually isn’t all that hard.  Coming to the consoles seems like a big deal, but now that I’ve done it… meh. It’s not so hard, really.

PA2J: What kind of games inspire you?

All sorts! I love story-driven games, but I love a whole pile of games that have little or no story. The truth of the matter is that I don’t know. Something about Super Metroid inspired me to start working on The Fall, but I’m not sure if that does it for me anymore. Lately System Shock 2 is in my mind. Why? I really don’t know. I think I’d have to follow that inspiration to find out why. I suspect that when we’re inspired by something it’s because it triggers something in us that wants to come out. Soooooo.. point being, lots of different stuff inspires me at different times, and I never ultimately no why until it’s done. The Fall, for example, turned out to be me working through my understanding of personal and professional boundaries. Where the hell did that come from?

The Fall

PA2J: The Fall combines Platforming with Point and Click do you think this helps to set the game aside from other titles?

Yes, I think so, but only because I haven’t seen another game that does that. I wasn’t trying to be unique, exactly, I just like a lot of different play styles. I like solving puzzles AND shooting stuff.  Usually those genres are seperate because we think the markets don’t overlap. One of my original Kickstarter campaign ideas was to describe the project as a break from that norm. I made the point that people talk about action gamers as if they’re all frat-boys, and puzzle gamers as if they’re all like Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters. The frame was going to be that I was smashing that norm. The truth, however, was that I didn’t think about that when I made The Fall, and that frame wasn’t quite wide enough to be a decent sales pitch, I think.

PA2J: The game relies on exploration and puzzle solving, can you tell us a little about how the puzzles work within the game?

Sure! The Fall is about rules and rigidity, mostly, so puzzles in The Fall were designed to provide the players with limitations and instructions that were somehow incomplete, unfair, and make it impossible to succeed. Our hope was that by exploring their environments, players would find ways of circumventing expectations, to outsmart the rules given to them. Then, our story comes in and is about rules and rigidity, basically. Integrating story and gameplay was our primary goal.

The Fall

PA2J: Will there be a second part to The Fall and if so, when are players likely to be able to get their hands on it?

Absolutely! There will be a second, and most likely a third part.  We’re not 100% sure when the release date will be, because we’re trying to take an organic approach to development. For example, pre-production has totally ballooned. However, the added time in planning is making production move forward more quickly than expected. I hoped that players would have part 2 this fall, but next spring is maybe more likely. Perhaps winter?  The truth is, I’m terrible with dates, but at the very least, I can promise that we’ll be releasing the best game we can.
PA2J: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us John
Huge thanks to John Warner from Over The Moon Games for taking the time to chat with us.
The Fall Review

About Daniel Pitt

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Dan has been gaming for nearly 30 years and has survived everything from Nuclear Fallouts to Zombie Outbreaks but his main love is Survival Horror and don't we all know it. Favourite games include Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto, he can be regularly found cruising the streets of Vice City listening to the classics.

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