Ed Schofield On Armikrog & Crowdfunding
Armikrog, the kickstarted claymation point and click title from Pencil Test Studios has finally released. We had a chat with Ed Schofield, co-owner of Pencil Test Studios post launch, discussing some of the process, the place of point and click games in today’s market and what the future holds for the studio.
Jayden: As a team with games like Earthworm Jim & the Neverhood in your past, how did that work and experience manifest into Armikrog?
Ed: Mike and I had worked together on both Earthworm Jim and The Neverhood and started Pencil Test Studios in 2009. One day we were talking about the games we had the most fun developing over the years, and we both agreed that because of the stop-motion, The Neverhood was our favorite. We called Doug TenNapel who we had also worked with on The Neverhood and Earthworm Jim and asked him if he would be interested in collaborating on other stop-motion game. Doug jumped right in and came up with the Armikrog characters and storyline that we ended up building the game around. We also brought back Terry S. Taylor who composed the infamous Neverhood soundtrack to do the music for Armikrog.
Jayden: Why Kickstarter? What drove you to crowdfunding?
Ed: The Neverhood was published by DreamWorks and at the game’s initial release, it was not very well received by the general public. But over the years the game has gained momentum with a small but passionate fan base who have come to love and appreciate The Neverhood. But this was not enough to convince any publishers to take a chance on another stop motion animated adventure game, so we decided to bring the project to Kickstarter to see what kind of response we might get from the fans. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the Kickstarter community was as excited about the Armikrog project as we were. Jayden: How did the crowdfunding aspect impact or influence the development process for Armikrog?
Ed: The biggest (and most obvious) impact was that Armikrog got funded at all. This was the only way the game would have been made as no publishers would have been willing to take a risk on such a bizarre game concept. In terms influence on the development, we heard from a lot of backers throughout the process who had some great suggestions. We had never had this type of interaction with fans and supporters before, so it was fun to hear their reaction as we shared information about the game with them through emails, forums and backer updates.
Jayden: Point and click adventure games have found some recent success through companies like Telltale, how do you feel about that older style of game as it exists in today’s market?
Ed: I personally love it. For many of us, playing adventure games is a very nostalgic experience, reminding us of the simpler times of our childhood. I have very fond memories of playing games like Day of the Tentacles, Full Throttle and Myst. While today there are some great variations on the adventure game genre, I do enjoy the games that rely less on tutorials and more on encouraging the player to figure out their bigger purpose through exploration and discovery.Jayden: What’s next for Pencil Test Studios and Armikrog? Can we expect to see the characters or claymation style make an appearance in the future?
Ed: Stop motion animation is in our DNA, so in considering next projects that’s always where we seem to go first. But we’ve also got some ideas for the some hand drawn projects as well. We haven’t made any decisions yet, but whatever we do next, it’s going to be fun and funky.
Armikrog is available right now on PC, PS4 and Wii U. You can read our review on the claymation adventure game right here.