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Interview with Chevy Ray Johnston, Developer of Ikenfell

We get to interview Chevy Ray Johnston, the developer of the upcoming RPG game Ikenfell.

Ikenfell is a 2D RPG adventure game developed by Chevy Ray Johnston. In the game, you play as Maritte, a girl without magic, whose sister Safina mysteriously goes missing at Ikenfell, the school for witches and wizards.

It is up to Maritte to explore the school, uncover its mysteries, and find her sister. During her adventure, Maritte will learn magic and make new friends, rivals, and even romances.

(Art by @simonadventure)

I was able to get an interview with Chevy Ray, and ask him questions to learn more about Ikenfell. According to Ikenfell's Kickstarter, Chevy Ray is the game's writer, designer, programmer, and artist.

GameSkinny: Is there any special meaning behind the name "Ikenfell?"

Chevy Ray: Nothing special.

GS: What tools and software are you using to develop Ikenfell?

Chevy Ray: The game is coded in a custom engine, written in the C# language. There is a map editor and a tool for composing cutscenes, and I made both of them from scratch. I am using photoshop for the graphics.

GS: The battle system in Ikenfell involves magic dueling in a turn-based battle system. What kind of play styles and strategies will we be seeing?

Chevy Ray: Because the battlefield is so small, and you have multiple party members, positioning can be important. Your own spells can damage your friends, and healing spells can also heal enemies, so you want to be careful about where you stand. Spells have all kinds of different ranges, effects, and hit areas, so battles are about choosing the best one to use in each situation. You can also use timed button presses to power up your spells, and to block enemy spells, so knowing the timing of all the different attacks can make battles a lot easier.

GS: Since all of the characters are mages, will each character have access to different types of spells and skills?

Chevy Ray: Precisely. All the characters have different personalities, and excel at different fields of magic. There are some spells shared between characters, and some original spells that only they can cast. Choosing your party is about choosing which characters you like best, and which spells you prefer to use.

GS: Ikenfell's Kickstarter project is going very well. What other stretch goals do you have planned?

Chevy Ray: I have no other stretch goals planned, and it looks like we'll just hit our first one. If I suddenly get another burst, I will either save the money for emergencies, or see what I can do on the art front with it (more animations, cutscene artwork, and maybe some cool ending sequences for the game).

GS: A lot of video games nowadays are going for a pixelated style, including Ikenfell. Why do you think this is style is successful in a time when having the best graphics matters?

Chevy Ray: I think the art looks great, and I am very proud of it. I work very hard on it, and I think it both tells the story well and is pleasing to the eye. I think it's successful because it looks good, and is the best possible style for this game to be created in.

I don't see "pixelated" as a style any more than I see "3D" as a style... what's more important to me is how you do something, the message you send and what themes your art contains... not what tools you use to do it with. Some people don't like it, but I don't like realistic 3D art, so sometimes it just comes down to preference.

I'd like to thank Chevy Ray for sitting down to chat with me. For more information about Ikenfell, check out the game's Kickstarter, which ends on July 23, 2016. You can also visit the game's official site.

Published Jul. 18th 2016

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