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Behind the Scenes with Clockwork Giant Games, the developers of Vulpine

From the low poly design to the idea of weaponizing woodland beasts, find out a bit more about Vulpine straight from the devs themselves!

A while ago, I wrote a piece about a pretty cool indie game which had just arrived on Kickstarter. The heading for the game "Be a Fox with a Sword" instantly caught my attention. This is when I discovered a game, which is still in development, called Vulpine and is an open world exploration game.

The whole premise of the game is that you play as a woodland beast that has the ability to wield a sword (or an axe). You are able to openly explore the area, gather resources, and own your own territory. As multiplayer, you can form your own hunting packs to take down some of the region's big mobs or just form alliances and create your own kind of animal civilization, I suppose.

The game is being developed by a small studio called Clockwork Giant Games and I was keen to learn more about how this game's unique concept came about so I got in touch with the studio for an interview.

ESpalding: Hey there guys! Thanks for giving GameSkinny this interview. We've seen a lot about Vulpine and are keen to know more from behind the scenes. Could you start by telling the readers a little about yourselves, please?

Clockwork Giant Games: We're Clockwork Giant Games, two brothers (Isaac Goodin and Josiah Goodin) making games out of Madison, Wisconsin. Isaac does all the programming, Josiah does all the art.

ES: Readers of GameSkinny may have already seen our article introducing the World to Vulpine and your Kickstarter campaign. It is an interesting concept. Where it the initial idea for Vulpine come from?

CGG: The original concept for Vulpine evolved from one of our Game jam games, Vulpine 101. Made for the 7 Day FPS game jam, where the point was to make an innovative FPS game. We wanted to make an FPS where the main character wasn't human, so we opted for the player to be a fox. The game was arcade-survival themed since we were on a Tokyo Jungle kick at the time. The concept of playing as animals ended up staying with us, so we decided to expand that into a full game.

ES: So, what is the reason behind your choice in setting and natural characters?

CGG: The reasoning behind the setting and characters in Vulpine is simple. We like animals, and we like interesting environments. So we made it a focus that the world of Vulpine should be a place you want to explore.

ES: But how the did decision to equip animals with weapons come from? Using wild animals as characters is a pretty novel idea but giving them the chance to wield swords etc. is a pretty unique idea.

CGG: At some point, we were trying to figure out how animals attack. One of us jokingly said "Why don't they just use a sword?" So we put it in the game. It seemed oddly fitting, so we kept it.

ES: That's one of the aspects of the game I really like. It is such a novel idea.

So, about the design of the game itself. Many indie games go for full on detailed or 8-bit graphics these days but Vulpine using geometrical designs and plain colors. Why did you choose this kind of game design?

CGG: Vulpine's flat shaded low-poly aesthetic was chosen for two reasons. Firstly, it's a style we're fond of; we think it's interesting and easy on the eyes. Second, with an art team of one, it's important to us to keep our workload down. Since all of the art is more simple, it allows assets to be made at a much faster rate.

ES: As you've already mentioned, you are a two-man developer team so being a small indie studio, what has been the main issues with the development of Vulpine and how did you overcome them?

CGG: Originally, just finding the time to work on Vulpine was an issue. About seven months ago, we began working full time on the game. We haven't hit any major issues with development on Vulpine, likely due to us being able to easily communicate back and forth on any snags we hit.

ES: To me, Vulpine is a breath of fresh air and, personally, I am looking forward to seeing the game come to fruition but what has been the general reception to the game?

CGG: We think that the community has responded pretty well to Vulpine. People seem pretty enthusiastic for something so quirky. We’ve received a lot of supportive comments, and fanart. In general, it seems you’re either totally on board with the idea of animals with weapons, or you’re not.

ES: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Lastly, for a bit of fun, if you could be an animal equipped with a piece of weaponry (which isn't already included in the game), what would you choose? For me, it would have to be a Badger (my favorite animal) with a crossbow. 

CGG: If they could be any weaponized animal, Josiah would be a Mountain Goat with a flail. Isaac would be an owl with a switchblade.

I would like to once again thank Josiah, and Isaac for the interview.

The Vulpine Kickstarter still has a few days left so, if you like what you've read here, head on over to the campaign to read more and maybe drop these guys a few dollars while you are at it! It has already been given the Steam Greenlight.

Published Sep. 6th 2016

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