Best described as a racing RPG set in the near future, Desert Child is an indie title that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Set to release later this year, the game follows a hoverbike racer on his quest to win the ultimate race.
Sporting a punk aesthetics and an old-school inspired art style, Desert Child looks like an interesting racing title full of action and fun.
To get a better feel of what under the game’s hood, I sat with its developer, Oscar Brittain, to talk about the development cycle, the game’s quirks, and unique style.
GameSkinny(GS): So what inspired the idea of Desert Child?
Oscar Brittain (BS): I guess Cowboy Bebop was a big initial inspiration, but the game changed so much since I started back in 2015. The bounty hunting thing is just a part of a larger game now. I kinda had shelved that idea, then I drew the main character on his bike and was like “YES” and just stuck him into the design for the Cowboy Bebop game.
GS: Desert Child seems to be very punk inspired. Is that the main theme at hand?
BS: I like to say I subscribe to “loose game design theory”, also known as “winging it”. I do try to keep the spontaneity of the early days going throughout the whole project. It’s easy to do when you’re a one-person team and you don’t need to convince anyone that you should make some drastic change a month before a deadline.
GS: Are there any specific non-game inspirations for Desert Child? Films? Books? TV shows?
BS: Cowboy Bebop was the big one. Redline and Akira were pretty influential for the race sequences. Other than that, my favourite kind of story is one with a reluctant protagonist, or just some really low-stakes conflict that really just serves as a reason to have cool shit happen. I like Junky, The Rum Diary, Hitchhiker’s Guide, Clerks, just that kinda thing.
GS: What inspired you to be a game developer?
BS: I wasn’t very good at anything else. We’ll see if I’m any good at this when the game comes out I guess haha.
GS: How long have you been developing/conceptualizing this game?
BS: Roughly for about three years? The title has changed a lot over from it’s original concept over time though.
GS: What other hobbies are you into? Do they help you with game development?
BS: I make music, which is usually a big part of game development. I can do sound design from that as well. I also happen to collect old leather bandoleers but I don’t like guns though. It’s kinda silly I know. I also tried writing a book but it kinda devolved into just referencing videogames and 1980s movies. I suppose learning to write — kind of — has helped me with game development.
GS: What games do you like to play when you have time?
BS: I’ve been loving my time with Digimon World Re:Digitize lately. I like weird games like that with unique systems and mechanics personally speaking. I’ve also been playing Getting Over It With Bennet Foddy, and Deity Driving. These are pretty great.
GS: What has been the best feedback you’ve received about the game?
BS: I received a comment on the YouTube trailer for Desert Child. It was an interesting critique on the music in the trailer. The music featured is Australian hip-hop music so it was pretty funny to see a comment about that in particular.
GS: What aspects of indie game development people should be more aware of?
BS: Dedication of time. Everything will take longer than you think it will.
GS: Can you tell us about what kind of music we can expect from the game?
BS: If you head to Youtube and search for “Lofi hiphop beats to chill/study to 24/7”, whatever comes up first will be pretty close to what you’ll find within the title.
The indie racer and punk-inspired Desert Child is set for release in Q4 2018. If you can’t wait you can check out the demo now to hold you over for now.
Big thanks to Brittain for answering our questions about the game.