Moon Hunters Articles RSS Feed | Moon Hunters RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 5 Badass Women in the Game Industry You Didn't Know Existed Sat, 29 Oct 2016 10:45:09 -0400 Aaron Grincewicz

We often take it for granted when we see a woman talking about an upcoming game at an event like E3, or hosting a game-related show.  In a lot of cases, you'd be right to assume that the companies send models or spokeswomen to events, and shows because they look good.  That said, there are many, many women in the games industry that the men can't hold a candle.  It's because of the male-dominated industry that they had to forge themselves into the badasses listed here. 

These women aren't listed in any particular order since they all deserve a number one spot on various lists.  So I'll start with...

Tanya Short

Why she is a badass:

Tanya co-founded Pixelles (along with Rebecca Cohen Palacios), a non-profit organization based in Montreal dedicated to empowering women to make and change games. Pixelles organizes free monthly workshops, a mentorship program for aspiring women-in-games, game jams, socials and more. 

If that's not enough, she also holds a Master's Degree in Interactive Media, with a focus on level design.  In addition to Pixelles, Tanya Co-founded Kitfox Games where she is their Creative Director.

Jade Raymond

Why she is a badass:

Jade is a former programmer, and currently a video game producer.  She founded EA's Motive Studio, and Ubisoft Toronto. Her resume includes; the G4 show The Electric Playground (miss that show), leading the creation of the first Assassin's Creed, executive producer of Assassin's Creed II and Watch Dogs, as well as a BAFTA Games Award for Technical Achievement (2009).

Lillian Chen

Why she is a badass:

Lilian is a former competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee player.  After competing, she co-founded The New Meta, a panel about gender issues women face within competitive gaming spaces.  She is also a designer, works for YouTube Gaming, has a blog:, and has been a featured TED speaker.


Alisa Simola aka Nulisa

Why she is a badass:

Alisa is the first woman to make the main roster of a Smite Pro League team. With so few women currently in eSports, that is no minor accomplishment. She is currently on Team eLevate.

Stephanie Harvey aka MissHarvey

Why she is a badass: 

Stephanie Harvey founded CLG Red, an all-female Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, which is a part of Counter Logic Gaming. She and her team rank among the top CS: GO players in the world. Stephanie also participates in panels to help grow the participation of women in eSports.

These women have already made an impact on several areas of the game industry like eSports, creation, design, gender equality, and more.  When someone says, "girls don't play games," or anything equally ignorant, now you can list at least five more names to educate the uninformed.

Moon Hunters is Now Available for PS4 Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:57:35 -0400 Megan M. Campbell

Back in 2014, PlayStation announced that Moon Hunters would be coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in 2015. After a year on Kickstarter, the game was able to develop more classes, more mountains and river biomes, and a cooking system. With these new changes in place, the game is now out for PS4.

Moon Hunters is a 1-4 player, mythology-building action RPG originally released for PC. Set in ancient Mesopotamia, you play as one of the heroes trying to find out what happened to the Moon and why it went missing. Your decisions are important in this game, as it changes the world around you, your reputation, and how you will be remembered in legend when you’re gone.

After receiving $178,986, Kitfox Games, the studio behind the game, added a cooking system. This system is fairly straight forward: you mix 2 ingredients and depending on the result, everyone in your party gets a bonus. Some ingredients are acquired from certain regions and by killing monsters, shopping, and so on.     

Those who live in North America can get the game via PS4 key. It is currently unknown when the game will release on PS Vita, as Kitfox Games wants to focus on releasing the PS4 version for other regions before moving on to the portable version.

[Source Image: Moon Hunters]


Moon Hunters Coming to PS4 in July Sat, 28 May 2016 06:17:28 -0400 JessicaKloss

Moon Hunters is finally going to be released on PlayStation 4 in North America and Europe on July 12. The indie developing team behind Moon Hunters, Kitfox Games, began kickstarting about two years ago to make this launch to PS4 happen. Their original release plan was for winter of 2015, so they're not that far off from their goal considering the challenges of making an entire video game with about five people! Tanya Short, the design lead for Moon Hunters, took to PlayStation.Blog to make the announcement and give some insight into making the game. 

"The game itself has changed a lot since the original concept, but the whole time, we’ve been driven by this fascination with 'mythology,' and what it means for a person to become a legend."

--Tanya Short


Moon Hunters is a party-based RPG and up to four players can work together to discover where the moon has disappeared to. The ultimate goal is to build your character's legacy, which will be determined by every action and choice the player makes. The character will be remembered by a constellation in the sky, which will reflect everything the player has accomplished. 

Moon Hunters launching on PS4 in 2016, cooking system detailed Wed, 16 Sep 2015 18:43:33 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

In a new post on the PlayStation Blog, Kitfox Games' Creative Director, Tanya Short made a major announcement and revealed a few intriguing details about her upcoming cooperative action RPG, Moon Hunters.

The major announcement is that Moon Hunters will be releasing on the PlayStation 4 during Spring 2016 which was one of the stretch goals achieved during the game's Kickstarter campaign which launched back in August of 2014. Short attributes the support of the PlayStation community to making the Kickstarter campaign as successful as it was, saying:

This improved our community — after we announced our support for PS4, not only did more pledges pour in, but the positivity surrounding the game grew. I don’t know if it’s because there’s something special about indie-loving PS4 players, or maybe everyone just feels more hopeful when there’s console versions in the mix, but I’m grateful for it.

She also goes into detail about the game's cooking system, which was another one of the campaign's stretch goals. As players travel through the game world, they will uncover ingredients in a variety of ways from earning them as spoils from battle to shopping for them. Functionally, the cooking mechanics are meant to provide stat bonuses, but half the fun is mixing ingredients together to see what can happen. 

It's really interesting to see a developer come forward and layout exactly what kind of impact the pledges that people make on a Kickstarter campaign can have on the fortunes of an entire game like Tanya has done here. It's one thing to see the list of stretch goals as little more than check points, but it's another to hear about them, to really understand why these things were important to the game as a whole. 

Interview: Tanya X. Short, Lead Designer on Moon Hunters at Kitfox Games Sun, 13 Sep 2015 17:30:01 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

About a year ago, I was browsing around on Kickstarter for nothing in particular, and I happened upon Moon Hunters by Kitfox Games: a top-down co-op action RPG (some of my favorite words and abbreviations in the English language). After I took a gander at the campaign video, I came away very impressed with what I saw and put the game on a little mental note in my head and tucked it away.

I had a feeling I would be seeing and hearing about it in the future. I just didn't know I would actually be speaking to the game's lead developer a year later. But lo and behold, life is nice like that sometimes, and Tanya X. Short herself was gracious enough to answer a few quick questions about the game's design philosophies and the struggle for relevancy in such a competitive space.  

GameSkinny: What would you define as the foundational pillars of Moon Hunters' design?

Tanya Short: Well, on our developer wiki, we define that the core experience is to "live the mythology of a hero". We decided that our interpretation of that would be based on three main "pillars" of the gameplay: Deeds, Combat, and Reputation. The goal of Deeds is to give the player opportunities to take action and show their personality. Meanwhile, the goal of Combat is to give the player a growing sense of empowerment. And finally, Reputation is all about the satisfaction in and admiration of your accomplishments, and seeing the results of your deeds and combat in the world.

GS: What has been the toughest part about about getting exposure for Moon Hunters?

TS: In the beginning, it felt like we were talking into the wind. It seemed like no matter what we said, it fell on an empty, uncaring world. Even though we were in the first batch of games hosted on the Square Enix Collective, so we got more attention than most, our social media community and newsletter grew rather slowly... and it's easy to compare yourself to games with much bigger, more successful marketing campaigns. Even when our Kickstarter was doing really well, we found it difficult to get anyone's attention -- the indie scene is just so crowded with amazing games! It's still unclear how much exposure we'll get for the launch... I think at this point I've probably sent over a thousand unanswered emails to journalists about Moon Hunters. But we just have to keep on keeping on, and trying to do our best, even when it seems pointless.

GS: On Kickstarter, your initial funding goal was $45,000. But you ended up shattering that and getting over $178,000. What do you think were the biggest reasons you were successful in getting that kind of funding?

TS: I think it was roughly half planning and half luck. The things we did right in planning were fairly common: we were gathering our fan-base on social media and a newsletter for 6 months on Moon Hunters before we launched the Kickstarter, we had a game concept that was easy to understand through animated gifs, and we very thoroughly studied both successful and failed campaigns for what kinds of tiers, language, illustrations, and videos attracted customers. Some campaigns get a lot of press coverage; ours didn't. Ours was primarily through Twitter and Facebook referrals, and a surprisingly large percentage (37%) were from people browsing Kickstarter. And then I'm sure part of it was that we had good timing, the stars were aligned, a butterfly sneezed, etc.

GS: This is probably a really hard question to answer succinctly, but how hard is it to know exactly what you need from crowdfunding? And how much preparation goes into making a campaign?

TS: Well, games cost a lot of money. Just paying four people's salaries for a year (you know, not making them go into debt or default on their student loans etc) is...a lot of money. So, chances are that unless you're someone famous, how much money you need from Kickstarter is irrelevant...for us, we saw that we could make it to early access, but a Kickstarter of $45,000 would help us delay the game until a real launch. It would give us two months worth of limping time to release something less buggy and more complete. Plus, a successful Kickstarter would be a good argument to invest that extra debt and whatnot, since we would have proof that someone was looking forward to it. I once said that based on my (extremely positive) experience, I felt that in the future, every game would be Kickstarted. There's very little risk (at least, compared to the risks of making a game in the first place), and so much to gain, even just from a visibility standpoint.

As for preparation, it depends on the project! We probably spent a month or so total. I spent two weeks working on the tiers, the text, the video script, press contacts, etc... the artist spent a week on special Kickstarter assets, the programmers had an extra couple of weeks of prototyping specific features and effects for the video footage. We also contracted a videographer to help us with the interview portion of the video and make it feel professional. Of course, none of that counts the months of Facebook posts, tweets, newsletters, and strategy research...

GS: Why did you choose a pixel art style for Moon Hunters?

TS: We had a few reasons. The number one reason was a love of pixel art as an aesthetic, and feeling like there was room enough to explore beauty there that nobody else was touching. I mean yes, there are LOTS of other pixel art games, of course, but most of them aren't pushing the envelope in trying to render lighting, shadows, particles, and a world that's different every time. We're not trying to emulate a Super Nintendo or copy some other specific game's style -- we're trying to do something uniquely our own, using pixels as just another kind of paintbrush. Plus, we were influenced by the ambitious scope of the game -- we knew that a game about mythology and a hero's journey was just about out of reach for a tiny little team like ours, unless we found a way to represent that world quickly. We feel pixel art functions as a beautiful abstraction of meaning, invoking the essence of a character or a place the same way an ancient ink drawing might do. So in a way, it fits the mythological theme of the game, in blending the old and remembered with the new and shiny. What is heroic mythology if not an ancient, bone-deep nostalgia?

GS: What are you most proud of about Moon Hunters?

TS: At PAX, I had a backer come up to me and say, "Tanya! I backed this game a year ago! I just played it...and thank you for making my dreams come true!"

I almost cried.

So far, it seems we're successfully delivering on our promise to our fans, and that really makes me crazy-proud of my team.

GS: When all is said and done, how do you want people to remember Moon Hunters?

TS: Ideally, it'd be great if in ten years, everyone said, "Oh yeah! Remember Moon Hunters? That game I bought a hundred copies of and played for a thousand hours! It's really great that those devs won a Nobel Peace Prize for game development!"

Okay, okay, seriously, I hope people have a fun time exploring the world and really questioning what kind of a person they are. It took me some years before I realized that despite (or because of) the fact that I'm a nice person and want everyone to be happy, I'm not actually as honest as other people, and actually can be a bit cunning. So far we've had some playtesters furrow their brow, saying, "What? I'm Brave? Hmm... yeah, I guess I am Brave!" and then start nodding, which I think is the best reaction.

A huge thank you to Tanya for taking the time to answer my questions so thoughtfully and thoroughly. I can't say for sure if anybody will ever win a Nobel Peace Prize for game development, but that sure would be amazing! Moon Hunters is currently slated for release in January 2016 for Steam and PC and Spring 2016 for PS4 with a release on PS Vita to follow sometime afterwards.

Interview: Kitfox Games' Tanya Short Talks About Moon Hunters, Kickstarter, and Success with Square Enix Collective Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:17:06 -0400 GameSkinny Staff

Kitfox's Kickstarter game Moon Hunters is one of the first and most successful games to go through the Square Enix Collective's community selection process.

I had the chance to sit down with Tanya Short, Creative Director of Kitfox Games, and discuss Moon Hunters and the crowdfunding process. Tanya clued us into the workings of the Square Enix Collective, discussed the Kickstarter process and an exclusive new stretch goal, and told us about some decisions that are going into the making of Moon Hunters.

The Moon Hunters Kickstarter campaign has already sprinted past its initial funding goal of $45k CAD (~$40.6k USD) and has already reached $117k CAD (~$105.6k USD) from nearly 4,000 backers at the time of this writing. The funding period will close on Friday, September 26.

Square Enix Collective provides support and visibility, but NOT additional funding.

The Square Enix Collective is a collection of crowdfunding proposals curated by a branch of Square Enix. Projects are submitted according to set of guidelines and those projects that are accepted are put into a pre-funding page where the enthusiast public can vote for the best of the best.

If a project gets enough votes and is approved through the Collective, then that project gets additional publicity, production insight, and campaign support for a 5% fee of the eventually pledged funding - but, the project does not get additional funding from Square Enix. 

"We see our #1 enemy as obscurity, if you know we exist, all we have to do is make something you want to play." -Tanya Short on crowdfunding

The process gives aspiring developers extra time to build groundswell, gain a following, and generally see if there is actually any interest in their game idea before putting in the herculean effort required to run a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign.

Gamers get to vote on what games we'd like to see crowdfunded. The Square Enix Collective's voting process echos the grassroots appeal of crowdfunding and kingmaking efficacy. It's cool stuff.

The Collective has been out of the popular spotlight since it launched, but community members have continued to support and vote for projects. Moon Hunters joins a currently small pantheon of community-approved games.

We asked Tanya about the experience so far:

Jay Ricciardi (JR): The Square Enix Collective isn’t providing funding - so what exactly are they providing? Do you feel like the 5% fee is worth the additional exposure? Kitfox is one of the first to go through this process and we are very curious.

Tanya Short (TS): The Square Enix Collective is a way for us to reach more people. Phil Elliott from Square Enix is a true supporter of indie games and studios, and he's been really helpful! I think our project in particular might benefit more than some others because it feels a bit influenced by older Square Enix titles, so our fanbases have a strong overlap, but their network and ability to grab press attention shouldn't be underestimated.

We felt it was worth 5% of whatever we earned, just at the chance of having those bigger press outlets and their mailing list hear about us existing. We see our #1 enemy as obscurity -- if you know we exist, all we have to do is make something you want to play, and we think that's the easy part. So we're glad Square Enix will help with getting our name out there.

What is Moon Hunters?

Moon Hunters is a collaborative co-op game featuring top-down brawler combat mechanics and a pixel-art aesthetic, but with an interactive storytelling twist. The game is short, randomly generated each playthrough, and relies heavily on what Kitfox is calling a mythology system: inspired by the real tales of mythology in our world, your character's mythology is defined by branching decisions made in reaction to each newly generated game world. Worlds have a set number of factions and consistent lore, but levels, bosses, and other encounters may differ in each playthrough.

The emphasis is on decisions and what you, the purveyor of your own mythology, will be remembered for:

Your choices each become part of the myth, joining your tribe's pantheon of heroes. How will you be remembered by your tribe in generations to come?

- Moon Hunter's Kickstarter page

JR: The idea of mythology being more about decision making instead of conquest is intriguing - where are you drawing inspiration from?

TS: Honestly, looking at actual mythology and folktales is where I get most of my inspiration, and they're often very strange. Not often really about war. I mean, The Iliad is obsessed with gory battles and grisly deaths, but almost any other source is just full of stories of humans, doing interesting things. Seducing, transforming, eating, traveling -- almost always traveling.

Whether you're looking at The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, The Poetic Edda, or Journey to the West, it's always about going somewhere interesting, meeting interesting people and eating interesting food. They're stories about going places, which is perfect for games. And of course as a designer, I can't help making it all about decisions along the way.

JR: How will boss/milestone encounters be represented in-game? Will there be multiple per playthrough? What aspects of player mythology affect boss encounters?

TS: Each play-through is only a couple of hours, so there's usually only one major boss fight per journey, but I don't want to spoil too much. Suffice to say that your legend and traits effect the characters around you, and it will be very difficult to escape becoming a hero without being someone's enemy.

JR: How is the idea of player death worked into the theme of mythology? If it is possible to answer without spoilers: what marks the end of a player’s mythology?

TS: We've had a few questions about how Moon Hunters holds up as a roguelike, and I want to clarify that it's really not a game about dying.

It's OK to give the controller to your little brother or sister and let them play a few rounds. It's less about punishment (boss fights excluded here, naturally), and more about exploring the possibilities of the world and the tribes.

Kickstarter: Developer Perspective

JR: The introduction video is gorgeous and the campaign page, full of gifs and art, shows some solid production value - How much preparation and pre-campaign work went into the Kickstarter pre-launch?

TS: Thanks! Well, Xin and I have been working off-and-on on the art direction and world-building for the past 8 months or so, filling up the art bible and initial concepts/direction.

But the full team has only been on the project for about 2 months, and we plan to re-vamp a lot of that to account for the online co-op we're likely to be able to afford due to the Kickstarter's crazy success. I don't think most of that work was waste though -- we created initial prototypes for the systems, and now we're ready to really buckle down and get the game ready to ship next summer.

JR: Kitfox has the distinct advantage of having a successful and notable game already under belt on Steam - what lessons have you learned from Shattered Planet that you are applying to Moon Hunters?

TS: Well, we definitely learned a lot about each other (since that was our first game together), and even more about procedural generation. Our main learning (besides each others' favorite candy) was that for a more story-driven game, to have real consequences and deep flavor to everything, we needed to zoom out the procedural generation a bit.

Where Shattered Planet is generated tile-by-tile in little tiny stand-alone bits every time, Moon Hunters will be built out of pre-designed chunks that fit together, more of a Diablo philosophy. We'll get to create a much richer world this way.

Shattered Planet: Kitfox Games' first success on Steam

JR: In a previous interview on GameSkinny, you mentioned the internal debate and discussion of payment model for Shattered Planet. What payment model has Kitfox decided on for Moon Hunters?

TS: Moon Hunters is 100% premium. Pay $15 up-front and you get the game, on all platforms (Steam, Humble, PlayStation 4, Vita, whatever)! No debate at all, haha, except whether maybe we should have charged $19.99... the price might still go up depending on a few variables, so be sure to grab it on Kickstarter if that $4.99 matters to you!

JR: Now that you’re just about to hit the online multiplayer stretch goal, will multiplayer be cross platform? Or will PC/Mac and PlayStation 4 multiplayer games be separate?

TS:  It will probably be completely PC and Mac, not PS4 at all! But by the time Moon Hunters comes out, we're hoping the PlayStation 4 has the "pass the pad" technology Sony announced at E3, in which case our local multiplayer will obviously allow online as well, by default.

JR: Speaking of stretch goals: With the current trend of funding, it looks like the final announced stretch goal ($135k - Vita version) is near at hand. Any ideas for additional stretch goals if you do hit $135k?

TS: Oh yeah! We have lots more things on our wish-list, the biggest one of which is a sixth player class. I can reveal here -- a GameSkinny exclusive! -- that it's a Sun Cultist, so a bit of an anti-hero, hated by everyone for worshipping such a symbol of ancient evil and death. But I'm hoping we achieve that particular stretch goal, as I think belief conflicts are some of the more interesting moments in human history, and it'd be fun to write from his perspective.

Note: Bold added for emphasis.

JR: If you had one piece of Kickstarter advice for other aspiring game developers looking for funding, what would you tell them?

TS: Whether or not you're Kickstarting, if you're a game developer, you have to start marketing and building your community NOW. Don't wait until you have a video, don't wait until you have a Kickstarter, and definitely don't wait until you have a game. Show off what you have. Find people that like it. Get a mailing list going. It'll be slow at first -- but that's how it works. It takes time, and it's easier to be patient now, before your game's finished and sitting on a store page.

MAKE A GAME! Whoever you are! There are free tools and tutorials online and it's an art form like no other. Make a game!

If you are interested in learning more, be sure to check out Kitfox Games and Tanya's work over on the Moon Hunters Kickstarter page or visit the Kitfox website.

You can find Tanya on Twitter @TanyaXShort and @Kitfox Games.

For those who love charts (like me) and would like to visualize Moon Hunter's recent success, check out the below Kicktraq mini-graph:

Moon Hunters, a Myth-Weaving RPG -- Kicktraq Mini

Images courtesy of Kitfox Games' Kickstarter page.