Interview: José Fernando Gracia of Moonsprout Games

Interview: José Fernando Gracia of Moonsprout Games

Bug Fables, a new RPG from Dangen Entertainment and Moonsprout Games, might look and feel very familiar to a series of games that had its most beloved entries on the Nintendo 64 and GameCube. It may only be available on PC at the moment, but it could be a big hit once it comes to consoles next year.  We got the chance to learn a little more about the development of this insect filled RPG by talking to lead developer José Fernando Gracia about inspirations and design choices.

IndieHangover: Everyone I show this to before they see battle gameplay says it reminds them of Hollow Knight. So why were bugs chosen as the characters?

José Fernando Gracia: Interestingly enough, there wasn’t a particular reason why we chose bugs. I didn’t like them much before working on Bug Fables! My friends and I used to draw comics all the time, and we really fell in love with the original ones for the game. Vi, Kabbu and Leif just wouldn’t leave our minds! So, it’s about bugs. It was a great chance to research and learn a lot about nature in the meantime.

IH: Bug Fables seems to be heavily inspired by Paper Mario, which is great since many fans feel the series has seen a decline in quality since after The Thousand-Year Door. While a handful of indie titles have borrowed certain elements from Paper Mario, Bug Fables seems to borrow a lot more. Do you fear that some fans will see this as a Paper Mario clone due to not being connected to the original IP, or do you think more will see it as a kind of spiritual successor the original duology?
JFG: We were very inspired by it because we truly do love it, so the comparison was kind of inevitable. We put a lot of effort in making the story and battles feel unique, however. So we hope the game forms its own identity as more people get to enjoy what it has to offer.
IH: What are some other games that helped influence Bug Fables and how?
JFG: There’s a little bit of everything we love. I really enjoy the Mario RPGs, Persona and the Tales of Series, and a lot of small things came through. I try to find the good in all the games I play, so you could say Bug Fables is a fusion of everything I’ve ever played.
IH: So there are only seven chapters in Bug Fables. How did you decide how many chapters there would be and what steps did you take to make sure the story pacing worked out?
JFG: There were actually more chapters! The initial plot had no limits. As we came to understand how we worked together and how fast we could make areas, we decided to trim it down a bit in order to be able to release it by this date. There were certain messages we wanted to transmit in Bug Fables and we wanted all the protagonists and some side characters to have their own time to shine a bit. So we definitely planned chapters around that as well.
IH: So besides the main quest, Bug Fables features over 15 optional bosses, which is a rather large number of them. What influenced your decision to have this many and would you say they’re mostly for players looking for an extra challenge, or just optional battles that any player can obtain good rewards from?
JFG: It’s a little bit of both. Some of them, the Bounty Bosses, are definitely meant to challenge players in different ways. Others were just to make certain sidequests more interesting. We didn’t really want to reuse bosses at any point.
We didn’t really plan to end up with so many. But we got a bit carried away!
IH: What was the biggest challenge during development?
JFG: There wasn’t one major challenge, but a lot of many small challenges. It’s our first commercial game, so we’ve had to learn many things on the go. I guess not giving up, even though we really wanted to rest, was the hardest part right up until the end!
IH: With a PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch release planned for next year, are there any plans for exclusive content, and are there any plans for additional content in general?
JFG: We really gave it our all to make Bug Fables as complete as possible, so it’s unlikely we’ll add even more content for console release. If we do, though, it won’t be exclusive! We’ll make sure it reaches PC users as well. Thank you so much for hearing me out! I hope everyone can enjoy Bugaria and the secrets we’ve hidden within!
Bug Fables is currently available on PC via Steam and is planned for release on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in 2020.

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