Disc Creatures is a recently released monster taming RPG developed by Picorinne Soft and published by Dangen Entertainment. It hasn’t garnered much media attention due to it being a lesser-known PC exclusive indie title, but post-release it has been talked about often in online communities centered around the monster taming RPG genre. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with SATTO, the creator of Disc Creatures, to ask about him about influences, unique features, and the resurgence of the monster taming genre.
IndieHangover: Disc Creatures seems like a mash-up of several monster taming games due to its genre and certain concepts. What do you think was the biggest influence and are there any influences that players might be less likely to pick up on?
SATTO: As I’m sure some people have realized by now, I was influenced by the first Pokémon game and Dragon Warrior Monsters. I was obsessed with these games when I was a kid and had always wanted to make one. I was also influenced by Super Mario RPG, even though it’s not a monster-catching RPG. It’s filled with a lot of ‘visually fun’ elements that helped me design the world and the monsters, as well as elements that are fun to interact with which helped me add more amusing reactions to different objects/characters in the game. I learned a lot from these games and I think they’re the ideal RPGs.
IH: Disc Creatures has some unique features that other games in the genre don’t have such as choosing three creatures rather than just one at the start, the e-charge system, and PCs in other locations besides cafes. What was your philosophy when trying to make this game stand out among others?
S: All I wanted to do was create a unique system. I didn’t make any sort of project document before I started – everything in the game is just something I came up with along the way. It may seem strange, but “evolutions” don’t exist in Disc Creatures. I get a lot of questions about this. I suppose ever since Pokémon introduced the evolution system, some people began to assume that “creature raising = evolution.” But that was a revolutionary system that Pokémon invented, so I don’t think it should be treated as “common sense” for the genre. I learned a lot from mulling over things like this and decided that it’d be okay to create my own unique system if I wanted to.
IH: So there are over 200 creatures, with a few palette swaps here and there (such as Tomatee and Aubergee) but still noticeably less than some other games in the genre. When designing creatures, how did you decide when you’d make similar-looking creatures with different types, rather than all-new creatures?
S: When I was a kid, I only had the very first Game Boy and I always dreamed of game worlds with color. So at first, I put some palette swapped creatures into the game. It was easy to create them, but surprisingly hard to fit them into a creature raising game, since their stats and special skills will end up resembling other creatures. In the end, I decided to change certain parts of the palette-swapped creatures and make new ones out of them.
IH: Did you base the strengths and weaknesses system off anything in particular or did you just create your own from scratch?
S: Pokémon influenced me a lot in this regard, but I didn’t want to make it exactly the same, so parts of the system are wholly unique. Recently, a player said to me: “I don’t understand why fire is weak to wind. I can understand the reverse, though.” It got me curious as to where my concept of elemental weaknesses came from and I think a lot of it was influenced by the Mega Man series.
IH: The soundtrack of Disc Creatures is one of the best retro-inspired soundtracks I’ve heard in years. What were your influences for the music of this game?
S: I wasn’t really influenced by a certain game when it came to the soundtrack. I’ve always liked catchy songs when it came to game music, so that’s what I aimed for. I didn’t really focus too much on making the music sound like Game Boy music. Instead, I increased the delay on purpose to give it that faint, nostalgic sound.
IH: So as of right now, Disc Creatures is exclusive to PC. What made you come to that decision, was it the easiest way to get the game published?
S: I’ve always wanted to create a game ever since I was a kid, but I don’t have any programming knowledge. Thankfully, there exists a convenient tool called RPG Maker, which allowed me to finish the game without ever learning how to code. But that version of RPG Maker (VX Ace) only works on PC, so that’s why it’s a PC-only game.
IH: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while developing this game?
S: I put in too many creatures. When I decided to create this game, I started by drawing all the creature graphics. At first, I only planned to create 100, but I thought players would enjoy the game more if there were more creatures. So I decided to create 200 without thinking too far ahead. I had absolutely no plan at this stage, so it took me a lot of time to set up all the creatures. I didn’t even have enough places in the game to stick them all, which left me scratching my head as to how to fit them in.
IH: So right now there seems to be a resurgence of monster taming games, particular on the indie side of things. What are your thoughts on this, and do you think more players will finally come to recognize these types of games as more than just “Pokémon ripoffs” in the coming years?
S: I really love monsters and creatures, so I’m happy to hear there’s been a resurgence in monster taming games. I believe Pokémon is a very important part of this genre, which means it’s hard to create something that isn’t seen as a “Pokémon ripoff” at first glance.
But when people play Disc Creatures, I sometimes hear comments like: “I thought it was going to be like Pokémon, but it has its own unique charm.” I think there must be other developers around the world who are creating their own surprisingly charming monster-catching games, and I bet there are also a ton of players who are waiting for new additions to the genre.
A lot of my favorite games influenced me when I worked on Disc Creatures, and at this point, I’ve already come up with a lot of new and unique ideas. Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Disc Creatures, and I hope to make it a brand new game that still retains the original Disc Creatures charm – so I hope you’re looking forward to it!