Interview: Yannick Belzil of Tribute Games

Interview: Yannick Belzil of Tribute Games

IndieHangover is no stranger when it comes to Tribute Games’ 2017 indie roguelike, Flinthook. We’ve reviewed it, had it as one of our top picks of last year, and recently covered news on the upcoming Nintendo Switch release of the game.

We sat down with writer, Yannick Belzil, to talk about the world and lore of Flinthook, design choices, and the jump to the Nintendo Switch.

IndieHangover: Where did the world of Flinthook get its inspiration from outside of video games? 
Yannick Belzil: It’s a big melting pot of ideas, one of them was to take maritime myths and traditions and twist them into a horror/adventure shape that draws from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.
Another big inspiration from the Disney Afternoon cartoons, especially Ducktales and the sense of fun coming from both the cartoon and the NES Capcom version.”
Note: Coincidentally,  Flinthook  was originally released the same day as the Disney Afternoon Collection, April 18,2017
IH: Why did you choose to have such expansive lore (through various collectibles) in a game which isn’t narrative based? 
YB: We had some time to think up the world of Flinthook and we approached like we were creating a cartoon so I would generate a lot of ideas to inspire the art director Stephane Boutin, but also game designer Dom2D and our animator Johan Vinet–they all made these ideas better, it was a team effort, but we thought it was fun to pipe in all of the backstory for a player who might be interested in piecing it together.”

IH: Where did the idea for Captain Flinthook’s unique appearance and his ghost buddy come from?
YB: It really came through osmosis of many different ideas, a lot of them were tried out (you can see them in the art book on the Steam Deluxe Edition), but it came from the sprite having to be very simple and expressive. Also, ghosts are a big part of sea stories and myths about pirates, so the ghost visual sort of manifested itself. The world we were creating needed a spooky character.”
IH: Captain Flinthook has his trademark grappling hook and a laser pistol, is there a specific reason he doesn’t have a sword of some kind as most pirates do?
YB: I think we considered it at one point but the QuickHook and pistol seemed plenty of weapons on their own. They complimented more the type of action we wanted out of the game.”
IH: Where did the idea for Captain Flinthook’s chrono belt and ability to slow time come from?
YB: It came from the gameplay, Flinthook was created to be zipping and flying around very fast, to look impressive or cool when playing it and of course, everything looks cooler in slow-motion!”

IH: When originally creating Flinthook, was it always planned primarily for home consoles or was there hope for a handheld way to play the game at some point?
YB: It was initially planned for home consoles but I think we’d hope to get on an handheld eventually. A lot of the public who look down on sprite art seems to be accepting of them on handhelds.”
IH: What is in store for the future adventures of Captain Flinthook and should we expect to see more of him?
YB: It would be awesome to see more of Flinthook in the future, but it’s not in the plans for now, we’re already working on our next game, with brand new characters!”
Note: Captain Flinthook will make an appearance as a playable character in the upcoming indie crossover fighting game, Bounty Battle.

IH: What is the best advice you could give to someone looking to become an indie game developer?
YB: Learn to do a lot of different task as you’ll often need to wear different hats on a project, whether it’s developing, managing your staff, marketing, etc!”

Flinthook is available for download on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and will be available on the Nintendo Switch eShop on March 9, 2018.
Limited Run Games will also release physical copies of the Nintendo Switch version, but at this time it is unknown when they will be available.

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