· By Kyle
Afterschool Studio Shares Insights on Cantata and Future Projects in Exclusive Interview with Patch
Due to the length of our interview with Afterschool Studio we split the article between the August 2023 issue of Patch magazine and our website. Again, we wanted to thank Afterschool Studios for taking the time to chat with us.
On to the rest of our interview!
With Cantata officially out can you tell me what a day is like in the office for the team? Is there a secret project that is in the works or is the team's energy solely focused on providing updates and possible future content for Cantata?
Well for one we have no office! The whole team works remotely which has been difficult but is also something I think we’ve gotten pretty good at navigating. The day to day varies based on who you ask - for me, it’s often a lot of external studio communication and doing bug fixes/patching the game as we near release. For others, it’s likely to contain lots of map design and testing, etc. We’ve got a pretty good pipeline for working the game’s maps, so it’s almost like a little assembly line as we put these things together.
In terms of secret projects, that stuff is definitely hard to do when we’re a small team because all the studio resources are pointed at Cantata. However, there is of course another project that’s in the ideation/pitching phase. It’s very different from Cantata but shares a lot of the studio DNA of making art-forward, systemic games. And then obviously I’m thinking about what we could do for Cantata DLC!
As a team member that worked on Cantata could you tell me something that you’ve learned or taken away as a learning experience during the creation of this game?
I think the biggest lesson I have learned from the process of making Cantata was really seeing the game take on a life of its own. Going into the project I had a lot of ideas about what the game could be, but over time it became clear that the game itself really had its own identity that was formed as a result of collaboration with everyone else on the team.
I think learning to “listen” to the game, and hear what it actually wants to be and what it’s good at is really important. There are lots of ways to do this, but I think a big one for us was also doing the whole Early Access (EA) thing and really trying to live up to the promise of EA. We put out a version of the game at the start of EA that’s very different from what we have now, and I think the game is better for that. Seeing and hearing from people actually playing the game and what they are taking away from it is a real reality check against any illusions you may hold about what the game is. So in that way, that key lesson was really finding out what the game wanted to be and trying to get out of the way of that to let it be the best version of that thing, and relentlessly cutting what doesn’t fit (or distracts from) that model.
Again thank you so much for chatting with us, we can’t wait to see what your studio creates in the future. For my final question, what is one indie game that you think everyone should play and why?
It’s maybe a bit of a boring answer because the game has obviously been so successful at this point, but I think everyone should really play Disco Elysium. It was the first game I had played in a long time that felt so unapologetically sure of itself and also grappled with “adult” themes in a way that I hadn’t really ever seen done in a video game. I think the game has been maybe meme’d to death at this point and so some people can assume from the memes they know what the game is, but the game is so much more than its surface signifiers and really contains some stories and ideas that have stuck with me to this day. It’s a masterpiece.
I’ll also cheat a bit and also suggest everyone play Promesa. Similar to Disco Elysium, it’s concerned with very non-video game ideas (namely, the substance of memories), and is a masterclass on using the form of games themselves to work towards the ideas of the narrative.
|Release Date||May 12, 2022|
|Platforms||Windows PC, OS X|