The idea of Newfound Courage was conceived by creator and developer, Curtis Campion, who left his job in tech to build an indie video game with one single vision in mind: to create a video game that he would have wanted the teenage version of himself to play. This needed to be a game that he could play as a character he would identify with: one that is gay. Today we talk with Curtis to find out a little more about the project.
What inspired you to become a game developer?
I’ve always been a storyteller and I’m a lifelong gamer, so video games felt like the most natural storytelling medium for me. Video games were the medium in which I felt represented as a gay man. I think I owe this in part due to the emergence of games, including the original Fable, which allowed you to have relationships with men.
How long have you been in the gaming industry?
I’ve been building games now for about eight months, however, before that, I worked in corporate tech for nine years. So I’m fresh to building video games specifically, but experienced when it comes to working with code and technology.
Tell everyone a little about your latest release?
Part I of Newfound Courage serves as an introduction to the world of Silverpine, its characters and the game’s central elements. You’ll get to explore the town of Silverpine and its many mysteries, along with its mysterious Vault, while witnessing the beginning of the budding relationship between Alexander, the main character, and Jake.
Describe what a usual day in the life of you would be?
I wake up in the morning and I panic, and then I continue doing that for most the day, stopping at brief intervals to eat, and then I go to sleep when I’m too tired to keep panicking. Just kidding, maybe! As an indie game developer, no two days are the same. One day, I might be doing game design and developing, another I’ll be writing, and I also spent a lot of time marketing and staying in touch with gamers on social media. The variety is one of the things I enjoy most about indie game development.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge in getting this game to market?
Marketing. I know I’m not alone in saying that among indie devs. For me, marketing is when you have to show your baby to the world and it can be terrifying. It’s also true what they say about game dev being about 50% of your job, while marketing takes up the other 50%. In particular, when you’re building a game that is so centred around sexuality, and when elements of the story are quite personal and close to you, it can be tricky to strike the right balance and market the game in the way you want to.
If you could go back in time, with your current skill-set, is there anything you would change about a game?
Honestly, not really. There is an early art style that I really liked that we ended up ditching, but it was still important to the early concept of the game and helped shape the art style we ended up with. I probably would have moved to Unity sooner, as I tested the concept a bit too long in RPG Maker MV, probably. However, RPG Maker really helped me write the story I wanted to create, without too much fuss, in the game’s early development.
Tell us about the thing that you are most proud of in your career?
There are two things I’m most proud of. First, the fact that we have actually completed Part I of Newfound Courage. People warn you when you go into game dev, just how much work it’s going to be. They are not kidding. However, I’m probably more proud of the team I’m working with and what we’ve all accomplished together. My designer Kurt, my composer Jessica, and my editors Lee and Daphnia are all such wonderful people, incredible talents, and it really shows in the first part of Newfound Courage.
What is the next goal for the team and are there any future projects on the horizon (that you can tell us about)?
We are focusing now on getting out Part II and Part III of Newfound Courage. I’ve banned myself from having any other ideas until it’s finally complete and out of Early Access. It’s been great to be involved with the gay gaming and indie dev community so I’d love to continue telling stories like Newfound Courage in the future.
A massive thank you to Curtis from all of us at Two Beard Gaming for taking the time out to answer our questions.