Crescent Moon Games recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for a beautiful pixelized survival platformer known as The Deer God. Fortunately for Nintendo fans looking for a new indie game to salivate over, the developers announced a Wii U stretch goal. In order to find out more about the game and to make sure this game heads to the Wii U eShop, Nintendo Enthusiast spoke with founder and creative director Josh Presseisen to find out — why exactly deers?
Who are Crescent Moon Games and which titles influenced your career?
Crescent Moon Games is a publisher and a developer. I started in 2007 working on a game called Ravensword that is now available on Steam and mobile devices. After that, I started helping other developers with their games and ended up becoming a publisher. Seven years later, I have released about sixty games — mostly mobile, but some to other platforms. My favorite console is the NES, my favorite games are Metroid, Blaster Master, Kid Icarus, Zelda, Super Mario Bros. (Not necessarily in that order.)
Which games have you created in the past that we may be familiar with?
I worked on Paper Monsters, Topia World Builder, Mines of Mars, Gears, and Ravensword, to name but a few!
Interesting. Are you involved in the Wii U builds of Paper Monsters Recut or Gears?
I am in the fact that I did most of the graphics for those games, but Mobot Studios is actually publishing and updating those titles for release on the Wii U. Both of which should be launching very soon.
What is The Deer God and how long has the project been in production?
It’s an atmospheric survival platformer, set in a 3d pixelized world. We have been in full production for about six months so far.
So —why deers?
Deer are beautiful animals. I think there is no better mascot for a game than a deer.
What is the story in the game and how do survival and karma play a part?
The basic premise of the story is that a hunter is in the woods one night with a fellow hunter. After spotting a deer, the hunter lines up his shot. What happens next is something the hunter would never imagine: he gets turned into a deer by the Deer God himself! The game is all about him ironing out his karma! Survival is the basic premise of the game — and although we are still working out some of the details, the goal is to survive as long as possible. We may make it so that you can in fact be turned back into a human again, but still debating that point. Reincarnation is what happens after you die.
In the game, you become one of your own babies (fawns) so you need to mate with females to make this happen. If your karma level is on the negative side too much, the Deer God can turn you into something small that can get eaten.
What kind of variety, scale, and difficulty do you plan to implement?
There certainly will be a ramp-up in the action the longer you survive and there will be strategy involved to avoid things like disease that can kill you slowly over time. Of course, there are cures for these things by eating certain plants. There will be a pretty large variety of terrain and critters in the game. I can’t estimate just yet how much, but it is quite a lot!
What part does mating play in the game? Will the game also feature any kind of power-up or item?
Mating in the game is a crucial part of it, as it is in real life. However, in The Deer God, your offspring are your extra lives. Once they are born, they will follow you and you will have to protect them if you want to survive longer. We hope this will be a rather unique take in the perma-death mechanic.
Yes, we have several power-ups already figured out and implement including Razor Hoof, Antlers of Light, Piercing Antler, Dash, Ice Bomb, Fire Shield, and Rain Maker! I’ll leave you guessing as to what these might actually do in the game!
Can you detail how the co-op mode will work?
Another player will be able to join your game at any time and essentially help you to continue your journey, all on the same screen!
Have you considered making use of any of the Wii U’s unique features such as the second screen or Miiverse?
We would like to do put a map or inventory of your powers on the second screen — there may be other cool things we can do with that as well. We want to do same screen co-op — I suppose that isn’t necessarily online, but it could be. Not quite sure about Miiverse just yet but watch this space!
Your game has a very modest base goal. How do you plan to make such an awesome game with just $26,000? Is there a particular tier you could recommend to our readers?
Well, the Wii U stretch goal specifically is $85,000, which gives us at least a little wiggle room in development terms. For Nintendo fans, I’d say any tier right now is fine — just helping us get to that stretch goal is the most important thing. Once we have reached that, then we will adjust our rewards for Wii U specifically.
Your Kickstarter mentions January 2015 as a release date. Would the Wii U version launch same day as the base platforms if the goal is met? Could the Wii U version still happen if the stretch goal isn’t met?
We will try to closely make it to that date if we hit the stretch goal, but there are other factors involved that would factor in with timing. For right now, I will say we will try to be close, but it would likely be a month or two after the first launch. Maybe not from us directly, but if another developer such as Mobot Studios wants to do the port and they are willing, then it still could happen. [I'm looking at you, Jon Williams from Mobot Games!]
How did you find the path to becoming an approved Nintendo developer and why did you consider Wii U?
We aren’t officially a Nintendo developer yet, but I don’t foresee that being a problem. We’ve yet to have any contact with them, but I’ll get in contact with them if we get closer to the stretch goals. It’s a platform for gamers that truly enjoy fun games. I hope that they will like The Deer God as well! I’m a big Nintendo fan, mostly of the early stuff, but I’d love the opportunity to put The Deer God on the Wii U. There is a cost associated with the Wii U Unity license, so yes, that is a factor, for sure.
What’s next for Crescent Moon Games? Would you consider developing for the Wii U again or even the 3DS? Could there ever be a sequel in the cards or a whole new game?
We have a lot of games coming up in the near future — a big sci-fi RPG called Exiles and a big open world RPG called Aralon 2! If it goes well with The Deer God and Paper Monsters Recut, we will certainly consider it! Would love to if the game does well or expand on it with more content and features.
Thanks to Josh for taking the time away from his project and new campaign to answer our questions. It truly was one of the quickest turnarounds in Nintendo Enthusiast’s interview history! To find out more about the game, make sure to check out the official Kickstarter page and follow the team via their Facebook, Twitter, or website!