Indie Profile #4 – Stellar Jockeys
Name: Stellar Jockeys
Stellar Jockeys are essentially the Independent Studio equivalent of The Avengers. Their elite four man team of laser focused programmers, and highly trained artists seem to function like Marvel’s band of heroes. This edition of Indie Profile is a bit different from the last few, because Stellar Jockeys are a full time studio. While this certainly gives them an edge on the competition, they are not bereft of obstacles. Take a look at the full interview below to get the scoop on their gorgeous sci-fi project: Brigador.
Blackman ‘N Robin: You are currently working on a very cool indie game called Brigador. Could you tell us more about the setting of the game?
Stellar Jockeys: Brigador is set in a universe not too dissimilar to what you see in Alien and Blade Runner, or another great touchstone is lesser known 1981 film Outland; you’ve got interstellar travel and many of the other trappings normally associated with future settings such as weaponized lasers and bipedal war machines, but the state of computing and miniaturization is far more rudimentary than the modern day. Deep space travel requires enormous resources and as such is mostly the purview of major countries, mega-corporations, and oligarchs. The planet Brigador takes place on, Novo Solo, is a former colony established by one of the mega-corps that would go on to seize the planetary assets and declare itself independent, building massive orbital defence batteries in the process to fend off any incursion by their founding company.
The story of Brigador is one of internecine strife, as three factions vie for control of the city while a mega-corp offers tremendous bribes to members of all factions in order to coax them into to destroying the defensive batteries and render control back to the company. Individuals who take the bribe, whom you play as, are the titular Brigadors.
BNR: The end of your reveal trailer shows that Brigador’s maps are incredibly large. What does this mean for the game?
SJ: We wanted the environments to be large enough as to support multiple points of ingress and to make it so that fighting one’s way through the same level, even under identical circumstances, could turn out very differently. You’re fighting your way through a massive city, and we want to convey and reinforce that in the environments presented to the player.
BNR: Brigador’s visual fidelity really caught my eye. Do any of the developers have an art background? Is this a skill you developed over time?
SJ: Both Jack and I studied industrial design at the University of Notre Dame; Jack went immediately from that to doing concept work and later level design for games for several years, while I briefly worked as a freelance illustrator before jumping into starting Stellar Jockeys. That being said, the art style, while driven by Jack, was also by necessity the product of constraints we had to consider in producing a game with only 4 people.
BNR: What kind of challenges have you faced while working in a partnership? Is it easier than working by yourselves?
SJ: Brigador certainly wouldn’t exist without any one of the 4 current team members, and even our contractors for music and sound (Matt Pusti aka Makeup and Vanity Set and Tapio Liukkonen respectively) have had an important influence on the project. We’ve had to work out of our living rooms for the last 3+ years which can get tough, especially when it comes to long hours and having no separation between workplace and home. We’ve also been fairly isolated from the developer community until recently, which can be a mixed blessing actually; having no one to reach out to means you tend to make mistakes that might otherwise have been avoided, but developing in a vacuum can also be liberating and help fresher ideas matriculate. The toughest part though is probably just not having all the team members working together in a single space. Having direct contact makes such a difference when it comes to communicating on a project, and some things just become exponentially more difficult when you don’t have the other team member there in person.
BNR: When can we expect Brigador to be released? Should we be on the look out for any new videos or screenshots?
SJ: Oct. 20th for Early Access, end of Q1 2016 for the full commercial release. We just put out a new trailer, and you can find other new screenshots and gifs from the game here: http://imgur.com/topic/Design_&_Art/ViBV2
BNR: Where can we find you online?
SJ: http://stellarjockeys.com is our main site, the above imgur link as well as this Neogaf thread have good summaries of where the game’s at now: http://126.96.36.199/forum/showthread.php?p=175068480
You can find Jack and myself respectively on twitter and twitch at:
Blackmannrobin.com would like to sincerely thank Stellar Jockeys for their time and consideration in answering our questions. Follow us on Twitter for all the latest gaming news, and be sure to pre-order Brigador here: http://stellarjockeys.com/