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INTERVIEWS
By 11 March 2010 | Categories: interviews

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Benjamin Duk, Co-CEO of Open-Reset.

What inspired you to take on this project?

Benjamin Duk: The main inspiration to develop Bounty Arms was to have a side-scroller that would push the technical limits of this genre. We thought - how cool would it be if a game like Metal Slug was made with the latest Engine Technology available today?

How many people are working on Bounty Arms and how far is the game from completion?

Benjamin Duk: There are seven people currently working on the game. The final game is far from completion, it will take two years to complete and is a long way out.

How close are you guys from getting an international publisher onboard?

Benjamin Duk: We are currently talking to publishers, but have nothing specific to report at this time. We have
received very helpful and early energetic support from Epic Games, and we can’t express our gratitude to them enough.

What are the challenges you face as a South African game developer?

Benjamin Duk: The games industry is virtually unknown here, and because our industry is so small, it is overlooked as a serious, viable career choice. This leads to a lack of local game programmers, and artists. So trying to put a team together locally, let alone an experienced one, is a very, very difficult task. 
Now let’s say for instance you have a team, a great concept and you want to try and pitch the idea to a local investor so that he can fund the development of your game. You will more than likely run into the following questions: Why should we invest into an industry that is virtually unheard of in this country?; Why should our money go towards games where there are better proven models to invest in?; Why does it cost so much to develop?, and, Why will we only see a return on investment after three years? If you cannot get local help you'll need to look internationally, and that usually means a publisher so that they can fund your development time.

Even if you are able to get some local funding you'll need to get a publisher interested and on-board your project very early on. So the next big challenge is locating a publisher- definitely one of the most difficult aspects of a new development studio. Being in South Africa makes the task even more difficult. Because we are not being exposed to the international industry, we are losing out on networking with publishers, companies and leading industry professionals. So to try and contact the right people in the right positions can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The business aspects of the game can be more of an obstacle than creating the game itself. For me, these are the biggest challenges that face a South African game developer.

Do you plan on releasing any documentation about your design process for the Bounty Arms game, something to inspire South Africans to try their hands at game development?

Benjamin Duk: We do plan on releasing a “making of” regarding the various art assets we created for the game, but at this stage we have no plans to release a document on the design process of Bounty Arms. We might consider doing something like that at a later stage.

Any advice to aspiring game designers?

Benjamin Duk: If it’s your first game, keep within the scope of what you know you can accomplish. Focus on the core elements that make up your game and it will translate into a more solid experience. Keep it simple and make sure you get the basics right before making it more complex.

Check out the game yourself by downloading the demo here (281 MB).

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