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      Game Development

      Indie Retro Homebrew Showcase Interview: Fall from Space

      Indie Retro Homebrew Showcase Interview: Fall from Space

      Welcome to the sixth installment of our Indie Retro Homebrew Showcase Interview series! In this feature, we had the incredible opportunity to interview Joel J Games, the talented developer behind the captivating role-playing and platformer game, Fall from Space.

      Buckle up and prepare for an exhilarating journey as we check the behind-the-scenes tales of the development of their game. Join us as we uncover the hidden secrets and mysteries awaiting in the depths of Fall from Space! 

      How was your game born?

      Gameplay wise, I’ve always enjoyed games that were somewhat non-linear and exploration focused and wanted to set up the frame work of an open world I could really spend time with to bring alive and fill with secrets and memorable experiences. The idea of that all living inside a little grey handheld from the late 80s was very appealing.

      Thematically, I’d been playing with the idea of a Sci-Fi miltonesque ‘Fall from Grace’ for a while and enjoyed the intrigue of how an amnesiac robot (based on a doodled character from a year or so before) came to be in this situation. Working back from there, I wrote the story and began fleshing out the events and worlds impacted by it.

      What was development like?

      A larger scale than anything I’d attempted before and touching on multiple different gameplay types, I spent a long time setting up the systems connecting scenes to planet over worlds and planets to space to give a sense of scale and openness, to check the idea was viable and generally much longer just building the systems that I’d spent on a game previously.

      What did you learn about yourself through this game?

      I can stick with a project across multiple years! Also I need to reign in the disproportionate time spent on small details in a scene.

      What makes this game special?

      I don’t feel open world western style RPGs are as represented on the Gameboy compared with JRPGs and aim to bring some of those mechanics into Fall from Space, decisions that matter, non-linear paths, a karma system. As well as plenty of Gameboy platforming action!

      How does sound play a role in the game?

      I can’t praise the soundtrack from Beatscribe enough, from ambient sounds to give the idea of a desolate planet, to the stirring title track with melancholic spacey notes. It really nails the atmosphere I wanted to create.

      What games influenced this one the most?

      Buck Rogers and the Doomsday Device (MegaDrive/Genesis), the point where you get in a ship and can just visit any planet you want, in any order, blew my mind and it did again years later with KOTOR. Fallout 2 (PC), Planescape Torment (PC) for their sense of humour and open worlds and Castlevania SOTN for being the GOAT of Metroidvanians.

      Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

      That I thought I’d easily have the first world and initial prototype/demo ready in 6 months (roughly the time I spent developing my previous game). Wild.

      Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?

      I don’t think just for the sake of it, the original games are still out there preserved, just whatever works for the game and experience you want to create.

      I do think however that ownership, a game that’s yours without catches, works in ten years when you dig it out of the loft (or your backups) without relying on online services that are long since abandoned and doesn’t require endless patches is something we shouldn’t lose sight of.

      What's your favorite memory as a gamer?

      Playing Bubble Bobble with my sister, on the Commodore 64. Bub & Bob working out we could boost each other on our bubbles if we worked as a team.

      Who will enjoy this game the most?

      Fans of the Gameboy, of platformers and of late 90s Western RPGs.

      Bottom line, why must someone play this game?

      Because I’m needy and need validation! Just kidding (a bit), if you like late 90s RPGs, Sci-fi and love to see what the Gameboy is capable of then I think this might be for you.

      How do you want this game to be remembered?

      Pushing the limited hardware it’s on but also being a great game on its own merits, regardless of the platform.

      What's next?

      Finishing the remaining worlds!

      Anything else you'd like to add?

      None of this would be possible without the incredible tooling that is GB Studio, the generosity of people in the GBS Discord and the motivation from members of the GB Homebrew community.


      Follow Joel J Games on X and check out Fall from Space here!