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INTERVIEW: Luke Henrickson, creator of ‘Hood’

INTERVIEW: Luke Henrickson, creator of ‘Hood’

Handed down through the generations, told all over the world, fairytales hold a unique place is the global community’s heart. Universally beloved, they are often the first reference points we have for the world around us. They stay with us through the years and the volume of adaptations and homages that populate the media is a testmant to their unwavering popularity. You’d think, after so many generations,peope would run out of things to do with the same handful of stories. But writers, artists and other creators surprise us every day with their innovation and ingenuity when it comes to these familiar tales.

The Metropolist spoke to Luke Herickson, creator of Hood, a new video game based on the story of Little Red Riding Hood which is available to back on Kickstarter now.

The Metropolist: Tell us about your game.

Luke Henrickson: In essence, Hood will be a third-person, hide-and- seek game. It revolves around the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale, and will be playable from the point of view of both Red and the Wolf. Players will be able to play alone, or with up to three other friends. As Red, your goal will be to avoid the Wolf and make it to your grandmothers’ house, and as the Wolf, your goal is to hunt Red.

TM: Why did you choose this particular format for the game?

LH: I’ve played a number of horror games, and they’re generally pretty well executed, but once you know where everything is, the replay value is zero. As you can play as both the hunter and the hunted in Hood, as well as in a randomized world, the idea is that the fear-factor is generated naturally by the players.

TM: Why did you choose Little Red Riding Hood as the basis for the game?

LH: I was writing up some ideas for games when I remembered an assignment from back in grade school. Basically, we had to take an established fairytale and rewrite it from the perspective of another character, with bonus marks for justifying their actions. I enjoyed the assignment so much that I think I rewrote three or four of them. I thought long and hard about all the different stories and how they could translate into gameplay elements, and finally settled on Red Riding Hood.

TM: Did you consider any other fairytales? Would you consider making games based on other fairytales in the future?

LH: I considered quite a few actually. I checked through lists of already established fairytales as well as games that had been based on them. I chose Hood for this project because the base story translated better than the rest in terms of gameplay mechanics. I’ve always been drawn to fantasy games and stories, so there’s every possibility that another fairytale game or at least character could be worked on in the future, though the game format will be largely different to Hood.

TM: Has the story changed much to appeal to an adult audience?

LH: Well, the original story by the Grimm brothers was a bit more violent than the children’s fairytale we all know today, and earlier versions involve murder and a lot of blood. I’d say compared to the current children’s version, Hood can definitely be considered to be adapted for an older audience, since it definitely won’t be for children.

TM: What we can expect from the story world you’re creating?

LH: The current plan involving the game world is for it to be semi-procedural. There will be pre-defined segments, such as forests, caves and decrepit buildings, but they will be randomly placed around a selection of pre-defined maps. Most multiplayer games have set maps, which is both good and bad. Experienced players get to know exactly where everything is and it throws out the balance for new players. The idea behind this is to make each game unique, so both hunter and hunted have equal opportunities for success. As for the style, I’m hoping for a hand-painted, cartoonish look as I think this will complement the story well.

TM: How will the multiplayer option affect the gameplay?

LH: One thing I’ve learned as a designer is that multiplayer is always unpredictable, however this is more or less what the game has been designed around. There will be the option of single-player against an AI, but the majority of the game experience will hopefully come from the broad difference in the way people play games.

TM: Why did you choose Kickstarter to fund the game?

LH: I’ve been designing games for the better part of four yearsnow by myself. I’ve always wanted to design for PC and console, but the mobile platform was just a lot easier to design for solo. I finally decided to leave it behind and focus on real games, but I knew doing it alone wouldn’t produce anything substantial, so I started a Kickstarter. With the funding, I’ll be able to hire some artists, modellers and animators to help make the project exactly as I see it.

TM: How are you finding your Kickstarter experience so far?

LH: It’s been up and down. It was pretty exciting to begin with as there was quite a few backers, but that came to a halt pretty quickly. I got some pretty great advice from friends who’ve had Kickstarter campaigns before, which was great. I’ve recently been in contact with one of my graphic designer friends who is willing to work on the project with me, so hopefully adding some artwork as well as additional, physical rewards to the campaign page will attract some more attention.

TM: Tell us about the Kicking It Forward initiative you’re part of.

LH: I actually hadn’t heard about this until recently, but the idea is pretty simple. Basically, your Kickstarter gets coverage on the Kicking It Forward page, and in return, after your product has been distributed or released, you promise to pledge at least five percent of your earnings to other Kickstarter campaigns of your choosing. I think the idea behind this is pretty great, as it promotes a sense of community. Your product is initially funded by people who see the potential in it, and if successful, it only makes sense to put some of your success back into other projects, right?

TM: What’s your plan for once the campaign is over? What are your hopes for the game?

LH: As it says on the campaign page, the initial plan is to get the game through Greenlight on Steam. If successful, I think I’ll consider other distribution platforms like GOG or GMG. If it goes really well, it might even be sold as a physical disc game, though that’s wishful thinking. I think there’s a lot of potential for expansion in Hood, such as additional game modes, maybe some Different character skins or even some more unique world elements. One thing I’ll say though is that I’ve never really been a fan of DLC as I think it’s a detriment to why we make games. If there’s any post-release content made for Hood, it’ll come as a free game update.

Hood has just over three weeks left of its Kickstarter campaign. It certainly sounds like a really interesting take on a classic story and, if things go well, could be the first of many.

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