We recently came across a unique game titled Furistas Cat Cafe that was launched on iOS platform and got in touch with the developers of this fun game. Here is our interview with Runaway Play where we get an in-depth glimpse at this game and some interesting aspects of game development:
Tell us a bit about your game and what was it that inspired you to make this game?
We wanted to make a game that felt a little less niche than our current titles, but still mostly fits within Runaway’s natural-world brand. A Cat Cafe setting was something we were very interested in exploring, but the idea was really cemented when a group of us visited a cat cafe in San Francisco for “research”. – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe.
Naming a game is almost always one of the most difficult tasks since that’s what people identify it with. Was this name the first choice for the name? If not then what were some other options you were looking at?
Furistas was the name we kept coming back to. The working title was just ‘Cat Cafe’, but we wanted something with a bit more personality. Two other names on the short list were ‘Everyday Cat Cafe’ and ‘Cat Cafe: Friends with Paws’. – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe
The artwork of this game is simply gorgeous. What sort of thought process went behind that?
The very first thing we had to do was decide on an art style for the game. There’s no denying that there are a lot of cat games out there, so we wanted to make sure Furistas would stand out. It needed a different vibe. As the game concept became clearer, we started to focus on a warm and wholesome feel. This purely comes from our wish for players to have a good time playing Furistas, and demonstrate how delightful it is to have cats in your life. – Lilian Kidoo, Art Lead on Furistas Cat Cafe
What was the major challenge in developing this game?
Deciding on the base mechanics for the game was a challenge. We had specific design goals in mind for how we wanted the player to feel when interacting with the game, and we felt that those goals didn’t mesh with a more traditional business simulator.
Also deciding on the name for the game was very hard. That took longer than every other game we’ve made combined. – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe
Any in-game secrets that could be easter eggs for players to discover?
If I told you that, then they wouldn’t be hidden anymore 😉
One easter egg I can mention is that we just added the core team to the game as customers, so keep an eye out for us! – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe
Will there be any addition or exciting new updates for the game in the near future?
Absolutely. We have so much we want to add to the game. More cats, more Cafe Duties, more furniture. In the next update there are special animations for each cat’s personality type and they are _so_ cute. – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe
How much time did it take to get this game developed and what can players expect in updates for this game?
The initial stage of the project involved me making really ugly prototypes one day a week for a few months. When we had a core loop that we liked, Lilian (Furistas Lead Artist) and Aleksis (Furistas Lead Programmer) came on board for the Pre-Production phase of the project, which was a few months.
After that the rest of the team came on board for the 6 months of production, and finally 2 months in Soft Launch before the game launched Globally. This was the team’s first project using Unity, and our shortest development time by far. – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe
What are your future plans as a game developer?
For now our focus is to add more content to Furistas. After that, who knows?! – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe
How long have you been developing games and what is the most enjoyable aspect of game development according to you?
The first fully realised game I worked on was an arcade-style multiplayer game 14 years ago.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of game development is the problem solving. Every day there is a new list of design or production issues to figure out, and that’s a good thing! – Jeff Laird, Product Lead Furistas Cat Cafe
How many people worked on the development of this game?
The core team was 6.5 full time people, but the entire studio was involved in some way or another. – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe
Interesting dev stories?
There is a very strange looking “flop” animation (anyone who has played the game will know what I’m referring too). It’s great as a weird idle animation if the cat is hanging around by itself, but at one point a cat would do this weird flop contortion as soon as a customer finished holding it. So it would look like the customer dropped the poor little cat a bit too enthusiastically…
We had debated whether we should remove the animation entirely as maybe it was too strange. But one of our design goals was for the game be “unapologetically quirky”, so it stayed in. Snapshots of that pose have been one of the most shared images on Twitter, so I’m glad we kept it! – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe
What are your personal favourite games?
Growing up I had a Sega Genesis, and from that I have a soft spot for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Landstalker.
As an adult, two of my favourite titles are Journey and The Last of Us. I’m definitely a sucker for games that just feel good to interact with. – Jeff Laird, Product Owner Furistas Cat Cafe
Any message for our readers?
Furistas Cat Cafe really isn’t like any other cat game on the app stores. Each cat is inspired by real life cats, with their own unique personalities and backstories.
The whole team also wanted the customers in the game to be as real and unique as everyday people. Each customer have their own unique style and the VIP customers have their own backstories that a lot of people can identify with.
The cafe itself is really something we want the player to feel like is theirs, right down to how they design their cafe. Whether you want a dungeon cat cafe, a bright bubbly vibe, or to add a gothic touch to your cafe. We wanted that to be up to our players. – Caroline Carter, Games Marketer.