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Zoe Interactive Story iOS Developer Interview With Pilar Diz

We recently came across a unique game titled ‘Zoe Interactive Story’ that was recently released on iOS platform and also got featured so we got in touch with the developers of this fun game. Here is our interview with Pilar Diz where we get an in-depth glimpse at this game and some interesting aspects of game development:

 

Tell us a bit about Zoe Interactive Story and what was it that inspired you to make this game?

Zoe is an Interactive Story about a teenage girl who discovers she has powers and falls in love with a werewolf, as you follow the story you get to make choices and help her decide what love interest she likes most, what to do when confronted with certain situations. This story is all about teen conflicts with a  supernatural decor.
The game is structured in 7 to 10-minute episodes with 3 to 7 decisions per episode, one of these decisions always being premium.
ZOE: Interactive Story
ZOE: Interactive Story
Developer: The Other Guys
Price: Free+
The Other Guys Game’s mission is to bring storytelling to casual play. So, after our first successful interactive story, Linda Brown, we wanted to repeat the formula and see if we could find another story people could relate to.  Linda Brown has a more adult target with a realistic look and feel, we wanted to see what would happen if we made the characters feel a bit more animated and make them a bit younger.
One of our inspirations is bringing a cinematic look and feel to mobile devices, we invest a lot in the episodes feeling like something you would see on the big screen. There are some really huge animated and action-packed scenes in Zoe! Also, the game has all new original music and the new art direction!

Naming a game is almost always one of the most difficult tasks since that’s what people identify it with. Was Zoe Interactive Story the first choice for the name? If not then what were some other options you were looking at?

At first, we wanted the game to have a specific and real location, so we thought of Salem, because of the historic witch hunts in this town… and we wanted the name to have something to do with it. After a while though, we decided that we wanted to have our own town so we had the freedom to mix and match different settings, so we thought of Salomon’s Creek or Salomon’s High (for the school) as an option. But as soon as we created our main character and named her Zoe the whole studio fell in love with her and her pink hair! So it was sort of instant, the game had to be named Zoe! And, it made sense with our previous decision with Linda Brown, a strong female name gives you a hint of what to expect in the story!

The artwork of this game is simply gorgeous. What sort of thought process went behind that?

I’ve been mentioning this in previous questions but after Linda Brown we wanted to see what happened if we made the characters a bit more synthetic, more linear and the end result was it made them more expressive!

The tough part was finding the right choice of background look and feel, we didn’t know how realistic we wanted them and how to match the backgrounds with the characters but The Other Guys’ lead artist, Sebastian Lonegro did a great job of combining everything in the end, it took maybe a month to find the correct direction.

What was the major challenge in developing this game?

The major challenge is always the amount of content. A lot goes into every single episode, so developing 40 episodes so as to launch with enough content was the hardest part! And, making sure you have enough content to release after, we are now working on Season 3 and writing Season 4, new content will be released every 2 weeks!
Also orchestrating the whole team: we have structure writes, dialogue writes, artists, musicians, animators and episode implementers that are like our movie directors, that make everything come together.

Any in-game secrets that could be easter eggs for players to discover?

I think that, like any good story, Zoe has great plot-twists, but if you pay attention you can anticipate some of these, just like in a series!

Will there be any addition or exciting new updates for the game in the near future?

Yes! We are currently testing a feature so that players can win diamonds to purchase things within the game for free!
Also, we are in early stages of testing premium wardrobe changes for characters, I don’t know if we should mention these though, it might be a while till we get these to work!

How much time did it take to get this game developed and what can players expect in updates for this game?

It took 10 months to bring Zoe to life…a lot of progress had already been made with Linda Brown, we knew we wanted to maintain the basic structure of it, so we didn’t have to go through that whole investigation.
The first thing we did was test the main characters and concept: would our audience be interested in a supernatural story? Did they like the new art direction? Did they find Zoe, Matt and Lucas attractive?
After that we wrote and created the first 5 episodes, we had to write and rewrite a few times to make these work, constantly testing them. Then came 5 more episodes and the whole first season, after testing the first whole season we started full speed ahead with the 2nd and 3rd.
And with that we started bringing the final touches to the game: all the characters were polished, the backgrounds, the original music was produced and we started producing the videos for special scenes like mid-season and season finales.
Looking back on it, it was a relatively smooth process, but around the 3rd or 4th  month of production we hit a pretty big rock and there was a moment where we thought we wouldn’t make it!

What are your future plans as a game developer?

As game developers, we plan to continue to provide our audience with great stories! We are currently working on a new story about a girl cook that wants to make it in New York!
Also, We would like for the audience to increasingly have more power over the stories, this is our greatest challenge!
And in the future, we would like to have a portal that unites all our apps in one, so that you can choose the stories you want to play without having to download stand-alone apps.

How long have you been developing games and what is the most enjoyable aspect of game development according to you?

I, Pilar have been working in The Other Guys for almost 4 years, but I started out as a Community Manager… after that, I started to lead content teams and now I’m Product Manager for Zoe! So I have been developing games for, I guess 3 years?
 I think the most satisfying part is seeing it all come to life. I like the kitchen, the first 3 months of production are my absolute favorite: nothing is set in stone! Everything is itching to come out,  to be created! Zoe is the first game I produce almost from scratch, we only knew we wanted a supernatural story set in a high school, so seeing the characters come to life was AMAZING. I had a girl crush on Zoe for the first 3 months, every time I saw her I was like: I’m so glad we decided to make her hair pink! I like that she has hazle color eyes! She looks cute!
 Also, Apps are amazing: once you release it anyone in the world can play it! As storytellers, this is a dream come true. It blows my mind that we can create something in ARGENTINA and that in less than 5 minutes it is being played in countries as far as China or Norway!

How many people worked on the development of this game and any interesting dev stories?

Our in-house team is very small we are 7 in total, specifically for Zoe, though everyone in The Other Guys has helped at some point! We are around 22.
But then there is an external team that is a lot bigger: we have our 4 writers, our freelance artists and animators, our musicians, our translators (because Zoe is availabe in 6 languages!)… and I’m sort of scared of forgetting someone on the way!

What are your personal favourite games?

I love Two Dots, simple and easy casual play! And of course, love Linda Brown, I love that Linda has her own original songs… sometimes I wish Zoe also sang!

Any message for our readers?

Thanks for reading this interview! If you got to this point it means that you read it all, so <3! And yeah.. go check ZOE out! I think all players will find conflicts they resonate with and… who wouldn’t want to be a lead female with special powers? Go get them! Trust your instincts! Thanks for playing!

AppStore Download:

ZOE: Interactive Story
ZOE: Interactive Story
Developer: The Other Guys
Price: Free+
  • ZOE: Interactive Story Screenshot
  • ZOE: Interactive Story Screenshot
  • ZOE: Interactive Story Screenshot
  • ZOE: Interactive Story Screenshot
  • ZOE: Interactive Story Screenshot
  • ZOE: Interactive Story Screenshot

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