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'We had no idea that people would like this game': Justin Ma reflects on FTL

'It was just something that we ourselves wanted to play,' the FTL co-creator said. 'Which I think is a great reason for its success, but also the cause of a lot of the bad elements of design.'
"From its core, it was just something that we ourselves wanted to play. Which I think is a great reason for its success, but also the cause of a lot of the bad elements of design that I would consider in it."

- Game developer Justin Ma, speaking about the process of making FTL.

Next month Subset Games' award-winning debut game FTL: Faster Than Light will celebrate its 5th birthday. 

To mark the impending occasion, co-creator Justin Ma sat down with Spry Fox's Dan Cook at DevGAMM in Seattle last week to chat about why it was made, and how Subset is applying some of the things it learned on FTL to its upcoming game Into the Breach.

It's a nice hour of chat between two experienced game devs about the highs and lows of making games as an indie, one that includes some intriguing stories about Ma and co-creator Matthew Davis' process of making a game based on the promise of letting players be a starship captain (a la Star Trek's Captain Picard) rather than a pilot or a fleet commander.   

"We had no idea that people would like this game," Ma recalled. "We thought that we were making something that was just entirely for us, people who are very masochistic. This game is just brutal, intentionally. There was no way to win it, for the longest time."

You can and should watch his full chat with Dan Cook, which has now been published to the DevGamm YouTube channel. It makes a nice follow-up to the full FTL postmortem that Ma and Davis delivered a few years ago at GDC 2013.

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