informa
/
News

Narrative design, indie life with Oxenfree dev Night School - GDC Podcast ep. 19

On GDC Podcast episode 19 we welcomed Adam Hines and Sean Krankel, cofounders of Night School Studio, developers of games such as Afterparty and the iconic indie game Oxenfree.

On GDC Podcast episode 19 we welcomed Adam Hines and Sean Krankel, cofounders of Night School Studio, developers of games such as Afterparty and the iconic indie game Oxenfree.

We covered topics such as narrative design, working in a triple-A studio versus a small indie studio, what it was like making Oxenfree, and injected a bit of sage advice for indie developers.

Listen now on iTunesGoogle Podcasts, and Spotify

Sean and Adam on going from AAA to indie

Sean: "It was kind of this perfect nexus of having already worked at other places before and being passionate about what we wanted to build with this one. So while we were making [Oxenfree] we weren't just looking at it as...our first game for the studio. It was more like, this is our big swing and our pivot away from working in larger companies."

"Right before that I had been at Disney and had gotten laid off and Adam was at Telltale, and we both were like, if we're going to make this thing work, it's gotta be the best thing possible. And the rest of the team had either been in great spots at larger companies but wanted to try something different, or were just kind of looking for something new in general...We did feel like we did something special...We keep trying to maintain that feeling internally, where it's almost our first game every time and we want to stay as scrappy as humanly possible."

Adam: "For me personally, the big difference is that when I was at a larger studio, when you have 200-300 people there, one of the hundreds of people will pick up the slack if I'm sick or if I'm just lost or just don't know how to execute a thing. And at a smaller studio you're not only the water's edge for your department, but your tentacles are in every single department at the same time, so you just really need to be a motivated and organized self-starter."

Sean on focusing your talents

Sean: In general...we tend to [bite off more than we can chew] every time. So the biggest thing [I'd advise indie game makers] would be to work in as narrow a range of creative potential as possible, because you're going to bring the stuff that you can make special to a game...it's inherently going to come out. That doesn't mean [the game] needs 50,000 different features. It's more like, pick one or two things and try to do them to the best of your ability and that means lean on the strengths of your actual team."

GDC Podcast music by Mike Meehan

Listen now on iTunesGoogle Podcasts, and Spotify

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent Informa Tech

Latest Jobs

Sucker Punch Productions

Bellevue, Washington
08.27.21
Combat Designer

Xbox Graphics

Redmond, Washington
08.27.21
Senior Software Engineer: GPU Compilers

Insomniac Games

Burbank, California
08.27.21
Systems Designer

Deep Silver Volition

Champaign, Illinois
08.27.21
Senior Environment Artist
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Register
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more