We’re working on a review for Kine, so I got in touch with Gwen Frey to talk a bit about the game’s development. Come check it out!
PS4Blog: Good morning! Good to have you with us today. Could you please help us get started by telling our readers a bit about yourself and your work?
Sure! I’m a game developer with over a decade of experience ranging from MMOs to AAA, to indie games. My first shipped title was Marvel Heroes Online. I worked at Irrational Games for many years developing BioShock Infinite and various DLCs for that until they eventually shut down.
After that, I co-founded The Molasses Flood, where I was the CFO and one of six developers. I helped launch our flagship title The Flame in the Flood as the sole animator, tech artist, and generalist. Finally, I left The Molasses Flood to establish my own solo studio so that I could develop Kine. In general, I love working on games that are rich with story and have compelling art styles.
PS4B: On that note, Kine is ready to go on Nintendo Switch on October 17. How would you describe the game to someone who’s never heard about it?
Kine is a narrative 3D puzzle game. My goal with Kine was to make something cheerful and playful but also challenging. I wanted to use puzzles as a device to tell a story – I wanted to make you feel empathy for these characters as you play these puzzles. And I wanted a story that was rich with life, love, and hope to accompany the game. Kine is a narrative puzzle game about three machines that dream of being musicians. They meet up to form a band and look for their big break. Along the way, you can complete different side-quests by which these new band-mates build up more of a friendship, or even something more!
PS4: How long have you been working on Kine? Where there any particular hurdles or challenges you had to overcome during development?
I started out working on Kine while I had a full-time job. In total, I worked on Kine for seven months on nights and weekends while working full time. Then 11 months part-time, and then 14 months full time. It’s been well over two years in development at this point!
Honestly, the biggest hurdle was getting myself into a position where I could work on Kine full time. Early on, I was burning myself out, trying to work a job, and developing Kine at the same time. When I started development, I was still working at The Molasses Flood, and we were very close to closing the studio. I told myself that after the studio shut down, I’d take a bit of time and make Kine as a solo project before getting my next “real” job. When things started going really well at The Molasses Flood, and it looked like we weren’t going to fold the studio anymore, I was surprisingly sad!
I was supposed to be happy that we were going to be stable and funded, but in my head, I had already planned out how I’d develop Kine – I really, really wanted to do it! Leaving the studio that I helped [establish, right when things were starting to go well, seemed crazy and stupid. I also didn’t want to betray my friends and business partners by leaving to do my own thing. In the end, though, I talked with my co-founders, and we came to an arrangement. I left on good terms, but it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I still love those guys, and I really hope their next game is a massive success!
PS4: How goes work on Kine for its PlayStation 4 debut later in the year?
Kine will launch on PS4 at the same time as Nintendo Switch, on October 17th!
PS4B: And that’s all the time we have for today. Is there something else you’d like to add before we go?
I hope you enjoy the game! You can follow me on Twitter. Please let me know what you think 🙂