We’ll be working on a review for Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers, so I got in touch with Stefan Gagne at Fiction Factory Games to talk about this one. Come check it out!
PS4Blog: Good morning! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. It’s good to have you back with us. How’s everyone doing?
Hello! Doing well — it’s been a wee bit hectic juggling social, signal boosting streamers, wrangling code, and so on. Just typical indie game launch things. You wear a lot of hats at once.
PS4B: On that note, let’s talk about Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers! What can you tell us about this sequel and its overall premise?
The world of Arcade Spirits is an alternate timeline where the 1980s video game crash never happened — arcades remained a mainstream phenomenon, never fading away. Now it’s the year 20XX, and arcade culture is stronger than ever.
In the original Arcade Spirits, you take a job at a small mom ‘n pop arcade called the Funplex in hopes of finding your way in life. In Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers, you’re an aspiring arcade champion seeking friendship and teamwork on the path to esports glory.
PS4B: It’s been two years since we got to play prequel Arcade Spirits on console. How did everything that was going on in the world impact The New Challengers?
The pandemic didn’t really impact us too badly. It hit our day jobs harder than our game development work. The biggest impact for me was from needing knee surgery in the middle of 2021, which was… not fun, needless to say, but I wouldn’t say it delayed us. We budgeted our time with a lot of leeway to ensure we didn’t need to severely crunch.
PS4B: As was the case last time, not romancing any of the characters is also a valid option in Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers. What other elements have been carried over and improved on from the prequel to promote an even more inclusive experience?
We’ve built the entire game around having an expanded character creator to allow more self-expression than ever – different body types and a wider range of pronouns (up to eleven of them). Basically, whenever anyone complained about pronouns in our game, we added a pronoun. We’ve expanded the friendship option to provide unique story content without skimping on anything, so people not interested in romance (I’m ace/aro myself) still get the full experience. And we’ve added a polyamory story path, which we consulted with polyamorous individuals on to ensure we were presenting it respectfully.
PS4B: Now that the sequel is out, have you considered working on an Arcade Spirits physical art book?
We’d love to do more physical goods! We have physical releases of the original game and The New Challengers. Physical goods beyond that can be a bit daunting, though, and getting print-quality assets together when the game was designed to be digital from day one is tricky. Maybe in the future!
PS4B: And now it’s time for us to go. Is there something else you’d like to add?
Arcade Spirits welcomes everyone — the year 20XX is open to all. No matter who you are or who you love, we’ll meet you where you are. Video games are our shared culture, with deep roots in history, and we’re happy to present it to you and give you an open invitation to explore it all. Quarter up, and thanks for playing!