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August 19
2013

Interview with Ricardo Valenzuela, game designer for Son of Nor

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Kickstarting a video game project is hard enough as it is. Trying to get your audience to believe in your game ideas enough to fund it can be as challenging as delivering your product. The team behind Son of Nor, a game we covered earlier this year, was at one point worried that they wouldn’t make their goals, but were relieved when they finally made it.

While at GaymerX I had a chance to sit down and talk with Ricardo Valenzuela, the game’s designer and writer. Although he is working with stillalive studios, he lives in Ecuador – a place with little to no games industry or gaymer community. Read on below to find out more about what its like being a gay game designer working from a different continent, and be sure to check out Son of Nor, which is currently in the process of trying to be greenlit on Steam. Make sure to check out the above link to vote it up so it can get to the top 10!

How long have you been working in the games industry?

I’ve been working for the game industry for over a year now. My first professional game is Son of Nor and I would say that stillalive studios is the first professional team I’ve been part of. That means that my game industry experience has only been in this team with this game (and others unannounced).

What would you say has been the biggest challenge in making Son of Nor so far?

I think we haven’t really met our biggest challenge yet. But if I would have to choose from things in the past, it would be the way we work in our team. We are a distributed team from different countries, cultures, languages and time zones. It was quite a job to be able to organize ourselves, the way we communicate and our workflow. But we’ve got that covered now.

Other than that, the Kickstarter campaign was quite a challenge to our faith and hopes. At one point we believed that we wouldn’t make it, and some of us were already feeling down foreseen the disbanding of the development team.

ricardovalenzuela

What is it like working in the gaming industry in Ecuador, such as challenges you have to face?

There’s no gaming industry in Ecuador because there isn’t a real market either. There aren’t official distributing companies over here and games are way overpriced making people rely heavily on pirating. Of course, digital distribution has solved some part of this issue. But the majority of Ecuadorians are part of a lower class, and games in their original price are still too expensive making them a high luxury.

Of course there are some people that want to make games, but since there’s no industry, no people willing to fund, or no real way to figure how to make money out of them, games are not being made unless they are university projects. That’s why I had to find a group that wasn’t from here, and luckily I found one (stillalive studios) that was a good fit for me, considering the fact that I live in Ecuador and stuff.

How does gaymer community here in the states compare with that in Ecuador?

This is quite difficult to describe. Ecuador has economic class separatism. Usually high class doesn’t mix with lower class. The majority of the population is the lower class, which also has the highest rate of people that are out of the closet. The higher class is still religious (Opus dei) and most worry about their “name” which makes people mostly stay in the closet. Those in the lower class are pirates due to economic reasons and those in the higher are not, but then again those in the higher class that are out of the closet are not gaymers, have other priorities or consider games to be for children.

So at the end, the gayming community is almost non-existant. At least for me it is like that.

That’s why I felt sad in the aftermath of GaymerX, knowing I would have to go back to Ecuador. Seeing all those groups of friends that gather every week to play or talk about games, knowing I would have to go back to Ecuador where I don’t have any of that.

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About Jesse Cortez

(Writer). Jesse Cortez is excited to be a part of the GG family! Previously a community manager at Destructoid, he now spends most of his time singing with the SF Gay Men's Chorus. His gaming passions include Nintendo, platformers, and the fighting game genre. He's always ready to work his magic with a fight stick.

One Response

  1. avatar The_french_guy says:

    Interesting piece and i hope all the best for Ricardo and his game. I just voted it on steam!

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