I’ve got a new interview to share with you all today! I had the fortune of chatting with Studio Daimon, an indie developer who recently launched their JRPG game, Path of the Midnight Sun. I’ll be working on a review for that game once I have more time with it, but in the meantime, here’s my interview with Alfred!
Let’s start off with an introduction! Please tell me who you are, and what do you do?
Hello everyone! I’m Alfred, I’m 28 years old and I live in Milan, Italy. I have always been passionate about video games, especially Japanese Role Playing Games. When I was a kid I didn’t miss a single issue of the monthly Nintendo Official Magazine and I remember dreaming of becoming a game designer. Then, as is often the case, I prioritized other things by majoring in Human Resources Psychology and I started working in that field. But my young heart evidently yearned for the world of video games, so in 2019 I dropped everything and decided to create Path of the Midnight Sun – Starting from scratch, with no team, no funding or prior knowledge. I admit it was quite a risk (haha). But in a few months I learned how to program in visual scripting, created the game prototype and even a custom engine. Looking back on it, it was crazy (haha)! I was responsible for all the programming, but also for writing in English, visual effects, art direction, and marketing. Now I realize it was really a lot of work for one person, but indie realities often start with big dreams and tiny budgets.
Fortunately, over time I was able to recruit amazing freelancers who helped me: first and foremost Andrea, a longtime friend of mine and music composer. Then Nene, a very talented 2D artist who designed both characters and backgrounds. After a few months, Live2D animators from the Iron Vertex team also joined in, while the voice actors came only later, after a few years.
In 2022 I founded Studio Daimon, my game dev company.
What game/studio are you currently involved with? And what position?
I am currently involved with a studio called Studio Daimon as its CEO and Game Director. I founded it in 2022, as I was trying to chase my dream of becoming and indie developer and publisher. I also serve as the writer, visual effects designer, marketing director, and social media manager. We’re a small but passionate team of freelancers!
What advice would you give those who wish to enter the industry as a writer?
Create compelling stories that resonate with players. Empathy is key, and you should always strive to understand your audience and what they want to experience. But most importantly, you should always put your heart and soul into your work and never give up on your dreams, no matter how hard it gets.
If you still have time to play video games, what are some of your favorite ones to play?
When I have time to play video games, some of my favorites are Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Fire Emblem, Persona 5 Royal, Hades, and Slay the Spire. I tend to play games with great stories and immersive worlds, but I also enjoy roguelikes since they don’t require long sessions.
How did you get into your chosen field in the industry?
I got into the game industry as a hobby game developer. I loved creating my own games and stories, and eventually I decided to leave my full-time job to found Studio Daimon and chase my dreams, even if it was risky. It was a huge leap of faith, but I’m so glad I took it.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Taking harsh criticism. I have no issues with constructive criticism in general, but harsh criticism (or straight up insults) is another thing. People can be very rude and forget that they’re not talking to a big corporation, but just a dude behind a screen. I believe that indie developers deserve better.
What lessons have you learned during your time in the industry?
I have learned many valuable lessons during my time in the industry. One of the most important is that you should never give up on your dreams, no matter how hard it gets. Another is that communication is key, both with your team and with your audience. You should always strive to understand and be understood.
What are your future project(s)?
I am currently working on a new game that I am unable to reveal more information about at this time. But I can tell you that it’s something that I’m extremely passionate about and I can’t wait to share it with the world in 2023.
If you couldn’t be a game developer, what ideal job would you like to do?
I would still like to do something that allows me to express myself and communicate my visions to the world. It could be a writer, a director, an artist, or anything that allows me to share my stories and my ideas with others.
What is your ideal video game if money and time was no object?
My ideal video game, if money and time were no object, would be an Augmented Reality game that changes the way we perceive society, maybe by providing a new form of commerce, since our systems based on money are broken and create huge disparities of wealth. Imagine if we could survive by playing a game and have fun together.
Path of the Midnight Sun features an impressive cast of voice actors. How hard was it to find actors that suited the roles of the characters?
Finding actors that suited the roles of the characters in Path of the Midnight Sun was a challenging but rewarding process. Our casting director, Molly Zhang, did an amazing job of bringing together a talented cast of actors, many of whom have worked on several AAA titles and anime. I’m honored that they chose to work on our project.
Were there any games that inspired Path of the Midnight Sun?
The main inspirations for Path of the Midnight Sun were Fire Emblem, Persona, and Etrian Odyssey, but I wanted the game to have its own distinct personality and stand on its own feet. I tried to create something new and original.
What are the plans moving forward for the game in 2023?
Translations and console ports are coming!
More about You
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Cook, hang out with friends, play video games, read manga. I also like to travel with my girlfriend, but I seldom have the time to move around, as of late. My last vacation was in 2019.
Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?
I’d say coffee, and as an Italian, I can be quite demanding with it! But I do have some “tea moments” here and there. I dislike teabags though, and I prefer purchasing tea leaves.
You can travel to anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?
We know so little about the universe, and there isn’t any other place that allows humans to live, as far as I know. So, until we have more information, I would stay on Earth.
Finally, what superpower would you most like?
I think that Accelerator’s power to control vectors, from the “To Aru” series, is pretty sick! I would love that! It’s nearly invincible and it can get quite creative, too.