One of the best things about working in gaming journalism is all the cool people you get to meet and chat to, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have a chat this time with Philipe Mesotten of Not A Company, the studio behind indie game Hoverloop. So, without further delay, here is our latest Q&A:
Hello Philippe. Let us begin with a small introduction; tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m Philippe Mesotten, founder of Not A Company, the studio currently creating the all-new multiplayer game, Hoverloop. Located in the most amazing beer country in the world, Belgium, I’m trying to create a game for everyone, including my old love – split-screen.
And how about going into a little more detail about your career in game development?
As a kid, I was always, as you can imagine, a real gamer. Playing on everything from a NES (Mario Bros 3), PC (Nox), Xbox (Halo Franchise) and PlayStation (Gran Turismo). When I hit my early teens, I could lose myself in the Command & Conquer 3 world builder, creating custom levels that were played online by people I never even met, it felt amazing!
About 6 years ago, I started studying Game Development at the wonderful Howest school, following the Digital Arts & Entertainment course. Ending my degree with an internship at Larian Studios as a VFX artist on the amazing Divinity: Original Sin, I went on and started my first -real- gamedev job at Traveller’s Tales in the UK. As a VFX artist there, working on LEGO Dimensions and LEGO Marvel Avengers I came into contact with lot’s of great IPs, from Harry Potter to Ghostbusters and Mission Impossible.
But, I couldn’t lose that itchy feeling of wanting to create my own game, so, I did just that!
Now we’ve gotten to know you, let’s talk a little about your studio. When did Not A Company begin, and how did it get its name?
It began after my adventure at Traveller’s Tales, a bit over a year ago now. The idea came from me not having the time to learn really complex games anymore (after work), and other AAA-games dropping the split-screen functionality that I’ve always loved. I wanted to create something that you could play for 15 minutes and that you felt already at that point like you were completely in control while playing together with your friends. (Or soon to become enemies…)
The name was chosen because, well, it sounded nice! And people seem to remember it!
We know you’re currently working on a game called Hoverloop which has recently hit Early Access. What can our viewers expect should they go check it out?
Invite your friends, get yourselves some snacks (& beer, if you’re the right age!) and prepare to frequently shout battlecries at each other! You have plenty of game modes to choose from, so you will have a great variety of gameplay. If you feel like it, you can even customize your characters (drones) with a moving chicken or a cute squid!
And in 10 words or less, why should they check it out?
Ultimate fast-paced split-screen madness.
What was it that inspired you to develop this game?
Check 3 😉
What lengths have you gone to so it stands out from the competition?
Where other companies ditch split-screen play for +9000FPS gameplay (we have 60fps, mind you!) and only give you 1 or 2 game modes to choose from. We give you a great variation in gameplay that you can enjoy with friends or family on the couch, while still enjoying 60fps smoothness and nice graphical environments.
Did you face any major issues during development?
Online Multiplayer and Marketing.
The first one is because we aren’t actually -real- programmers. So we are hiring an amazing freelancer at this very moment to “translate” the game to be able to have the Online play.
The second one is, because well, we are a 2-man team that just started out, so our network is super broad. The other thing is, the Steam market is currently -VERY- saturated, that is why we are developing for Xbox as well. (If you are a publisher and Hoverloop seems like something you would like to help come to life, feel free to drop us your details at firstname.lastname@example.org !)
And following on from that, were there any parts of the development of this game that you were all particularly proud of and thought “wow, we’ve really accomplished something here”?
Well, everything, to be honest, haha. Building something from the ground up, in this case, a game, and keeping up the motivation to bring it to completion even when some people are telling you “WHAT ARE YOU DOING”… It’s a childhood dream come true. Even more so when Xbox shares your gameplay trailer on their official channel:
It’s not complete yet, but we’re getting there!
And a final question related to the game. When the final version is released, what then? What’s next in line for you and Not A Company?
You will have to follow us to find that out ;)!
Just a couple more general questions to tie things up; firstly for people looking but are maybe too scared to venture into game development and start up a studio like you have, what advice can you offer? Are there any particular pieces of software you would recommend?
Software: Unreal Engine 4 or Unity + Photoshop and QUIXEL + 3DsMax or Blender. I actually did a Reddit AMA about that: https://www.reddit.com/r/casualiama/comments/662dac/23_year_old_indie_game_developer_previous_fx/
One of the reasons we’re here today to chat about this game is thanks to the Kickstarter campaign you launched. How important are these platforms to developers like yourself?
Very. Because we are indie devs that just started out, we need both direct feedback from people we do not know (backers) and of course, initial funding.
Feedback from random people is really needed, otherwise you keep getting the same views on your project over and over again and that will blind you from some good tips.
And finally for a bit of fun, what is your favourite joke?
Maybe if we meet in a café someday I can tell you some 😉
Does it have to be a cafe? Can it not be a pub/bar sampling some of the world’s finest Belgian beers? I guess you guys will never know. We’d like to thank Philippe for taking the time out of his VERY busy schedule to do this with us, and we hope you all enjoy reading our Q&A. As usual, if you want to find the links where you can follow the developments of Hoverloop and Not A Company, you can do so by looking below. Otherwise, we’ll be back with more exclusive chats very soon.
Based in small cosy Belgium, we are a team that creates games for the wide wide world.