Cereal Games is an Azorean studio that is developing Pecaminosa, a very promising pixel noir game. I had the opportunity to play an early version at Lisboa Games Week last year and I really enjoyed my short experience. More and more games with a lot of potential are being developed in Portugal and it’s never too much to try to spread the word about what is being done here. For that reason, I thought this would be a good game to talk about on the website.
Before we start, I want to thank the studio CEO, Lázaro Raposo, for taking the time to answer the questions. As for the readers, hope you enjoy the interview.
– I’m a person that enjoys cereals, but preferably not too sweet. What about you guys? By the way, Lázaro Raposo, how did the name Cereal Games come about?
We don’t differ much. Just looking at the amount of Kinder Bueno boxes and cookies, you can tell from this team’s sugar addiction. There’s a rare case of Kellogs All Brain Plus, rich in fiber, but that will have other reasons.
The name Cereal Games came up almost by coincidence: at the time of the company’s creation, we looked at a game we already had in development – we called it ‘The League of the Environment’ – to look for inspiration. One of the characters was a cereal box: Cereal Games! The rest was almost instantaneous, the crate-game boy as logo, Cereal is written the same way in Portuguese and English and the phonetic similarity between Cereal and ‘serious’ – since we have a great focus on ‘serious games’… Many factors to ignore the name!
– How many people are involved in the project? Do any of you eat cereal with hot milk? Attention, in my opinion, that is not a problem. 🙂
The answer to this question is more difficult than it seems, as it is a project that has been going on for more than a year, involving people who are not even here with us anymore, but I can also count on investors, silent partners, etc… I can say that currently we are 9 people giving life to the Pecaminosa.
Of the 9 people, fortunately only two eat cereals with hot milk. It must be just a phase. It will pass. Maybe, I don’t know.
– I’ve found out that Pecaminosa means sin. Is this an adventure in the famous Sin City?
Pecaminosa is the Latin version of Sin City. We didn’t want to use an existing name, and it turned out to work well, since it’s very common to see American cities with Latin names. The city itself, it’s a kind of Chicago meets Las Vegas… with the worst of both worlds. All that in a pixel art cocktail noir with art deco motifs.
– What were the greatest sources of inspiration for the game?
Like any creative artistic piece, inspiration comes from many sides and its reflection is very diverse. You might think that our inspiration came only from other games, but the reality is different and much more comprehensive.
Movie classics like Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil, The Killing, or even the aforementioned Sin City, were behind the creation of this atmosphere, but also series like Midnight Texas, or jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Henry Mancini and Art Blakey.
At the gaming level, we have very varied sources, from Fallout New Vegas and Fallout Shelter, the L.A.Noir, and the older Zelda: a Link to the Past and their SEGA counterpart, Crusader of Centy – the latter two for the direct impact they had on me and the way I absorb RPG’s these days.
– Your fundraising campaign will start on March 4th, right? Convince people with a few words. 🙂
That’s right. Day 4 all the links will go directly to our campaign page in Indiegogo. Our big goal in this campaign is to increase the community of players and interested in Pecaminosa. So much so that we have a small goal (only €10,000) and the perks are cheap and appealing, especially when compared to what is done out there.
We have had good recognition and acceptance, even internationally. With the campaign, we hope to reach even more people. But for it to be successful, we have to reach at least the goal. In case we exceed it, we already have plans for additional money, from multiplayer features, voice acting or even a limited vinyl edition of the original soundtrack.
– I had the opportunity to play a bit of Pecaminosa during Lisbon Games Week of 2019 and I really enjoyed it. When will be available a more recent demo?
Right now we’re working on two fronts: the refinement of our most recent demo and the crowdfunding campaign itself. The idea is after the campaign we have all the elements completed to start the next stage of disclosure.
– It seemed to me that humor will be something quite present in the game. What else do we have in good doses?
Surprises and narrative twists. In the first conceptual draft, the pillars for this game were recorded, and besides the humor and abuse of clichés on the subject, the narrative was always seen as a strong dish.
To that we can add the noir experience, recreated in pixel art, or even an original soundtrack of Jazz themes. Azorean Made Jazz!
Ah, and references! I love references. It’s a kind of signature of mine in all my games: movie references, musicals, other games, sports. Some more direct, others not so direct. As a player, I love to be surprised with references inside other games. In ours, you can expect good doses of that too!
– We already know that Pecaminosa will have some bosses. Can you guys talk a little bit about the combat system?
The combate is in real time. I’m not a big fan of turn-based RPG’s. I like… on a board. Digitally we have to take advantage of the technology. In that initial draft I mentioned earlier, it was clear that it would be an RPG action.
Otherwise, the main mechanics is the L.I.F.E. system. It means Luck, Intelligence, Force and Endurance. The player when evolving always receives 2 points to distribute for one of these attributes. Clear inspiration in ‘old school’ RPG systems.
Needless to say, variations in the evolution of L.I.F.E. attributes will change the game experience. For example, Luck increases the probability of loot or the chance of a critical hit; Force increases HP and melee weapons damage.
The player will have to choose what attracts him the most, but he will also have to take into account that different paths will unlock different PERKs, like immunity to poison, or a molotov cocktail rain special attack.
– Before we finish, I want to propose a game. Describe each staff member with an adjective, what their favorite game is and what they want to play most from 2020. Challenge accepted?
As Barney Stinson would say, “challenge accepted.”
Starting with the easiest, favorite team games, Rimworld, Devil May Cry 5, Skyrim, World of Warcraft, Warcraft III- the frozen throne, Sonic the Hedgehog, Tomb Raider Reboot trilogy.
As for the Game for 2020, the answer is almost unanimous: PECAMINOSA.
When it comes to adjectives, Lascivious, Expansive, Helpful, Shy, Pessimistic, Worker, Creative, ‘Mister-Analogies’, were the results of a quick and fun poll.
It’s a very heterogeneous team…