Interviews & Opinion

The PC Indie Pitch interviews: Snowhound Games discuss pitching Deep Sky Derelicts in Helsinki

The PC Indie Pitch interviews: Snowhound Games discuss pitching Deep Sky Derelicts in Helsinki

The PC Indie Pitch, is a regular event run by the makers of PC Games Insider. It sees indie developers engage in a speed-dating-styled pitching competition for fame and those sweet, sweet promotional packages.

The event gives indies five minutes to pitch their games to a panel of press, publishers and industry pundits. The judges then pick three winners and everybody gets valuable feedback.

The indie view

The PC Indie Pitch is getting bigger and bigger as we bring it to events all across the world. To give you an idea of what the event is like, who attends the events and the games on show, we've sat down with a number of past PC Indie Pitch contestants to offer their views.

Today, we're speaking to Snowhound Games' Dmytro Zhovtobryukh, who submitted Deep Sky Derelicts to the PC Indie Pitch and PC Connects Helsinki 2017 and walked away with the prize for third place.

PCGamesInsider: Tell us a little about yourself and your indie studio - who is on the team, and what are their inspirations?

Dmytro Zhovtobryukh: Snowhound Games was founded by a team of five game enthusiasts and alumni of specialized game developers training program in December 2015. All studio co-founders represent different but complementary backgrounds which allowed us to build up a highly versatile team with a great chemistry right from the beginning. Our debut game, steampunk-themed side-scroll bomber Apestorm: Full Bananas was released on iOS and Android in April 2016. However, as a team we have all along dreamed of making games for PC and possibly consoles, so immediately after Apestorm's release we moved on design and development of a new project for PC Steam. Our company vision is to deliver "simply deep games" featuring refined 2D art to core gamer audience. Our pillars include complex yet accessible strategic gameplay with a good replay value, distinctive visual aesthetics, and subtle oldschool vibes.

Tell us about your latest project that you pitched at the competition.

Deep Sky Derelicts is an original combination of turn-based strategy and RPG, enriched with tactical card combat and popular rogue-like elements. In this game you assume the role of a stateless scavenger who dwells on a ramshackle space station and dreams of cozy life on a natural planet. To make your dream come true you are set off on a mission to explore derelict alien spaceships, fight, loot and upgrade your mercenaries' gear, with the ultimate goal to find a fabled alien vessel full of technological wonders. The game is hand-drawn in 2D and features a dark sci-fi universe painted in distinctive retro-futuristic comic book aesthetic style. Although it also brings a decent amount of dialogues and writing, Deep Sky Derelicts is a very gameplay-oriented title offering quite a bit of replay value to its players. It draws its main inspiration from such projects as Darkest Dungeon, FTL: Faster Than Light and XCOM. Deep Sky Derelicts is coming out on Steam Early Access in November 2017.

How hard is it to survive as an Indie developer working in PC?

It can be very hard during early stages when you work on your first project and nobody knows anything about you and your capacity to create something outstanding. Thankfully, Finnish business ecosystem offers a lot of support and funding opportunities for start-up companies (and indie game studios in particular) to survive through the first years of operation. But overall I don't think that being a PC indie developer is harder than working on mobile games. Conversely, if you have got proper talent, ideas and production values, it is much easier, in my opinion, to reach desired visibility on PC than on mobile platforms.

How did you find your experience pitching as a part of the PC Indie Pitch?

To begin with, I must say I have pitched a few times before on the Very Big Indie Pitch contest, so this time wasn't my first experience. Generally, I like this speed-dating type of pitching format very much. It's focused, intense, fun and helps you quickly figure out hidden flaws on your pitch. But the best part of it is that you always get a chance to improve your pitching performance after you move to the next table. It's a quick and very efficient learning experience!

What do you feel you have gained from the experience, and what do you still hope to gain?

As I said, first of all I gained knowledge of the weak points on my pitch and managed to refine it accordingly. Besides that, I got some new valuable contacts, who might prove useful in the future, and extra encouragement and acknowledgement for the game by industry experts. Naturally, I still hope to get more visibility for Deep Sky Derelicts with a focused Pocket Gamer media coverage.

What are your hopes for this game in the future, and do you have any plans for any future projects?

To be honest, we don't set any specific bar (e.g. number of downloads or earned revenue) to define what we will see as successful game release. We prefer to stay humble in our expectations, as Deep Sky Derelicts is our debut title on PC. However, judging by players' reaction on the game at game shows and all praises and accolades it received from game media, journalists and experts, we feel pretty optimistic regarding the game's future. Sure, we have some exciting ideas for future game projects in the pocket, but haven't given much thought to them lately, as it is still a long way ahead for us with Deep Sky Derelicts - the game will hit Steam Early Access in the middle of November and stay there for around six months.

Needless to say, it will be a hot and tough time for us, but we look forward to using it with utmost efficiency to significantly improve and expand the game and to cater to the tastes of demanding PC core player audience, whom we expect to receive a lot of feedback from and collaborate with during Early Access stage. We hope that Deep Sky Derelicts can eventually become a new standard (and possibly even cult classic :)) in the niche of rogue-lite turn-based strategies, and we plan to develop the game for so long as it will be necessary to ensure its top-notch quality.

Want to show off your exciting new game? We host PC Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you.

Upcoming PC Indie Pitches include:

Developer Evangelist & Big Indie Pitch Manager / Special Features Writer

Queen of all things Indie. Sophia is Steel Media’s Big Indie Pitch Manager and Developer Evangelist. She’s also a global speaker and lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she’s written a thesis on one and lived in the other.