INTERVIEW: Kevin Suckert On Game Development And Shotgun Chairs

"The only thing I know how to do is games."

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Indie games are released every day, many of which pass by without a second glance. On rare occasions, an indie game will be announced and instantly catch the attention of a huge audience. Last Man Sitting is an indie game that was the latter – a game that developer Kevin Suckert showed on Reddit as a simple prototype which blew up on the platform. This is the first time many people heard of Suckert, but he has been working on games for many years.

Suckert is working on Last Man Sitting as a one-man development team and has been working to get this innovative game out at a rapid pace. I sat down with Suckert to talk to him about Last Man Sitting, his history with game development, and indie game development in general.

Thanks for sitting down to talk to me today. Let’s start with Last Man Sitting. How long have you been developing this game? I know you put something up about it in November, were you working on it long before then?
I think it actually started in November, and then I immediately went to take a vacation after that for three works, then I started really working on the game. Before all that, it was just one gif of this guy shooting around on a chair. Now I’m really focusing on it.

So when you put the gif up, that was all there was of the game?
Yeah, that was it. I just had this – I wouldn’t even call it a game yet – idea, that looked funny and I put it on Twitter, then it got like 10,000 likes.

Yeah, I saw it got a lot more than that on Reddit. It’s at just over 100,000 upvotes on Reddit. So it sounds like you had no idea it would blow up like that suddenly?
No, I mean, I’ve been making these prototypes for like two years and I post them all the time. You always hope that one of these will get noticed by somebody, but I didn’t expect that this thing would go through the roof so much!

Let’s say somebody is reading this and hasn’t heard about Last Man Sitting – how would you personally describe the game?
Your ass is mounted on a chair, and the only way to move is the recoil of your shotgun! That’s the shortest way I can describe it, that’s like my elevator pitch. I just hope people don’t take it too seriously. It’s pretty sloppy, and if people think it’s going to be perfectly balanced, I guess they’ll have to be disappointed.

Your original goal was to get the game out pretty quickly, kind of shockingly quickly, then you recently changed the expected date to be in a few months. How are you feeling about when it releases, and do you have any goals for the release?

Well, the release is the goal {laughs}, and that people are happy with it. I don’t want to put something up and people buy it for the hype and then it’s shit. I found out that January was too optimistic to release it, so I’m aiming for March at the moment. If it’s not a good game in March, then I’ll take my time until July, August, or March 2019 even.

So you’ve done Super Footbrawl before, and also have been working on SKTBRD. The games are all very different of course, but something that they have in common is having really unique physics. How has working on these games been similar or different?
They’re actually all using the same base code, and that’s why I can come up with (these prototypes) pretty quickly. I’m also adding a soccer mode to Last Man Sitting and can reuse stuff from Footbrawl because they use the same code. I’ve been doing this for some years, now I can just grab some script I need, just copy some stuff from my library and stitch it together for what I need.

I wanted to talk more about just the games you’ve made, but also your experience with developing games. Your portfolio says you started your career in 2003, but how long have you been working on games?
In 2009 I joined this browser game company and there I just worked as a UI artist, so not really programming or anything like this. It was around 2015 when the job got frustrating to me, then I said: “Fuck this, I’m doing my own thing now.” I started to learn how to make games and stayed there for two more years, and now I’m making a switch. I started making games before and after work, so I had to get up quite early. The games I made at my day job were more like apps with games in them, I didn’t really make games I would say. They were just free to play mobile games.

Where would you recommend someone who wants to start making games start?
The most important thing is not to start with something like an MMO. So many people start and have no idea about making games, and they want to make the next World of Worldcraft. Start with Pong or something like that. The Unity tutorials are pretty good for learning. The most important thing is to play games and analyze them. I can’t even play games normally now, I just played Uncharted and was running around getting close to walls, looking at textures. That’s so important, to look at how other people made games. I started with scripting tools for Unity, so you don’t have to code by yourself, you can just click stuff together. That was useful for understanding logic in programming, then I switched to normal coding.

So is game development what you want to be doing for your career going forward, or is it something you don’t want to rely on for your “day job”?
I was in a situation back in July when I really wanted to quit my job, because it was not cool there anymore. I looked around for jobs in my area, and there was nothing game related anymore. I thought “Shit, I have to work in an agency or something” but then I realized that wouldn’t work out. The only thing I know how to do is games. So that’s it for me.

If you’re interested in more from the world of indie games in 2018, check out our list of the 10 Biggest Indie Games We’re Excited For In 2018.

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