Super Metroid is hands-down one of my favorite games of all time; between the exploration, the pacing, the gear-gating, the atmosphere, the boss fights, and, of course, the speed runs – this Super Nintendo classic will always hold a memorable place in my heart. It’s not too often that games truly reach out to the ‘Metroidvania’ genre while trying to stay in an old school mentality. Legend of Iya does all of this while adding more to the genre.
Legend of Iya is fantastical tale of a young girl who gets lost in the forest and finds herself surrounded by cyber-enhanced baddies. This Metroidvania game uses stellar pixel art to create massive set pieces and a neat visual style. With inspiration from many of the classic games in this genre, the game's creator, Andrew Bado, wanted to add his own flavor and create a game that’s been swirling around his head for many years now.
1. What exactly is Legend of Iya?
Currently it's just a name. The game is about a teenage girl named Iya (pronounced Ee-yah), who must unravel the mystery of what happened to her world.
However. a long-abandoned version of the game actually had a prophecy which you as a player had to fulfill, but the idea was that you'd fail, as you weren't the one, apparently: )
2. Where did the idea for Legend of Iya stem from? How long have you had a project like this in mind?
The newest incarnation of the project started in 2006. At the core of the project lies my idea to make a work of fiction that on the surface has all the makings of a fairytale, but ends up closer to a hard sci-fi piece than anything else.
3. What games inspired you for this project?
Ha! A lot of different ones, actually. Mostly it's the Amiga classics by Psygnosis – Shadow of the Beast 1, 2 and 3, Barbarian 2, Leander, but also console games like Super Metroid for its wonderful atmosphere of loneliness and alien wonder. There were also negative inspirations, like a bunch of games I looked at, and went "I can do better!", though I'd rather not mention them by name – I'm on shaky ground with the indie community as it is.
4. The combat seems to have traces from the fighting genre with launchers and combos, could you expand on this?
All incarnations of my Legend of Iya games had melee combat – I dislike guns and especially the idea of children using guns. However, fighting has always been very week and boring in those games, so a friend of mine suggested I try to sort of do a "Devil May Cry in 2D," so I rolled with that. I hope people will like that.
5. Where did the concepts for these larger-than-life, chain gun-toting mammoths, and savage monsters come from?
Well, it might be a spoiler of sorts where they come from in-game, but the idea was to combine all sorts of fauna (and flora in some cases) with cybernetic add-ons and give [them] silly names like Beartrap-Bunny, Slicer-Badger, Gun-Ganesh, Launcher-Owl etc
6. What can you tell us about the 12-year-old protagonist?
Many years ago, she was actually based on a real girl, but not for a long time now – she just kind of evolved into her own thing. She starts the game proper lost, vulnerable and scared – but she soon discovers she can suddenly do cool stuff she couldn't do before. But with every found ability, strange stuff happens to her. I want the player to grow protective of her over time – to make them think "I don't want this girl to keep getting hurt": )
7. How close is the plot of Legend of Iya to the original ZX Spectrum version?
Oh, not close at all. Well, they are still sort of exploration-based – some of the "episodes," anyway. But mostly they were reflective of what I was playing at the time. Some of them were exploration-based, some were straight-up run-and-jumps, not all episodes had the player control Iya, and one of them was this short inventory-based platformer-adventure – sort of like a very bad Dizzy clone written in basic.
8. As a pixel artist, what are the biggest challenges in Legend of Iya?
To stay focused on one area of the development, mostly. The amount of work that needs to be done is huge, and covers all sorts of areas – character sprites, tilesets, boss modules and animation etc,
I am a decent coder in GameMaker, but keeping the code and resources organized as the project bloats up is a pain.
Additionally, keeping the game fun by mixing up challenges is probably the biggest issue. This can only be achieved by playing sections again and again and trying to keep boredom to the minimum 🙂
9. How valuable will exploration be in Legend of Iya?
Oh, it should be fairly important for all sorts of story bits (special rooms that reveal important clues about the world), also optional power-ups, like health and "magic." Most main abilities are located in the player path though, and I want to keep backtracking to a reasonable amount by connecting the world in all kinds of ways, like secret passages that lead back to previously explored areas and teleports (though so far they are only theoretical).
10. Is Legend of Iya on Steam Greenlight? How can people help?
Yes – the game is on greenlight – there is a link right off the main Kickstarter page. I have no idea how greenlight really works, so all I can say – go vote for it if it's something you want on Steam.
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ