Getting FISH-y with Arthur Zeferino

The indie space is primarily known for 2D titles, but there’s been a growing surge in 3D indie titles. FISH is one such title, harkening back to the days of DOOM, but with a dash of Overwatch‘s Roadhog thrown into the mix. I got the chance to converse with FISH‘s sole developer Arthur Zeferino over e-mail about his upcoming retro-FPS.

Elijah Beahm: For those who don’t know, what is FISH?

Arthur Zeferino: FISH is a First Person Shooter with gameplay inspired by 90’s FPS and a with hookshot! Fishmen pirates have taken over the island of San Esteban and you play as a burly fisherman helping the resistance to take the island back.

EB: What originally inspired FISH?

AZ: DOOM, Quake, and Duke Nukem 3D obviously. The whole caribbean theme comes from a Brazilian soap opera called Kubanacan, I always joked about making a game based on that and when I was deciding about the theme of the game I thought “why not?”. The whole “fishmen pirates” thing was inspired by One Piece though, I’m a big fan.

EB: What drew you to making a 90’s style FPS, and what challenges have you faced during development?

AZ: Well, it’s 2017 and I still play DOOM and Quake regularly, 2 years ago I was replaying Quake and noticed that there are no games like these anymore, FPS are either aiming for “cinematic experiences” like Call of Duty or are arena shooters like Serious Sam, so I decided to do it myself. I can see that I was not the only one since there are plenty of other games like Strafe and Dusk coming out now.

Mixing 2D sprites with 3D graphics is not something most engines expect you to do, so I had my share of problems with that. But I think the biggest challenge was getting the hook right, it went through a few iterations and I’ll probably still have to make a few tweets so to be sure that it doesn’t brake the game.

EB: What particular elements of shooters like DOOM and Quake do you look to as an FPS designer?

AZ: One thing I’m really trying to get right is the exploration part of these games. There was a lot backtracking and searching for secrets in them that I miss in modern games of the genre.

EB: What brought about the hookshot ability?

AZ: Most people compare it to Overwatch‘s Roadhog but I was actually thinking of Zelda‘s hookshot when I did it. You can pull enemies, items and pull yourself to places. I actually thought of it once I decided that the main character would be a fisherman and started thinking what kind of weapons a fisherman could have.

EB: What’s your favorite part of FISH? What surprised you the most?

AZ: I’m enjoying designing enemies and researching about fishes and pirates for that, I’m pretty proud of what I achieved visually.

I’m surprised by how many possibilities that theme is bringing me, I have a lot of enemy ideas based on real fish and it’s sad that I wont have time to put all of them in the game.

EB: What got you into indie game development?

AZ: I’ve worked in a few Brazilian gaming companies, but most companies over here are focused on safer investments like F2P mobile games and adver-games. I decided to go indie so I could make games that I wanted to play.

EB: How’s work as a game developer in Brazil? I’ve heard word the games industry is a growing sector in South America.

AZ: It’s growing but it’s still a hard path to follow. Most people don’t understand what we do and don’t take the industry seriously, there are very few gaming companies so it’s hard to get a steady job in the area and when you do, salaries are low compared to other areas (specially for programmers), so people that insist in the games industry here are very passionate about it. Things seem to be getting more stable now, the government is starting to pay attention to the area and some local indies are starting to get recognition, but we still have a long way to go.

EB: What’s something you’d like to try in the future once you set FISH free to swim out in the wild? (Excuse the pun!)

AZ: I’m not sure yet but I would like to try other genres and maybe some more serious themes, games still have a lot to explore.

For more about FISH, be sure to check out Arthur’s blog and Twitter.

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About Elijah Beahm

Elijah is a man who can't stop talking about games, geeky things, and to the chagrin of his team, making horrible, HORRIBLE puns. He's Editor-in-Chief here at Indie Gamer Team, The Unabridged Gamer on YouTube, and Ink Blots & Madness on Tumblr. When not on here, you'll probably find him ranting on Twitter, maining Symmetra in Overwatch, writing, or replaying Dead Space 2 for the 150th time.
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