• Tuesday , 25 April 2017

Get Your Gaming Geek on With Saltie Games

Story by Cassie Hepler, photos by Saltie Games

Gaming isn’t just for geeks anymore.

It’s actually cool to be smart nowadays and some local folks are riding that train all the way to Lisbon, Portugal and beyond.

Kelly Kusumoto, Lead Game Writer and co-founder of Saltie Games is a resident of Fishtown, Phila. “I began writing for video games when Gonçalo Pereira (Lead Game Designer and Saltie Games co-founder) approached me looking for a game writer on a project a few years ago. All through college, I swore I would never write for video games but since we knew each other pretty well from Full Sail University, I decided to give it a shot,” he said.

After short stints as a writer for Digital Sails Studios and Kiltic Games, Kelly figured out it was his calling and decided to create his own company with Pereira so that they could work on developing games at their own pace.

“While developing a game called Krazy Train for Kiltic Games, Gonçalo and I felt we needed to go in a different direction. And since Krazy Train was my creation, we took it and started Saltie Games so that we could give it the attention it needs,” Kusumoto said.

It has already found acclaim in Playstation Portugal’s Premios Contest in 2016.

Krazy Train was firstly intended for mobile, but it actually made it to the finals of PlayStation Portugal’s Premios contest, and we were able to present it at Lisbon Games Week this past November. We adapted gameplay and mechanics to make it more appealing for console but the initial concept was mostly targeted towards the mobile market,” said Pereira.

Kusumoto joined Pereira in Lisbon for Portugal’s largest gaming convention, Lisboa Games Week (LGW), this past November.

“It was a great experience hearing players and professionals give their feedback on our game. In fact, every night when we got home we would make slight improvements to the game for the next day,” said Pereira. “We also met other developers and winners from previous contests. We shared ideas and talked about our vision of the markets and the industry. We grew as professionals each day we were there.”

The ultimate goal is to present Saltie Games at E3 in Los Angeles in 2018 as well as other game shows in Europe and Japan.

“We didn’t end up winning any awards at LGW. But the experience we gained was invaluable. In fact, I believe it was more valuable than if we were to have won,” said Kusumoto. “We have a much clearer picture of how to set goals and attain them, as well as what to expect along the way. We’ve built some great connections and gained so much experience. We can’t wait to put it all into action.”

“Our goal for 2017 is to publish Krazy Train and start working on a 3D, story-based project called, Tinderbox, which we are currently in the Pre-production phase. We also wish to strengthen our team and expand in some fields where we still have limited resources. And we’re looking to expand our social community,” said Pereira. “We want to build our Twitter and Facebook and Instagram base, so if any readers are out there, check us out on social media and follow us. We will follow you back.”

A complete game Pereira developed himself under his own studio, Gonzo4Games and has since merged with Saltie Games, is “Santa’s Lost Items.” It can be downloaded from Google Play® for Android® or The App Store® for iOS®. Think of it as a teaser as to what Saltie Games will bring in the future. In the meantime, be on the lookout for Krazy Train around Fall 2017 and their second game, Tinderbox, in the first quarter of 2018.

“We’ve started a second game targeted for 2018. It’s a story-driven game based on Kelly’s short story of the same name, which was published in 2013. It will be a first-person, 3D environmental experience that’s very story-focused, a ‘Walking Simulator’ for lack of a better term. We’re aiming to develop it for PC and Console. You can visit our website for more details.”

“I’m so excited for what the future holds, ” Kusumoto said. “Krazy Train will be out soon, and Tinderbox is going to be a very immersive experience for gamers. Think Dear Esther or Gone Home, games like those where the story takes over. We are assembling an amazing team. The talent is impressive. It seems everyone is champing at the bit to work on a video game and we are just trying to channel that energy and momentum to create something special.”

Find out more of what the future holds for Saltie Games on their website or on social media.

Outside Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL) where the Lisboa Games Week (LGW) 2016 was held in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Kelly Kusumoto ©2016

Outside Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL) where the Lisboa Games Week (LGW) 2016 was held in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Kelly Kusumoto ©2016

The Rio Tapo and the Vasco da Gama Bridge at Parque das Nações, Lisbon. Photo by Kelly Kusumoto ©2016.

The Rio Tapo and the Vasco da Gama Bridge at Parque das Nações, Lisbon. Photo by Kelly Kusumoto ©2016.

Kiltic Games at LGW 2016. From left to right: Kelly Kusumoto (Lead Game Writer) & Gonçalo Pereira (Lead Game Designer). Photo by Mafalda Peres Pereira ©2016.

Showcasing Krazy Train at LGW 2016. From left to right: Kelly Kusumoto (Lead Game Writer) & Gonçalo Pereira (Lead Game Designer). Photo by Mafalda Peres Pereira ©2016.

Fellow exhibitors pose for a photo near the end of the show. From left to right: Kevin Colgate and Leonor Parra from Cake Collective, and Gonçalo Pereira. Photo by Kelly Kusumoto ©2016

Fellow exhibitors pose for a photo near the end of the show. From left to right: Kevin Colgate and Leonor Parra from Cake Collective, and Gonçalo Pereira. Photo by Kelly Kusumoto ©2016

The crowd at Lisboa Games Week 2016. Photo by Kelly Kusumoto ©2016.

The crowd at Lisboa Games Week 2016. Photo by Kelly Kusumoto ©2016.

As the show winds down, a gamer admires some inter-species love in front of a synagogue. Yeah, it’s that kind of game! Photo by Mafalda Peres Pereira ©2016

As the show winds down, a gamer admires some inter-species love in front of a synagogue. Yeah, it’s that kind of game! Photo by Mafalda Peres Pereira ©2016

Krazy Train Promotional Artwork by Lead Game Artist, Joey To ©2016.

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