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Blacksea Odyssey, Incoming Indie

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With inspiring sources including Old Man and the Sea and Asteroids, you know it’ll be interesting. Enter Blacksea Odyssey, a hunting competition set in space. With a harpoon mechanic to rip apart your foes and game modes featuring ‘hard’ and ‘harder’, Blacksea Odyssey is looking to be an interesting indie game. The game’s alpha is set to release the week of October 25th. I got the chance to talk to Team Blacksea Odyssey about their game.

The team consists of three game design grads, Sean Pinnock, PJ Legendre, and Peter Milko. They partnered up with Mastertronic to get it published. The plan is to open the alpha this week and publish the game sometime in Spring.

Blacksea Odyssey is a top-down shoot’em up about hunting giant space creatures. We really wanted to make a game where you’re flying around as an old man on a space-board throwing spears at space creatures… There’s also a harpoon mechanic to rip them apart.”

While they mentioned that anyone into hardcore games and high challenges will enjoy the game, I say give the alpha a try either way because it looks to be a very promising indie. I’ll certainly be doing my own review of the game when the alpha is released to the public this week.

This isn’t the team’s first go around either and I got to ask them a few questions about game development. They’ve been game-making in jams since college and studied game design at the University of Central Florida. While many indie designers have to have day jobs to fund their projects, Team Blacksea Odyssey all agreed they had to work on the game full-time, hence the team-up with Mastertronic.

“One thing we decided early on was that the only way we could do this is if we were able to work on it full-time. So, we initially prototyped [Blasksea Odyssey] at a local game jam as a way of testing our concept… But after that, we made a better prototype… and we pitched the prototype to publishers to get funding and support for making this game.”

I asked what they believed the hardest part of being an indie studio was, and to my surprise, it didn’t really have to do with making the game. While programming can be hard, it was something they had all studied for many years, so that wasn’t where the difficulties really were.

“I think for a lot of people it’s getting started. It’s our first time so we’re unfamiliar with things like working with Steam or getting the dev kits for consoles. So, figuring out the non-development aspects of game development.”

I also thought, as the newest game developers of America, I should ask them about how they feel about women in the industry and in games. Their response was positive and also hinted at a character that I might just have to try unlocking myself.

“I remember back when I was in class, there were a lot of girls who were interested in game design and game development. I know in our game, something we actually want to have is this really cool, badass [female] character. That’s something we’d like to see more of in the industry.”

The team tries to regularly attend conventions to show off their game and see what everyone else is working on as well. They hope to attend some bigger events in the coming year like Pax South and Pax East.

Their number one piece of advice for indie game designers is that you need to be willing to go all in and to really push yourself and practice making games. Game jams, which, are get-togethers where you make a game during a certain time limit, were highly suggested. The time limits range from 48 hours to a month, as in the case of the Indie Game Making Contest.

“We worked on games for years before we [started to] make this game. You have to have the willingness to put that much effort and work into it.”

They also live stream their whole process through twitch Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm EST. You can find their live stream on their website as well as register for the alpha there.

The game will come out on PC, Mac, Linux, and Xbox One sometime next Spring. The alpha comes out this week and there will be an early access version of the game available soon as well. Register for the alpha and watch their development here.

Rebecca is forever a Nintendo-junkie and game design student. She favors action/adventure and RPG games, though she won't object to sitting down with The Sims every so often.