If there is something we love at Sinical Anime Network, its to meet and talk with video-game developers, about their projects, visions, and plans regarding current and future games.
After we reviewed The Void Rains Upon Her Heart, a Bullet Hell shooter like no other, and still in Early Access, we knew we had to get a sneak peak of what's to come, and the opportunity arose just a couple of days ago.
I had the pleasure to talk with Angel Polanco, and uncover a little about him as a developer, his studio projects and some extra info over The Void Rains Upon Her Heart.
This is the interview conducted on 1st of July and it’s a direct transcription of the conversation between myself representing Sinical Anime Network (SAN) and Angel Polanco.
SAN: First of all, I would like to thank you for your time in the name of our community for your availability, and granting us the pleasure of this interview.
Is The Void Rains Upon Her Heart your first developed game? Or have you worked on another game?
Angel Polanco: I actually started making games when I was about 9 years old back in the early 2000's. I hardly ever finished any of those and they were all low quality. The Void Rains is the first game I have released commercially though. It was actually supposed to be a side project to another game I was working on. This game took on a life of its own and I've put that other game on hold until this one is finished.
SAN: You started really soon! What were your biggest influences when creating The Void Rains Upon Her Heart?
Angel Polanco: Kirby, Undertale, Kirby, Touhou, Kirby, Nier Automata, The Binding of Isaac, and did I mention Kirby? This game started with a simple goal. I wanted to make a game that was just a bunch of Kirby-like final bosses in a Kirby-like arena mode! I would also like to thank Guitar Hero for getting me into music in general. Without that, I doubt I would have even cared to learn how to compose my own music.
SAN: It came to our knowledge that you were doing the music as well. It's impressive, because the soundworks are really good. It’s safe to say Guitar Hero inspired The Void Rains Upon Her Heart music?
Angel Polanco: Guitar Hero inspired me to learn to write music. Most of the songs themselves were inspired by Undertale and Kirby music. However, there are a ton of references to heavy metal bands that I discovered through Guitar Hero in the achievement names!
SAN: Although I was never much a fan of Bullet Hell Shooters, I find myself loving The Void Rains Upon Her Heart, and it’s actually giving me a desire to try other Bullet Hell Shooters. I’ve heard similar feedbacks from other players as well. What’s your opinion on this?
Angel Polanco: I'm honestly not much of a Bullet Hell player myself! However, I absolutely love playing around with math and patterns. That is exactly what goes into making the bullet patterns in this game. I wanted to make a fun, easy-ish bullet hell game and it was important from the start that I let the player choose how hard it gets. This form of choosing how fast the difficulty increases is not something I've seen very often in games. Thanks to early access, I've gotten a bunch of feedback that has helped me improve so many of the boss battles! Thanks to everyone who has played this game despite not being into the genre!
SAN: The game is still in Early Access, do you intend to improve the game further or is it just some bugs and small things you still need to work on? I'm asking this because based on what I played, the version seems really good.
Angel Polanco: The version you played has about I'd say 30% of the content that will be in the full game! There are still more characters with their own stories and way more gifts coming! The current version has 20 unique monsters, but the full game has a planned 36 monsters, plus almost every single one will have an alternate battle with certain gimmicks!
SAN: Is it too early to think of a next project or do you already something in the back of your head?
Angel Polanco: As I said this game actually started as a side project to another game. That game will be an action platformer where you control an eyeball with elemental powers! It was in development for 4 years before I realized that I needed a break. I have days where I just can't wait to get back to that game, but I'm 100% committed to finishing this one first! Especially since I actually have people waiting for updates now.
SAN: Have you ever considered the chance of making the game allow the player to choose a specific set of cards, one passive, one active and one extra to be selected in a New Game?
Angel Polanco: There's actually an upcoming random event where you talk to Scrambla or Boiler as anthropomorphic girl versions and you can give them up to 3 cards that you currently have. They will offer you the cards at the start of your next run, but you can also leave save them for later and thus create a specific "build" of any 3 cards. However, once you take them, you will have to do the process over again.
SAN: Do you think having the "nudity" factor nowadays is something useful developers can use, or in this case, you used to match the storyline?
Angel Polanco: In my game. The intent of the nudity is completely part of the story telling. It's a game about expressing emotion and showing love which can make a person (especially men in this society) feel completely vulnerable. Naked even! It's something I struggle with a lot and it was super hard to write this stuff back when I started, but I really felt like I needed to get this out there so I pushed through and ended up with this game. This is not a lewd game in any way and I know there are, and will always be jokes about it, but I hope my writing is good enough to get someone to reflect on how they express or repress emotions.
SAN: I've met different people who have different favorite boss's, mine is the Sentinel x4, what's your favorite boss? I'm just genuinely curious!
Angel Polanco: I always love when people tell me their least favorite. It says a lot about their play style! I know I shouldn't play favorites with my lovely monsters, but it's still Hadesoh for me! Hadesoh was the 9th monster I created out of 23 as of this moment! It's just such a frantic battle and the Glyph battle music is also my favorite song in the game. I wrote that song while developing Hadesoh just for that battle.
SAN: How do you feel as an indie developer, with the new steam policy of "learning" about the game before acepting Steam cards and achievements?
Angel Polanco: That policy will absolutely hurt very small indies like myself. Especially since they offer no hints about what that actually means. I was lucky to release this game before the achievement limit, so this game is allowed to have the hundreds that I'm planning. I always loved achievements ever since I got my first one back on the Xbox360. I always wanted my games to have tons of them! I was not fortunate enough to get in before the Steam card limit though. So my game is still not allowed to have cards, even though anyone can easily tell from the first minute of playing, my game is not just a "fake game" designed to exploit the Steam Cards and achievement systems. Unfortunately, unless my game goes viral (Veyeral :P), there is little chance that the limit will ever be removed.
SAN: I always ask this for devs, what are your all time favorite games? Not as an inspiration, but yours personally!
Angel Polanco: This question is always impossible for me to answer! I'm all over the place. I know I've played tons of Left 4 Dead, The Binding of Isaac, Dark Souls, and every Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I'll play every Kirby, Mario, Metroid, Pikmin, and Zelda. Playing Crash Bandicoot in 3rd grade was the moment I wanted to make games for my whole life! I can't even form a top 10 list because it changes every day and I get anxious that I'm forgetting one haha! I like to joke that my top 10 list has 100 games in it!
Sinical Anime Network would like to thank Angel Polanco for his time and availability, and for providing us with details and extra info about The Void Rains Upon Her Heart, and its upcoming updates.
We recommend our readers to visit the Steam Store Page for The Void Rains Upon Her Heart, and learn more about the game currently in Early Access, with promising updates available soon!
Don’t lose a single update;