Anate Studio is a one-man studio by Anatolii Koval, a single developer who created and published three games.
The Kite, his very first work and published for free on Itch, served as a premier of things to come.
After we reviewed both Octave and Little Kite, we had the opportunity to interview Anatolii Koval, and ask him a few questions regarding his work and future projects. Little Kite’s direct sequel is being developed at this current time, and we tried to get a sneak peak of that as well.
This is the interview conducted between 23th-25th of May and it’s a direct transcription of the conversation between myself representing Sinical Anime Network (SAN) and Anatolii Koval.
SAN: First of all, I want to thank you in the name of our community, for your availability. For starters, and based on Little Kite, I take you really have a passion for video-games, or at least a fantastic understanding how they work. Could you tell us some of your favorite games?
Anatolii: Yes, I really like games, especially with an interesting story and a peculiar atmosphere. That's why I prefer indie and adventure. Among the many good games I can mention Machinatium, Still Life, Gemini Rue, Primordia, many of Deadalic adventures. Also, I'm very amazed by Journey, Rain World, Limbo, Inside. But games that most impressed me is Max Payne and Heavy Rain.
SAN: What's the most challenging thing for you, as an independent video-game developer in this day and age? Is the creative part, or publishing?
Anatolii: Since I'm a single developer, it's hardest to find the time and opportunity to create a big project. For me, Little Kite is a huge game. I worked on it for 1 year. But in fact, it's just a two hours gameplay game. I will try to increase the volume of games in the future. Also, a great difficulty is literate dialogues. I plan to attract a professional writer for editing dialogues.
SAN: A few years ago, you started working on The Kite, however, some time later you made Little Kite, a remaster of The Kite. I personally find The Kite more intense, violent, and psychologically obscure due its surroundings. Little Kite has all of that, but still has a "clean" feeling. Did you feel you had to make things less dramatic in the remaster? Also, I noticed some changes in character names. Mary was Masha previously. Did you change them due regional purposes?
Anatolii: Yes. In the new version I wanted to save all the good ideas from the original, and add more characters and colors, and I didn't want to make it so depressive like the original game. About the name Mary, I think is more correct and yes, it's due regional purposes.
SAN: Octave is such a different game than what we're used to in terms of horror. It almost looks like a nightmare, based on its direct approach. What were your biggest influences to create the concept for Octave?
Anatolii: Octave was an experimental game. I wanted to connect to the mood of Silent Hill and Limbo. I like the concept when there are no dialogues in the game, and the story is presented through events and surroundings.
SAN: Still on Octave, I felt as everything had a meaning, but I couldn't get my head around the cat showing up in different parts of the game. Was there any symbolism behind it?
Anatolii: Yes, in Octave there are symbols. Even the name itself. Octave is eight. Octagram, eight candles, eight is infinity, the protagonist hitting in the damned forest, is doomed to wander there endlessly. And Cats have always been perceived as something connected with the otherworldly. They are like observers who see both our and other worlds.
SAN: The final scene in The Kite / Little Kite, where Mary paints the street light red with her own blood, that scene was fantastic, where did that idea come from? Was it spontaneous?
Anatolii: It was spontaneous. First, I invent many puzzles without limiting my fantasy. Then I correct them so they become logical and understandable. In the case with traffic light, I didn't correct it, I left as it was originally invented. I liked the symbolism of this scene.
(In this picture we can see Anatolii Koval working in Little Kite, with his hand-drawings and digital art being coded.)
SAN: We know you are working on Repentant, the sequel to Little Kite, what can you tell us related to technical details compared to Little Kite? Will there be more locations? Will the upcoming game be longer?
Anatolli: In fact, the game Repentant is a separate story, but slightly related to the Little Kite. The protagonist is now Oliver, suffering from remorse. At the moment I don't have the opportunity to make a long game, so unfortunately Repentant will not be long, most likely even shorter than the Little Kite. Mostly, the events will take place in a small shop where not very good things will happen with three characters - Cashier, Oliver and one strange girl.
SAN: Will there be any surrealistic surprises on Repentant? Maybe some horror elements? Or it's a complete psychological/emotional adventure?
Anatolli: Repentant is a dramatic-psychological adventure. It has no horror but it has abstract surreal location in the Oliver dream.
SAN: What platforms can we expect Repentant to be on besides PC? Will the mobile market get its own version?
Anatolli: At first everything is planned, as in the case of Little Kite, for a PC (win / mac). Then If I find the right programmer, the game will be ported to mobile devices.
SAN: To wrap up this interview, I was viewing your YouTube page, and I came across the Alpha Gameplay for Final Prayer. It looks like a post-apocalyptic alien-themed game. How wrong am I? Also, is it a working title? Can I still have my hopes up for this game being released in the future?
Anatolli: Yes, you are right, this is the sci-fi project of 2013. Final Prayer has a difficult destiny. The game is made at 50%, but it is already outdated by technical and visually. I need to re-do it all on the new engine. I'm not ready for this yet. On my YouTube page you can also find the alpha gameplay video of the game Ember. It will be my next game, but artstyle will be more serious and post-apocalyptic.
SAN: Thank you very much for the interview, it was an honour and a pleasure. Thank you.
Anatolli: Thank you for your attention to my games. It was a pleasure for me too.
Sinical Anime Network would like to thank Anatolii Koval for his time and availability, providing us with details and extra info on both his previous and upcoming works.