GB: How did you get into making games?
LB: Honestly, I have been playing games since I was two years
old. I started with educational games on the Apple II, my parents
used to buy these Mac games with bears in them... The "Sticky Bear"
games, I think they were called? So I started on the Apple II. I
remember one of the very first times I played an adventure
specifically was after I was in the hospital with pneumonia... My
uncle gave me
by LucasArts, and that was the first adventure game I really played.
I just fell in love with the idea of being able to tell a story
through gaming. That really left an impression on me. I ended up
studying comic book design which is a very weird thing to study, I
suppose, but I studied it for the exact same reason -- I really
loved writing, telling stories, but I wanted to do it in a way which
combined story and visuals. That, joined together with my love of
gaming, made me realise I wanted to make a game. I loved the idea of
being able to make an interactive story, too... A story where you
could influence all the decisions, and so on...
an artist and also?
the writer and designer of the game. I do have a team who are with
me here at Gamescom, though, of course. I am the lead writer, but
let me tell you, there is a LOT of text in the game... For example,
be able to pick up newspapers and read them... Or school
textbooks... Or web sites created by the students in the game... My
team helps me with that. We all try to create a rich, meaningful and
coherent world together.
GB: What games do you like playing?
LB: Well, I am hugely into adventure games, as might be
expected. I love all the traditionals from LucasArts (for example
Loom, Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle) and Sierra
of course (Quest for Glory, Space Quest, Police Quest). Recently Ive
found I actually really love some of the modern, big-name
role-playing games... Mass Effect, for instance, is a pretty obvious
one, or stuff like Dragon Age: Origins. Anything where you get to
play as a player-created character in a previously defined world
with a pre-existing plot. The plot of a game is important to me. I
don't find myself too interested in platformers, or puzzle-based
games, or stuff like that. I like the story, I love characters, I
love seeing them grow throughout their journey. I think everyone
wants to play a hero. Everybody wants to play a game so they can be
the big hero and save the prince or princess.
GB: There are games with anti-heroes.
LB: I love those. That is actually what Im
trying to write. None of my characters are good guys. They all have
their flaws, theyre
a bit weird in different ways. Kayleigh, for instance, the main
character of St. Chris's first episode -- she is a bit of a
pathological liar, and shes
the star of the game. She also suffers from bipolar disorder --
which, by the way, is not a negative trait, but rather, I feel it
makes her more relatable. Were
exploring bipolar disorder in a very honest way; Ive
known several people who have been diagnosed with it, and am using
their own experiences as a guide... In any case, I definitely dont
think heroes need to be perfect, I love anti-heroes.
GB: Do films and books influence you?
LB: I adore films and literature. For instance,
of the Flies
is really a huge influence on this game for me thematically. I love
the idea that human nature in itself is slightly corrupt. I like the
idea that people have this nastiness in them. I'm enjoying exploring
how the politics between different kinds of people in different
kinds of intense situations play out. So the politics of the people
stuck in this tightly confined, locked-down school (which is my
game) for twenty days, running out of food, the electricity going
off... Just examining how people would interact with each other, and
how stress would grow, what kind of conflicts would arise, and so
GB: Your game made me think of Lindsay Andersons
heard the reference, I havent
seen it, but I would love to! Someone messaged me about it telling
me to check it out, I hear brilliant things about it.
full-time on your game?
LB: Yes, and I do arts as much as I can on the side. I do
freelance artwork, graphic design, commissions, illustrations when I
can. Aside from that, yes, Im
spending all my time making this game.
GB: Do you ever wish for a 9 to 5 job?
LB: NO! ...Although I wish for the money from a 9 to 5 job!
GB: Where do you do your work on the game?
LB: At the moment Ive
just relocated from Chile to Scotland. Its
a bit up in the air at the moment, mainly in my office at home. If I
work in my bedroom, I get too distracted, I start surfing the
Internet, looking at Facebook... I feel when Im
in my office environment its
GB: How do you plan your game development?
the kind of person who just really likes to take a lot of notes, and
sit around with my notes. Im
very disorganised, I have a million text files on my computer. Yeah,
not somebody who has a lot of charts and graphs and fancy things, its
all very loose and rather disorganised, But it works. Eventually I
manage to structure it in my head, and tell my team what they need
GB: Who are you making this game for?
LB: A big part of it is because I need to express myself. This
game really shares plenty of my personal views of the world, my
visions, and my weird style. I feel that by sharing my art and
writing with people, its
like sharing my own self and brain with other people.
GB: What excites you about the
LB: I just love the theme of it. I first had the idea when I
was living in Chile back in 2006, so, ages ago. In Chile, the school
protests were actually happening there at first, before they began
actually happening in the UK itself. My cousin was involved in one,
he was locked in with a bunch of other students for four days. It
was crazy; the police came, sprayed tear-gas everywhere. It was
insane, but at the same time, the way he told the story to me
sounded like so much fun, so exciting, like big weird revolutionary
sleepover thing. As soon as he told me that, it just sparked all
these ideas in my head. I just think its
an idea that has so much potential.
just working on this game at the moment?
LB: I am just focused on this game, yes. I cant
spread myself too thin because St. Chris already takes a lot of my
GB: What are the important features of the game?
LB: The music is beautiful, we have a composer who blows me
away with everything he shows me, but the story is the base on which
all built. I hear a lot of people saying the art is very unique and
stands out. As an artist, that is important to me, but story comes
before anything else.
GB: How do the puzzles and story relate to each other?
trying to make the puzzles organic, so that it doesnt
feel like a 'find the key puzzle' has been inserted just to make the
gameplay longer. Were
trying to design them so that they make sense, so they dont
seem just thrown in there. Were
working the best we can, its
always hard when making an adventure game to make them completely
natural, especially when youre
combining one inventory item with another, but were
doing the best we can.
GB: How important is support from the fans?
LB: Completely important. Sometimes I wake up and I see a nice
comment on Kickstarter, or a message from someone on Facebook, and
it just absolutely inspires me to get to work! Its
GB: Is now a good or bad time to be making games?
perhaps not the best time for adventure games. There have been far
better times, but I think they are starting to come back now - I
starting to be a better time for indie games, though. I really am
not one who can judge the state of the industry myself, I only have
my own observations about it. It's hard to make a definitive claim
one way or another-- things are always changing.
GB: Would you recommend making games as a career?
LB: Absolutely! I recommend being creative in any way you are
able. If you can write, write, if you can draw, draw, if you want
to make games, make games.
GB: Can games say things?
LB: They can have a strong political message, a message about
human emotions, about human dynamics. They are no less able to say
things than a book or a film or a piece of music. People say games
are not a viable art form and thats
not true at all.
GB: So games can be art? One definition of art is what an
artist calls art.
LB: It really does depend on the view. There are some very
narrow views-- I actually took a course in university
it was the philosophy of art, and the conclusion I came to is that
art depends on the viewer. Its
all about who is observing the art, and their own individual
relationship with a piece.
GB: Will you be making games in ten years time?
LB: I would love to be! I
hope to be, I hope Im
then! Joking -- well, slightly.
GB: Did you realise what you were getting into by making a
LB: No! But Im
glad I did.
GB: But youve
made lots of contacts by making this game?
LB: So many. Ive
met some of the most incredible people I never thought I would meet.
For example Charles Cecil from Broken Sword, I met Al Lowe last