Interview with Kevin Wu from United States

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Kevin Wu

Amidst the COVID pandemic, Kevin Wu, the brain behind Little Bear Studios and a product manager, decided to try out new hobbies. He took a shot at making a retro RPG game that took him back to his youth. This not only helped him turn past obstacles into a curious mindset but also lit a fire within him for continuing to create games.

Interview With The 2023 NYX Game Awards Winner –
Kevin Wu

1Please provide us with a brief bio of yourself and your background.

I'm the founder of Little Bear Studios and product manager who during COVID decided to pick up some new hobbies. I learned to cut my hair, baked pizza and decided to make a video game. I didn't have any experience and I have tried coding in the past but could never really get into it.

When I made the decision to create a retro RPG inspired by the ones I enjoyed in my youth, all the previous obstacles transformed into sources of creative curiosity. I've discovered a deep passion, and I look forward to continuing my journey in game development!

2What led you to become a Game Developer / Marketer?
Just got lucky! I took up a Udemy course and watched so many YouTube videos! After getting a taste of development, my desire to pursue it has grown stronger. Ultimately, I aspire to turn this passion into a full-time career. It’s really great finding something you're truly inspired by.
3What is your role in the company, and what traits should a game developer / marketing professional possess to be successful in their role?
I'm going solo! Aside from a little bit of music and art from some talented folks I met along the way, I've done everything myself. I don't know if I'm a great person to answer this but I'll say that you shouldn't be afraid to put yourself out there and you shouldn't be afraid to fail.
4Tell us more about your studio / company.
It's named after a character my brother and I played with as children, it's a call back to our time spent playing retro games. I hope to continue making games and to learn something new with each one.
5What is your own definition of a great game?

Pick 2 of any of the following options :

-An amazing story.

-A great mechanic/game loop.

-Moments of ecstatic triumph.

If you have 2 out of 3, you have a great game on your hands!

6Describe the genres of the game(s) your studio / company specializes in, as well as its main characteristics.
I haven't really decided on a specialty but I plan to make a variety of genres, the next ones being arcade shooters and puzzle games and the later ones being horror and multiplayer. I just hope to keep making games, learn something new each time, and have someone out there enjoy it.
7Tell us more about your ideation process.
I need a mechanic and a name. Probably a bit unorthodox but I need to know what the main mechanic or loop will be, and then I need a name. The name will frame everything from music, art, story, style, etc.
8Congratulations! As the winner of the NYX Game Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
I'm so excited and in shock! I'm just happy to be in the same list as some of these other amazing games. I see these beautiful games, many of which I recognize, and then there's my little pixel art RPG on the same page. I think it's so incredible and I’m genuinely happy to be here!
9How has winning an international award help promote your company and game?
I’m excited to find out!
10What are the challenges of developing / marketing your winning entry(ies)?
It always feels like you should have started yesterday and you are just hoping for the best. There will be times when something really doesn't resonate and then times when it hits the nail on the head. I learnt that I just need to stay true to the vision, put myself out there, and wish for the best.
11How has the country, you are based in, helped during your ideation process?
My ideation is heavily inspired from my youth, specifically playing games with friends and family. Naturally our style and the games we liked were heavily influenced by what you talked about with peers or games you borrowed from each other. Those things have influenced me today, so if you were a 80s/90s kid living in America, then thank you!
12What are the current trends in the game industry that you are most excited about?
I really like that people are getting inspired by retro games and making modern homages to them. I hope we keep doing this! Games back then had different business models and thus were just made differently. It's nice to see them still inspiring people today!
13What are the top THREE (3) favorite things about the gaming industry?

I love the innovation and pace of organized chaos.

I love how creative it is and how it's such a good outlet.

I love games and enjoy playing them.

14What resources would you recommend to someone who is searching to improve their game designs and development ideas / skills?

Play games, especially ones you haven't played before.

Watch videos, commentary, interviews, other opinions are always great.

Take a trip, some of my best inspiration was from going somewhere new and clearing my head.

15Where do you see the evolution of the gaming industry in the next 5-10 years?
VR/AR and more procedural generation to the point that characters and dialogue are different every time.
16Who inspired you in your life, and why?
Nintendo and my wife. Nintendo because I'm inspired by how simple and great gameplay can make such amazing games. My wife because she inspired me to follow my passion.
17What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
I don't know if I'm successful but I'll just say you want to be like Dory in Finding Nemo - just keep swimming. Look, if I can do it anyone can!
18Do you have anything else, which we haven’t covered, that you would like to include in this interview?
I'm just so happy to be a part of this and thanks so much for hosting and supporting games both big and small!

Winning Entry

Magic and the Machines | 2023

Magic and Machines | Little Bear Studios
A retro fantasy RPG for PC and Mobile with turn-based battles, overworld puzzles, and six unique characters. Journey …
(Read more at NYX Game Awards)

Kevin Wu

Little Bear Studios

Amidst the COVID pandemic, Kevin Wu, the brain behind Little Bear Studios and a product manager, decided to try out new hobbies. He took a shot at making a retro RPG game that took him back to his youth. This not only helped him turn past obstacles into a curious mindset but also lit a fire within him for continuing to create games.

Read more about this interview with Vincent Blanchard from Canada, the Gold Winner of the 2023 NYX Game Awards.