Indie Dev Interview: Chewa, The Matriarch
The Matriarch is an intriguing game in which you have to emulate the behaviour of a bot, to avoid identification and severe punishment from the tyrannical matriarch, or take the role of the matriarch and dish out the punishment before the other players escape.
We caught up with Adrien, the solo dev behind the project, to get the latest on this progressive and original party-play title. The game landed on the 26th of September and is out now on Steam.
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Adrien, I originally come from France, but I moved to Berlin where I’ve been working as a game designer for the past 5 years. Aside from my full-time job, I like to develop passion projects, The Matriarch being the latest one.
And could you introduce your studio?
I don’t actually have a studio! The Matriarch is a passion project I’ve been developing on my own in the past year. That doesn’t mean I don’t have any external help though.
My partner is managing the community on Discord, and a lot of friends have been helping me test the game and provided a ton of valuable feedback. Through my job, I’ve also met a lot of talented people.
The visual of the Matriarch character was very much copied on the concept art an artist & friend of mine came up with when I pitched the game to him, he said he was inspired by his tyrannic maths teacher from school.
Finally, the music was composed by Robert Austin, a very talented composer I already worked with on my previous games.
Can you tell us about your game?
Midway between The Escapists and Among Us, The Matriarch is an online party game where players emulate BOTs’ behaviour to hide from an evil Matriarch (also controlled by a player) who has to identify and sacrifice the player characters.
On top of hiding from The Matriarch, players have to collaborate with each other to find and unlock the exit. The Matriarch wins if the sacrifices all the player-controlled characters before one of them escapes.
The game was developed on UE4 for about 14 months. I wasn’t familiar with 2d graphics or multiplayer programming, so I initially wanted to create this game to develop these skills, but it developed into something much bigger over time.
How did you come up with such a concept?
I was watching the movie ‘Colonia’ where 2 protagonists are trapped in a cult and have to pretend during the day while formulating their escape during the night, that was the spark.
I’ve always been a huge fan of social guessing games like ‘The Werewolves of Millers Hollow’ or ‘Among Us’, so I thought something was interesting in combining the cult theme with hide & seek and social guessing gameplays.
The concept is very original, was that important to you?
Absolutely, originality is the number one pillar I want to stick to when thinking of new concepts.
Were you ever worried about offending anyone?
A little bit, but so far I’ve received very few comments from offended people. I hope they will understand the game is purely humoristic and there are no intentions to harm anyone’s beliefs.
I’ve received some comments from people who consider themselves Satanic and were unhappy about how Satanism was depicted in the game, I have to say I found that amusing.
For the anecdote, I initially wanted to theme to be Christianity (again, in a humoristic way) since this was also the case in ‘Colonia’.
While pitching the game to my mom – a catholic believer -, she didn’t argue against it directly but I could see the disappointment in her eyes. That’s when I decided for Satanism instead.
Can you tell us about some of your creative decisions in development?
As a game designer, my process always consists of identifying a specific emotion I want my game to convey, to then enhancing this emotion through any mechanics, visuals, or sounds.
‘Paranoia’ is the emotion I want The Matriarch to convey. Throughout the whole development, whenever I face a creative problem, I always come back to it and think ‘what solution can help enhance this emotion?’.
For example, I wondered what dead players could do instead of just waiting for the next round. Amongst different ideas, I thought turning into a ghost and being able to mess with Matriarch by spooking her would be a fun way to bring a bit more Paranoia into the game.
When is it out and how can people stay updated?
The game is out now! You can follow me on Twitter @matriarchgame or join the discord
Thanks for reading our Indie Dev Interview: Chewa, The Matriarch, for more interesting articles on the indie games industry, check out the links below.