The Kids We Were – Our interview with developer GAGEX
The Kids We Were will release on PC this week, so we talked to developer GAGEX about their inspirations for the game.
The Kids We Were is a cinematic narrative adventure game set in late Showa-era Japan (the 1980s, to be exact). You play as a young boy named Minato, who arrives in the town of Kagami and finds a mysterious notebook that will serve as his guide to finding his missing father.
The Kids We Were originally launched on smartphones in February 2020, where it was selected as one of the top three titles of the Google Play Indie Games Festival 2020 and won the Special Award. That year, it was also chosen for the Best Indies category of Google Play’s Best Games round-up.
The game then wound its way to Nintendo Switch in December 2021, and is now ready to make a splash on PC with a Steam release this week.
We talked to development studio GAGEX, represented by Shigeru Funazaki.
Why set the game in the 1980s and not any other time period?
The 1980s was my [producer and scenario writer Imura’s] childhood. I wanted to express my childhood memories and various experiences in a game format. Our other works include “Hungry Hearts” which is based on a 1980s diner, and “Showa Candy Shop,” which is set in a candy store.
What inspired the blocky, toy-like art design?
I was inspired by Lego bricks and the Voxel art created by Magica Voxel. With “The Kids We Were”, we wanted to follow the grammar of retro games, but also create a new and unique expression of our own.
Were you inspired by other media, such as movies, games, or books?
The Kids We Were” was inspired by many of the “Doraemon” movies, Miyabe Miyuki’s “Brave Story”, “Back to the Future”, etc.
What were the main challenges in developing and releasing The Kids We Were?
The smartphone version of the game took two years and three months to develop, far longer than we had originally planned. Also, the Nintendo Switch/Steam version was our first development for a home console, so it took time to comply with the regulations and procedures.
What is next for GAGEX?
We will continue to focus on developing new games in 2022 under the concept of “keeping it interesting for the next 100 years. We hope that the people who play our games will feel as happy as possible.