Thanks for joining us today in our team highlight series! Today we'll be chatting with Els White, our Narrative Designer, and Producer on the team!
This interview was conducted by Deana Galbraith, the Founder and Creative Director at Captilight.
Deana: Hello Els! Excited to chat, let's start out by telling our readers a bit about yourself.
Els: I'm an Aussie trans guy, currently living in London, UK. I do both narrative design and production work!
Deana: We're super excited to have you on the team! What inspires you to make games?
Els: In the beginning I wanted to be an author, but the creative writing university course seemed really boring, and they'd just started running a games design course, so I took that instead, and I fell in love with the creative possibilities. These days I'm really excited about creating all sorts of different experiences for players.
Deana: I really enjoy game design courses but I'm probably biased! Do you have a favorite game?
Els: I have a soft spot for murder mysteries since the Ace Attorney games were the first narrative games I played. I also love farming sims, and anything that lets me manage things ... I really am a producer to my core ...
Deana: Haha! Definitely see some similarities there. When working on Path of Kami where do you draw your inspiration from?
Els: Is it cliche to say "the times I went to Japan?" I've been four separate times now, haha. I was a bit of a weeaboo in my youth... I've outgrown that now, but I still think it's a beautiful country. And the food's really, really good. Wait, what were we talking about?
Deana: You got me thinking of food now *drools* I mean uhhh...How do you go about your thought process working on a new title?
Els: From the narrative design side, it's all about the research. I like to really dive in and immerse myself and find all sorts of cool links and facts we can include. For production, it's about breaking the game down into its most essential parts, figuring out the best order to do them in, and being super ruthless about scope. But you know that already, huh?
Deana: *sweats*...yes...yes I do, haha. We know how we met but could you tell the readers how you got involved with Captilight?
Els: It's kind of a funny story ... Because of the pandemic, work as a narrative designer was drying up ... But as I was talking to other indie devs, I realized there was a niche for freelance production work, helping keep other indies on track, and it's something I'm good at. So I think you saw my post in a Discord, right? And when I saw what game it was I just had to say yes!
Deana: Yes! Discord for the win <3 I was super excited you liked the game. What do you like about it?
Els: It definitely hits that nostalgia factor for me with the environments ... And it's really cool as a narrative designer, I've been chatting to our Japanese consultant on how to make the story more classically Japanese, which is a really cool learning experience.
Deana: For sure, I'm learning a lot as well! Where do you see games going in the next 10 years?
Els: I'd really like it if there was less of a focus on massive AAA games, and more short, high-quality experiences. A few open-world games is fine, but games are just getting too long! Oh, and more cool stylistic games over ultra-realistic. I like to think we're moving in that direction.
Deana: Agreed, I really enjoy smaller games I can enjoy in one or a couple of sittings. So what gets you up in the morning?
Els: My cat. Or my stomach. Or the doorbell. ... I do my best work after midday.
Deana: My dog is my alarm clock so I feel ya there, okay last question! What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in the games industry?
Els: Hm ... I reckon joining a community like Itch.io, joining some low-pressure game jams, making friends that way ... Really the most important thing is to make friends. People remember kindness, and they'll repay it. Improving your skills is important too, but you can be the best at what you do and if you're a jerk no-one will want to recommend you for jobs.
Deana: Great points and thank you so much for joining us. This concludes the interview, thank you everyone for tuning in <3 If you'd like to see more of Els's work, check out his twitter here!