Inspired by sci-fi classics such as 2001 A Space Odyssey and Moon comes Vigil, a game where players wake up in an massive building isolated from the outside world with IRIS, a computer program, as their only companion. The game comes from fairly new independent studio Recluse Industries, who officially opened their doors in November 2013, in Yorkshire, northern England. While officially less than two years old, Recluse Industries technically has some other games to its name.
“Recluse Industries is the moniker I used for my first two iOS games, released back in 2011,” explains studio creative director Martin Wheeler. “It probably reflects the fact that I was working solo at the time and didn’t get out much.”
Nowadays Recluse Industries has a slightly larger team at three core members. Wheeler is at the center as creative director and has over 20 years of experience in the games industry with previous games including Warlocked for GameBoy Color as well as the aforementioned iOS games “Go Robo” and “Surveillant”.
Raz Ainuddin acts as the main coder and software engineer for the studio. He has 14 years of experience in the industry having first started programming on Sony’s Net Yaroze, essentially a developer kit for the first PlayStation console. His previous work includes the Sentinel series for mobile, Constantine, and Die Hard Vendetta.
Billy Allison rounds out the trio as the main animator and artist, and also brings the most experience to the table with over 30 years of experience in the games and television industries. His previous work includes The Forgotten Toys , Curse of Enchantia, LeisureSuit Larry, and the Alien Breed trilogy among other projects.
“I knew Raz from Bits Studios, where I’d also worked back in the days of GameBoy,” says Martin. “Billy was recommended by a colleague at Sony and we met over a pint in York. We are both fans of Dan O’Bannon (Dark Star, Alien) and shared a love of 70s Sci Fi.”
“However, Recluse Industries is still basically myself. I hope to be in a position to expand the studio in the not too distant future, but for the moment it’s truly a micro operation.”
The studio has also had some part time collaborators join in the last year to help with Vigil, but for the most part it has kept Wheeler and his team plenty busy.
“Between family life and full time game dev, I don’t have much ‘downtime’ really,” states Wheeler. “I try to find some spare time to make music or play games when I can. I usually play shorter games, like Monument Valley, that I can complete in a few bursts.”
Having such a small team may make it more difficult to compete with AAA titles and even some other indie studios that feature larger supporting casts, but it does come with some benefits.
“The best thing about being part of a small team working on your own game is having more opportunities to express your own vision,” explains Martin. “On the negative side, it’s easy to spread yourself too thin when you have limited time and resources. You have to keep it real when you’re small and focus on achievable aims.”
Come back tomorrow for more on Recluse Industries’ Vigil.