As a small indie game developer that was founded in 2016, Chibig has carved out a reputation for making cozy and cute games that straddle a variety of genres. And with its latest effort, Koa And The Five Pirates of Mara, the Spanish studio has released what some believe is “a polished and playable 3d adventure platformer, suitably challenging for younger players“.

I spoke to Irina Moreno about the game, and also got to find out a little bit more about her role as Social Media Manager for the studio. Enjoy!

Irina, how long was Koa in development for?

Almost two years.

Two years… We don’t get a lot of games out there in the market that are like Mario 64. I know that we had Mario Odyssey as one of the big name titles a few years ago, but we still don’t get a lot of games in the genre. What is it about these type of games that appeal to Chibig and yourself, and what is about them that made you want to spend two years on the title? Because that’s a commitment…

Yeah, it is totally is. It’s a funny story, because we also made another game before Koa, Summer in Mara, and it’s not at all related to 3D platformers. And we had an opportunity to work with another Spanish indie development team, where we worked with Talpa Games and their coders, who are knowledgeable in platformers, and who are very inspired by the Super Mario games. So we decided to mix the Summer in Mara background, story, and characters with their experience of the platforming genre, and that’s how Koa got started.

How did you come to be associated with Chibig as their Social Media Manager?

Well, I’ve been working with them since March 2022. I was following them before I started working with them, because I was super into their cozy games with a cute aesthetic and a relaxing experience. And the opportunity arose, and I thought, “hey, I’m here, please give me an opportunity”. And here we are. I am very happy to be working with them, and I hope that this is something that carries on for a long time. I’m really happy because I get to do stuff like marketing, and also managing the relationships between the studio and the gaming community, the press, and the content creators. I also get to closely work with the development of games and in the genres which I love the most.

One of the problems with 3D platformers is that you can never get the camera angle right. At the same time, movement’s also a big factor. How did the development team get around these obstacles?

It was a tough because with indie game developers, you have limitations, and you have to make decisions. One of them was the camera, and we made it fixed, but we were aware that that this could be something that people wouldn’t like. So we took the decision to make the camera more like a mix, where it’s a fixed camera, but it also follows the movement of the character. So it’s kind of more dynamic, so that’s how we did it.

How many people worked on the game?

In total, six people from across all the teams. Because Talpa Games and Undercoders are like four people, and we at Chibi were like two people at the beginning, and three people towards the time of release.

From your perspective, what do you think drives Chibi as a game studio? What is your studio’s mission statement, and what is it that you want to achieve as a studio going forward?

We aim to create a universe where the videogames are all connected, but at the same time, all of them can be played by themselves. You don’t have to play all the games in order to know as to what is happening in the universe. So we’re creating a universe that’s full of cute, chill experiences for players. We’ve also started to expand the IPs into merchandise, like figurines and tarot cards. This is something that our community has asked for a lot.

How long have you worked in the games industry for?

Four years.

What are the biggest lessons that you’ve learned in your four years in the games industry?

I will say that I’m very grateful. I was also in publishing, but not always in indie game studios. I was also managing events in Spain, so I’m very grateful for that experience because I was able to develop my skills in very different areas, and that was very helpful for any future work which followed.

So try to research a lot, because maybe you’ll find some experiences that aren’t so good in different workplaces. And also try to make new things all the time. I’m always trying to learn new skills, not only in marketing, but also in the development process. Because when you’re working with people, you have to help them with many different things. So you need to be prepared for that, and the more prepared you are the better. My goal is to learn as much as I can.

Any last words?

Stay hydrated, sleep, and try to know your limits. Always think outside the box and and try new things.

Thank you so much.

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