For independent developers, cultivating a relationship with a publisher can make all the difference in realizing a creative vision – bringing resources, support, and cash flow to studios that would otherwise struggle to obtain these luxuries. If there are developers who understand such a relationship, it is Hike to Yomi Flying Wild Hog developers.
The studio behind shadow warrior has a long history with self-proclaimed indie game publisher Devolver Digital, so when work began on its new samurai epic, the basis for cooperation was already solid. Game Rant sat down with Flying Wild Hog to discuss how Hike to YomiThe cinematic experience of has been enhanced with the support of an editor like Devolver.
Trek to Yomi developers worked with Devolver from the start
Flying Wild Hog knew what it was getting into when working with Devolver Digital, he said, because the studio and publisher are not new partners. The developers had worked with the publisher as far back as 2013 on the reboot’s first entry shadow warrior series.
In March 2020, the studio was working with Devolver on the company’s summer showcase event, held digitally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the game’s creative director, Marcin Kryszpin, around the same time, Flying Wild Hog “received information and a presentation” on Hike to Yomi from indie developer Leonard Menchiari. “We started discussions with Devolver about the game at that time because, from our perspective, this project presented a very nice and unique new idea for a game.”
Flying Wild Hog was particularly interested in Yomi as the concept of the game brought something new to the samurai genre by emphasizing a cinematic atmosphere over action-packed gameplay. Eventually, during development, “all parties realized that Hike to Yomi had a lot of potential as a small indie title,” Kryzspin said. At this point, Flying Wild Hog and Devolver decided to expand production with the intention of committing more time and resources to the project to help it reach its full potential.
Throughout the development process, Devolver provided a host of resources that enhanced at Yomi’s final product, the studio said. The production team worked closely with the publisher’s chief operating officer, Mark Lloyd, a gaming industry veteran with experience working at Rockstar Games on the Grand Theft Auto series. Lloyd helped the team, providing unique industry insight during the development process that had a positive impact on the studio.
“His knowledge and experience was exceptional, and he shared it all with us.”
Working with Devolver on Trek to Yomi was a positive experience
Overall, Flying Wild Hog gave their work with Devolver a glowing review. The studio attributed part of the success of its collaboration to the similarities between the companies. “They do a lot of experimentation,” the developers said, “and they have a very unique development style.”
Devolver’s more laid-back approach to games fit well with Flying Wild Hog. “From that point of view, cooperating with Devolver was a very good idea,” Kryzspin said. Devolver and Flying Wild Hog are also around the same age, which also worked to their advantage. Both companies were established around 2009, and with just over a decade of experience in the games industry, they shared similar outlooks.
According to the developers, the congruence between the studio and the developer has yielded positive results for Yomi. By the end of the development process, Flying Wild Hog’s cooperation with Devolver had allowed the game to grow significantly. Among other improvements, the studio was able to triple the number of cutscenes in the game and add elements to its combat system, Kryzspin said.
“Working with Devolver, we had a great opportunity for growth both in terms of people and in terms of the quality of our work.”
Hike to Yomi is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
AFTER: Trek to Yomi Brings Something Unique to the Samurai Genre, Says Dev