July 2, 2020

Lord Winklebottom

Lord Winkle Bottom Investigates – Developer Interview

Lord Winklebottom Investigates is the brainchild of Charlotte Sutherland, the sole developer and founder of Cave Monsters. We were very lucky to have Charlotte answer some of our questions about Lord Winklebottom Investigates and her experiences as a game developer.
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Yesterday we had our reviewer Richard Winstone give us his thoughts on the demo for Lord Winklebottom Investigates. A brand new point and click adventure from Cave Monsters that is now live on Kickstarter and needs your backing!

Lord Winklebottom Investigates is the brainchild of Charlotte Sutherland, the sole developer and founder of Cave Monsters. We were very lucky to have Charlotte answer some of our questions about Lord Winklebottom Investigates and her experiences as a game developer.

You have just launched the Kickstarter campaign for Lord Winklebottom Investigates. A humorous point and click detective game. Can you tell us what gamers can expect from the game?

It’s a 2D point and click adventure, along the lines of the classic Lucas Arts games. You take on the role of Lord Winklebottom, the giraffe detective, and have to solve puzzles and interview suspects in order to track down the perpetrator of a grisly murder. The game is set in a version of the 1920s, where all the characters are animals.

From the trailer Lord Winklebottom Investigates has a definite Monkey Island/Lucas Arts feel to it was that intentional?

If you get that vibe from it then I find it a massive compliment! I loved playing Lucas Arts adventures while growing up (and still do!) so they’ve been a major influence for me while creating the game. I’m hoping to try and capture some of that classic adventure game feel and incorporate it into my own story.

There is a lot of your personal tastes and hobbies such as your love of animals and 19th-century detective stories, How difficult was it to bring them together with a giraffe in the lead?

I found it oddly easy. I go to the zoo quite frequently and always thought giraffes have this amazing  “snooty” quality about them, looking down on everyone, and my initial painting of Lord Winklebottom (before the game idea came to me) was a rather stuck up looking giraffe wearing a top hat, monocle and smoking a pipe. I started painting a series of these “fancy” animals and then the story kind of just fell into place and felt like it was a good match.

You have an impressive games resume as an animator including titles such as Little Big Planet 3 and the Lego games what inspired you to set up your own solo development studio in  Cave Monsters?

It probably goes without saying, but you get a lot more creative freedom when working on your own projects, which is the main thing that attracted me to giving indie development a try. I don’t think that, if I’d stayed working for a large studio, I’d have had much of a chance to make a detective game about a talking giraffe.

You describe Lord Winkle bottom investigates on the Kickstarter page as a “your huge first solo project” is that taking credit away from the games official animal consultant considering all the cast are anthropomorphised animals?

Well Coco (the Chihuahua) mostly just lords it around the place, occasionally barking advice and demanding to be let out into the garden while I’m the one actually doing the work. She’s honestly very poor at giving useful advice, and rarely even talks.

Lord Winklebottom Investigates

In all seriousness though, what were the biggest challenges you faced as a solo developer in bringing your vision to life?

The main downside is working on your own during the day, so you don’t have anybody to bounce ideas off. You also have to deal with business stuff and marketing and social media, which isn’t something I’d ever had to think about before. It can all cut into the time you can dedicate to actual development, if you don’t manage your time well.  

How big of a difference is there between solo development and AAA development?

Well, there’s nobody else to order in pizza if you work overtime – that’s a bit of a shame. But a lot of the actual work is the same – it’s just more varied when you’re doing it on your own. AAA development uses a lot of specialists – an animator probably won’t draw UI or even model 3D characters – but if it’s just you, you have to do the lot.

Now you are about to launch your first solo game would you ever go back to AAA development?

Never say never, but in all honesty I feel like I wouldn’t find it very enjoyable to go back to the creativity restraints that you experience while working in AAA. Though ask me again once Lord Winklebottom is finished, and I might have a different answer.

The Kickstarter for Lord Winkle Bottom Investigates is live now. What made you decide Kickstarter as the platform for funding? and how scary was it to make the campaign live?

I’ve exhibited the game at a few shows (such as Adventure X and Insomnia) and the reaction from the public has been great. It gave the the confidence to think that this weird adventure game world might have an audience that would enjoy it as much as I do. Launching the Kickstarter was, and is, scary but now I’m just trying to get the word out to as many people as possible.

Finally, This is your chance to deliver a personal message to our audience. What would you like to say to the readers of Stoffel Presents?

Thanks for reading and, if you’re a fan of point and click adventures, murder mystery games or fancy talking animals, please check out the game! 

If you would like to play the demo for Lord Winklebottom Investigates you can do so by following the link below:
https://cavemonsters.itch.io/lord-winklebottom-investigates-demo

And of course, if you enjoyed this interview, played the demo or are just the slightest bit intrigued then head over to the Kickstarter page and help bring this wonderful game to life!