Rejected introductions to this interview…
Don’t be a square and read this interview about The Box Squad.
The Box Squad is fun cubed.
The Box Squad has an out of the box approach to Game Development.
Speaking of introductions, though…
“ I was thinking of an awesome introduction to impress you so I could land the interview.” That’s exactly what Stefan James messaged back when I asked if he’d be interested in answering some questions for us. We had already been following him on twitter @The_BoxSquad and liked what he was doing so we reached out to him. Turns out he was doing the same thing with us!
How had he already impressed us? His passion and drive. Stefan isn’t just creating a game. He’s developing a marketable brand. From comics to character tees, The Box Squad is rolling out in full force.
“Boxville, a quaint town inhabited by happy box people is under attack from Dragox the creation of the evil scientist Shadox. Your mission is to defeat the monster and save your town.”
The Box Squad is a fun colorful game that reminds me of a Saturday morning cartoon. What was your inspiration for creating this cubed world?
Exactly that! To be more specific, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I love the different personalities that each character brings and how it impacts the story. I especially enjoy how relatable they are and that you can pair your friends to a certain character (I was Mikey but secretly wanted to be the badass Raph). I want to achieve this with The Box Squad and have its players fall in love with not only the game but also the characters (Yella, Bloo, & O.B) and follow their story through future games, comics, cartoons and merchandise (I like to dream big).
The monster Dragox is the creation of a mad scientist. If you had your own secret laboratory what kind of crazy experiments would you perform?
I think I would actually create Dragox! Then I can hold towns at ransom and make them play The Box Squad… MMMWHAHAHA!!!
Dragox uses a series of attacks to tear Boxville to shreds, can you tell us about them?
Sure can! So, Dragox will hurl different attacks at the player which they will have to dodge in order to survive and not lose any hearts. So far, Dragox has the following attack concepts:
- Foot Stomp; Dragox jumps in the air so the player is unable to see him and a shadow will indicate where his foot stomp will land. So, it’s up to the player to flip out of the way.
- Earthquake; Dragox stamps on the ground making a crack appear below the player and they have a split second to jump out of the way or they will get butt hurt from a huge spiked rock.
- Needle Throw; Dragox whips his tail towards the player sending out 2 spikes in a random formation and it is up to the player to place themselves in the gap to avoid taking damage.
- Fireballs; Dragox spits out 3 fireballs straight into the air, these then rain down one by one on where the player is standing.
- Dragon Beam; This is Dragox’s special! He charges the beam from his mouth and unleashes this HUGE blue beam which will then sweep across the screen towards the player.
I have other attacks in the pipeline and I am always thinking of different ways box monsters could attack. I want to incorporate some car throwing, stun roars, a shockwave and many more.
There are several cubed defenders in the game. Does the player select an individual one each time they play or can they alternate within gameplay between characters?
Originally, I will have it so you select an individual character, that way you get to know their personality and play style a bit more intimately. But, if there is enough demand, then I would totally be open to switch between characters during gameplay or switch out if one loses all of its hearts etc…
What defenses does each character possess against Dragox’s attacks?
Yella, Bloo & O.B each have a different weapon to take down Dragox with. Yella (the leader) has a laser minigun that shoots out rounds at a fast pace but with weaker damage. Bloo (tactical genius) has her commando knife that slashes out sonic boom styled discs at a slower pace but with more damage. O.B (the rookie) has his dual wielding laser pistols that alternately shoots out lasers at a moderate pace with average damage. All weapons will work in the same way, in that the weapon will cease fire whilst moving (side flipping or sliding) but if you slide long enough, it will charge the characters special move which unleashes once coming to a stop. This will all be based around a one touch system so it can be enjoyed even on the toilet 😉
If you were a superhero defending the world against monsters, which superpower would you want?
I am not sure I would want a superpower and would most probably take the batman approach. So, my superpower would be that I am rich… So people, please spend money on The Box Squad to make this happen…
Who comprises your squad of developers working on this game? Are any of the characters in the game reflections of the real life squad?
Unfortunately, I do not have a set team to be working on this full time. I have worked with individuals to help me along the way and allow me to start my dream but I am still looking to find the best of the best, who are interested in growing the brand rather than the salary. So hey, if there are any devs out there who want to be a part of something big, then let’s talk equity!… Seriously though, get in contact 😉
How long have you been working on The Box Squad?
I had the idea for The Box Squad quite a while ago and started it back in August 2017. However, I was working 9-5 at the same time so game progression was slower than a snail trudging through peanut butter.
What kind of challenges have you come across while bringing The Box Squad to the mobile universe? How have you overcome them?
Just like any game, the challenge is to get it in front of the right pair of eyes, its constant marketing with every little bit of progression. But, my biggest challenge is going to be branding The Box Squad as I don’t want to be a company that just chucks out different games, I want to create a journey for the player with various media, which is why I am adding comics, cartoons and merchandise. Think of it like this, when watching a TV series, you get super excited and cannot wait for the next week’s episode. That is what I want to create with The Box Squad, that anticipation of what will be next week, the week after that, in a month’s time… A YEAR! I want people to be just as excited as I am with it and I welcome collaborating with the players on what they want to see next.
What influenced your decision to release The Box Squad as a mobile app?
It’s a great starting point, apps go hand in hand with social media and the online community that it allows pretty much anyone to achieve making an app. I have worked in the games industry on both the console and mobile platform, so I have seen the effort it requires to make a game with each of these platforms and I knew that a mobile game is much much more achievable than a console game would be for me right now. Who knows, maybe in the future I will venture to PC and then onto console, I just hope my hair doesn’t fall out in the process.
When can we expect the full game to released?
I want it to be this year, I feel that it is possible to make it happen if all goes well. But then again, this is the games industry and we all know how that is with dates…
Box N Seek the predecessor to The Box Squad is a free download. Will The Box Squad also be available for free?
Ah! That makes me feel so happy that you would go and find a little out about BoxNSeek! So, BoxNSeek was SNT Gaming’s first game and was a great learning experience. If you check it out, you will see early character concepts which paved the way for what The Box Squad is now. I didn’t want to lose that so I brought over Shadox and gave each box character a personality. So yes, BoxNSeek is free with IAP’s and the plan is to make The Box Squad free as well. However, I don’t want to limit the player’s gameplay too much and aim to have initial release with all 3 characters and Dragox. After that, additional monster packs will be available for purchase and so on.
You are releasing origin comics which give us a peek into the concept of The Box Squad. Do you have any plans to develop a full comic book series revolving around your vivid characters?
Absolutely! The origin comics are a fun way to introduce upcoming monsters and/or characters. I want the Box-Ville community (the players) to feel involved with the story as much as possible and have more than just the game. I can’t wait to see people viewing origin comics and think to themselves, “Right! I am gonna take you down…” and then turn to the game to defeat the new monsters.
Will you be introducing Box Squad on any other platforms?
Oh boy, yeah! We need a web series of The Box Squad and then onto toys. I always envision a PVC Dragox with his very own collapsible building, accompanied by Yella, Bloo & O.B, the Mayor of Box-Ville can come too…
Is Box Squad and Mobile Game Development your sole occupation right now or do you have a “day job” as well?
I am 100% committed to The Box Squad and I think you need to be. I tried doing it alongside a full-time job and it just didn’t happen. I ended up losing motivation as I had to deal with commuting and I lost so much time just being in the office working on other people’s projects. I won’t lie, I struggle daily and you will need heap tons of determination to make it happen but I couldn’t be happier!
How did you get your start in Game Development?
Honestly, I created the opportunity myself. I couldn’t stand working on something I wasn’t passionate about and it confused me to think that I had to spend my life doing something that wasn’t self-satisfying. So, I quit my job after saving a bit, formed a games company, researched dev companies to make my idea and hired them, that is when BoxNSeek was created!
What advice would you give people who are interested in developing their own mobile games?
You can do it! As long as you are sensible about it and take the time to research and continuously learn the business side of running a company, then it’s completely doable. If you are unable to code or draw or animate or show what you are trying to achieve, do not give up! There are plenty of other ways to go about getting it done, bring out your entrepreneurial spirit and work at the problem rather than ignoring it. Never let yourself or anyone else say that you cannot do it.
Have you ever thought about giving up during this journey to bring Box Squad to life? What is it that keeps you moving forward?
No way! I love doing it. A great turning point for me is when Matthew McConaughey won best actor in 2014. His talk about his hero, who he chases… Himself in 10 years’ time. That amazed me, as he aims to be the best version of himself every 10 years, his learning potential is limitless and he will always be bettering himself. So, let the 10 year later version of yourself be your hero, as it will drive you to your goals forever.
Is there anything else I may have missed that you would like to share here?
The Box Squad has its very own DIY crowdfunding service on it’s website; www.theboxsquad.co.uk. You get the chance to opt into help support game development after signing up to the mailing list. BUT, if you are not comfortable with doing it that way, SNT Gaming has recently been approved for Merch By Amazon which means The Box Squad will be pounding out T-Shirt designs for everyone to buy. The sales will go towards game development, which is a win-win for the players, as not only do they get an awesome T-Shirt but they also help bring the game closer to release. You can follow along with designs on The Box Squad social media; Twitter: @The_BoxSquad and Facebook: /theboxsquad.game. Thanks, and you guys rock!
We’d like to add that if you find yourself in the same position of thinking of an awesome introduction to land an interview… stop thinking of that! You’re making a game. Concentrate on that! If you’d like to land an interview it’s really easy, just send us an email or message us on twitter and say something like “Hey, I’m proud of what I’m doing and I’d like to tell you my story”