We caught up with Noisy Head Games, the developers behind Beyond the Long Night.
Tell us about your solo dev journey
Noisy Head Games started as a solo-venture, with just me tinkering away with Unity prototypes in early 2020. I had just left the AAA industry where I was an experienced audio programmer, but I had no knowledge of art, animation, business or marketing. So the first few months were spent learning as much as I could, and building on one of the prototypes that would eventually become Beyond the Long Night.
Towards the end of the first year it became clear that the project would be too much to handle on my own, so I called upon two old colleagues of mine – Pablo and Ross – who I knew were incredible sound designers. As a team of three we’ve built the game through a successful Kickstarter, and finally signed with the publisher Yogscast Games in late 2022.
Our first game, Beyond the Long Night, launches on PC and Mac on 17th April 2023.
Tell us a little bit about the story behind your game?
Beyond the Long Night is a twin-stick action-roguelike about discovery and exploration. You take the role of a balloon-flying explorer and awaken in the Dark Mountain – a subterranean world full of monsters, secrets, and lovable characters. Your goal is to outrun a mysterious corrupting force and escape to the Overworld beyond. Amongst the puzzles, countless upgrades and superpowers, chaotic combat and deadly traps is a secret trail buried in the world. Through the use of your trusty journal, you can piece together the puzzle and follow the path to the game’s true ending.
What inspired you to make your game?
Weirdly, the original inspiration for the game didn’t come from a twin-stick shooter, but from the space faring roguelike FTL. There was a side quest system in that game that gave you alternative objectives, so if you didn’t reach the end of a run, you still felt like you had progressed. That system spurred the idea of a roguelike where you worked on solving a multi-stage puzzle across multiple runs of the game, and after playing The Outer Wilds in late 2019 the idea solidified. The game takes inspiration from tons of other places too, from roguelikes like The Binding of Isaac and Hades to adventure games like Fez. When playing games in my spare time, I tend to jump genres a lot, and I think there’s a little piece of each of my favourite games from the last fifteen years all going into this.
What challenges did you face when you first started?
Not being an artist and also being colour blind, the first challenges were finding an art style that I could pull off. It went through several iterations before landing on our
current art style. While it’s still an area I feel very inexperienced in, my programmer brain has found ways to create pixel art. Mostly I use rules for shading, colour and detailing that make it all manageable, as I still suck at drawing to this day.
What would you do differently if you could go back and do it again?
The classic advice for any dev starting out is: start small and release lots of games before you do anything bigger. I thought I was doing this at the start of my journey, but Beyond the Long Night grew into a much bigger game than I first imagined. If I could go back and start again, I would probably start on something a bit more manageable. I also have never participated in a game jam, something I hope to rectify in the future.
Is your game single / multi-player or both?
Has your game won any awards?
We were finalists at Tencent’s GWB awards in 2022, and got an honourable mention in the finals of the Develop Indie Showcase 2022.
Is your game free, a one off cost, monthly payment or micro or crypto transactions?
One off cost.
Does your game require a download patch or update after the initial installation?