An Interview with ‘Horizon Chase’ Developer Aquiris

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Our own Matthew Petras had a recent chat with Jesus Fabre, the Social Media Manager and PR for Aquiris. Here’s what he had to say:

1. Why did you opt for a premium model without any micro-transactions? 

“Our studio has a previous history of successful premium games, also that monetization model was the one we thought it was more appropriate to relive a classic genre. You know, back in the old days, when you paid for a game cartridge, it was all yours and you could play that game forever without any further cost.”

2. How did you land on the visuals? There is a very angular and colorful look to the aesthetic. 

“For the game visuals, we chose to look for the simplicity and beauty of low poly technique. We loved the visuals of [Monument Valley] and [Journey], so we thought a similar style would fit quite nice into our idea of refreshing the pixelated aesthetics of the 90s retroracers. Additionally, the usage of secondary and complementary colors result in a unique and harmonic atmosphere, that clearly portrays the game’s retro soul on a completely modern body.”

3. Was the music created in-house? What were you trying to accomplish with it? 

“The music was commissioned to Barry Leitch, the composer of some of the classics we took heavy inspiration from, like Top Gear or the Lotus TC series. Our main goal was to recover the spirit from Top Gear in particular, since creating a modern Top Gear was our main motivation for making this game. Barry did a phenomenal job creating a soundtrack that evokes the original but re-imagined for the 21st century using heavier, guitar/retro synths without any of the technical hardware limitations I had to struggle with 25 years ago.”

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4. From my perspective, the game is challenging and requires a lot of focus. Do you expect a certain type of player to gravitate towards this game? 

“The game is designed to engage players against their own times from the tutorial itself. We made Horizon Chase for anyone who wants to (re)discover what a classic arcade racing experience is.”

5. Also, is this a type of game you expect to be played casually on a phone while someone is out and about, or something someone dedicates time to at home, etc?  

“Usually, a typical race in Horizon Chase doesn’t take more than 3 minutes to complete, that’s an interval of spare time everybody has at the bus or waiting at the doctor. At the same time, we believe the game provides enough fun to sit down at home and dedicate several hours to beat every circuit and try to get your best times to win against all your friends.”

6. What were your strongest influences, in terms of other games? Was there any inspiration out of Daytona USA

“Top Gear is our number one reference, after that one comes Out Run and the Lotus Turbo Challenge series. On a more personal level, some of the team are passionate players of retro racers such as Lotus Turbo Challenge, F-Zero, Super Monaco GP, Cruis’n World and, as you mention, also Daytona USA. Maybe some of those games could have slightly influenced the development of Horizon Chase…”

7. How has the response been to this game?

“We’ve had an overwhelming general response from mobile critics and players, the game won the [3rd place prize] at Gamescom’s Pocket Gamer’s BIG Indie Pitch this summer. Before launch, we got players really eager to try our game by posting a game screenshot every week. The response was more and more enthusiastic, all those high expectations fortunately matched with the real game after release. To give you an idea, we compiled some of the best comments we’ve got from our players only on Twitter. It’s also worth mentioning that some quite relevant game industry names, such as Project Cars Creative Director Andy Tudor, Gamasutra‘s Editor in-Chief Kris Graft and Crossy Road developer Andy Sum, openly recommended the game to their followers.”

Picture Provided by Jesus Fabre
Picture provided by Jesus Fabre

8. What aspect of the game is the group most happy with? Anything not turn out like the group wanted? 

“The group is very surprised with the success the game had. Everybody has been doing his best on making this game a fun, beautiful and memorable experience in every aspect. From music and FX to every icon and object in each circuit. So in the end we can say the huge effort to create our homage to 90s retroracers has been worth it, it paid off both from the professional and personal angles.”

9. Any desire to make a sequel? 

“Cannot confirm yet, but the success of this first game makes us think it feasible to think of a sequel.”

10. Anything else anyone would like to add? 

“We’d like to remark there is a long way ahead for Horizon Chase, the game will receive significant updates on iOS and still has to land on Android, Amazon Appstore, Windows Phone, PC and PS4. And we don’t have plans to stop here, our idea is to bring our modern retroracer to as many platforms as possible. Who knows what the future holds for Horizon Chase?… sometimes the game seems to be a living entity on its own, unpredictable as the videogame market is, we’ll try to find the best way for it to evolve with each platform, and be enjoyed by as many players as possible.”

(This interview was conducted via email exchange.)

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