Especially for our Patrons in Tier 2 and 3, we have made another Indie Dev interview! Consider joining us on Patreon in Tier 2 or Tier 3 for as little as $3.00 a month and unlock it all!
This time our indie Dev interview is with Fabrice Breton, solo developer publisher and founder of CowCat Games. CowCat Games has developed and published BROK the InvestiGator on Nintendo Switch, Steam, Xbox and PS4.
James reviewed BROK: the InvestiGator gave it our highest score of Two Thumbs Up and said this in his conclusion.
I didn’t think the combination of point-and-click and brawler gameplay would work, but BROK the InvestiGator smashed all my cautious expectations. Also, it is a refreshingly original game that provides flexibility to the player, whether you want to enjoy it casually or prefer a more challenging experience.
I myself have become a bit tired of the point-and-click genre, but BROK changed my mind. This is thanks to the creativity and multiple ways to tackle the game’s puzzles. This is probably one of the few games in this genre I see myself easily returning to again. BROK is brilliant overall and easily a contender for Game of the Year. Do not miss this one.
Time to chat with Fabrice!
Who is Fabrice Breton?
Hi, I’m Fabrice Breton, a 38-year-old French solo developer & publisher. I’ve coded games all my life, starting with an Amstrad CPC 6128 when I was eight years old! But my professional game developer career started more recently.
How did you start out as a game developer, and how did CowCat Games come into existence?
In 2014 I decided to leave my (unrelated) day job after saving up money for years in order to go “full indie”. Even back then, I realized two things: it was risky, and the market was overcrowded. So my plan was to remake a silly adventure game, “Demetrios”, which I made when I was a teenager but never released (this took two years to develop), and at the same time, I would work on a much more ambitious and unique game “BROK”. Six long years of development later, I managed to make exactly what I wanted: a long, unique and ambitious “Punch & Click” game mixed with Beat’em Up, filled with choices and nostalgia!
Inspiration for BROK the InvestiGator
Where did you take your inspiration from for BROK the InvestiGator and the cyberpunk setting with the design choice of the animals?
Anything can be an inspiration. In the case of BROK, the Disney Afternoon cartoons from the 80s/90s, in particular, the character designs and relationships, but I gave Brok a darker spin compared to them. This led to making it cyberpunk: I wanted a dystopia in a futuristic world because I love these. I only realized afterwards that it was actually pretty close to the definition of a cyberpunk universe, so I call it “light cyberpunk”.
Combining point-and-click and brawling is a unique mix in video games. What led you to this design choice of ‘Punch and Click’?
Even before starting work on Demetrios in 2014, I knew that the indie market was crowded, and I needed my next project to stand out.
My first idea was to blend two niche genres I love but which are diametrically opposed: point & click adventure game (à la Broken Sword) and Beat ’em Up (à la Streets of Rage)
Then I built the gameplay, the characters and the story around it. Everything in the game is linked to this contrast between the brain and muscles, and the main character is the best example of it.
Early Versions of the Game
We noticed on your social media that BROK, the character, had multiple revisions to his design. How many prototypes did you come up with? What ultimately led you to the final design?
I detail this in the art book, but basically, he was more “fit” in the early versions, then one artist (Kresblain) drew him cuter and with a bigger belly, which design I loved immediately. I recall the creators of “Trine” saying that they chose to make their knight more roundish to make him more friendly looking, so I decided to go with it!
Want to read the rest of the interview too? Find out about the impressive accessibility features in BROK, how the release of BROK: the InvestiGator went and more!
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