Shorts Indie Dev Interview: Andrew Shouldice, the man behind Tunic

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!

Here at LadiesGamers we are always happy when we review a game and it turns out to be so fabulous, that it earns our highest praise. Tunic is such a game. James, who has many, many reviews under his belt already, wrote in his conclusion: “I haven’t enjoyed an adventure game like this in quite some time. Tunic cleverly drops the player in its world and just lets them discover things for themselves without feeling overbearing or confusing.” (Read his full review here)

Which, of course, is why we couldn’t wait to interview the man behind Tunic, Andrew Shouldice. And as LadiesGamers is all about the personal story, we asked Andrew what kickstarted his career as a game developer, if he had help in this design passion project, if there will be a plushy for the cute Fox protagonist and more.

Andrew Shouldice

Andrew hails from Halifax, Canada, and is the primary designer/programmer and artist/animator of Tunic. He has dedicated the last seven years of his life to this design passion project, and with the release of Tunic his hard work has been realized.

LadiesGamers Tunic

What kickstarted your career as game developer?

I started making games the moment I got my hands on paper as a child, drawing maps and making board games. When I realized I could program my family computer to make games it felt like a whole world opened up.

I made a lot of little projects as I was growing up, learning all the way. When I was in university I met some folks who were working at a local game studio and eventually joined them there. After some years I decided it was time to make my own project, and started work on what would become Tunic.

Though you did a lot of work alone, you had help in certain areas?

Early on I realized there were certain things I wouldn’t be able to do. Audio and music, specifically. Kevin Regamey and the rest of Power Up Audio signed on to work on the audio for the game; Terence Lee and Janice Kwan composed the soundtrack.

There were other things I didn’t realize I would need help with, like the business side of things. Felix Kramer and eventually Finji (Rebekah and Adam Saltsman) came on board to handle all the things I didn’t even know I didn’t know. Most recently, we enlisted Eric Billingsley to help make the game look beautiful.

Cute as Heck Fox Protagonist

What was your inspiration for the game?

Inspiration for Tunic came from a lot of places. Zelda is perhaps the most obvious one, but there’s also just a touch of Souls in there as well. Games like FEZ and Myst with their multilayered approach to secrets provided the structural core. While I never played La Mulana myself, I looked to it as a great example of how grand puzzles can serve to enhance mystery as opposed to just being tasks to accomplish.

LadiesGamers Tunic

The main protagonist in TUNIC is a fox, how did you come up with that idea?

When I started work on the game, I wasn’t especially good at 3D modeling. I wasn’t confident I could pull off anything approximating a real person, so some kind of animal character made sense. I think “fox” might have been the first thing I thought of.

In retrospect, it was maybe a good choice! People like foxes, and they get up to trouble. 🙂

Do you plan to release a plushy of this cute fox in TUNIC?

We have received a lot of interest about this! But we don’t have anything to announce about merch.

Want to read the rest of the interview too? About what kind of audience would like TUNIC the most (as the game doesn’t hold your hand), how Andrew maintains a work/life balance, if he has plans for his next step and more.

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