A fair amount of time has passed since Little Devil Inside was revealed for the first time back in 2015. News about it were heard now and then, but not much; because of that, some gamers expressed their concerns that the game development would be canceled, although the devs showed up to present their progress at IGC (Inven Game Conference) 2017.
That is just how mysterious Little Devil Inside and its developer Neostream Interactive are. Their artwork and the battle movement of the game looked fantastic, although it was difficult to pinpoint exactly what kind of a game it was. There were so many things we were curious about. We wanted to know more.
We had the time to go visit Neostream ourselves and get a demonstration of Little Devil Inside along with our interview with the CEO, Hyung Cheol Kim, and the directors, Jae Jun Lee, Jae Hyuk Lee, and Seong Won Choi.
The artwork we saw for Little Devil Inside was indeed beautiful. The sunset and night sky in the desert unfolded in before us as the time in-game passed, and we could even dive into the oasis and find hidden treasure underwater. Not only that, the battle scene taking place on the back of the horses were quite impressive. Unfortunately, we could not take photos of it because the game was not yet ready to be revealed to the public.
What kind of game is Little Devil Inside, and how far has it been developed? Here are the opinions of our reporters on the game demonstration before we get into the interview with the devs.
After playing a demonstration version of Little Devil Inside…
Tae Hak Park (Inven KR Reporter): “The graphics were most impressive. The artwork featured the Western animation poster vibe well, and was precisely applied to the actual game. The game almost reminds me of European style games if we were to only look at the graphics. Not only that, the character movement in-game is very smooth, along with the details on how they struggled when climbing a hill, or walking smoothly when climbing down. It is nothing like any other indie games we have seen so far based only on what the game offers on the surface.”
Jae Min Hue (Inven KR Reporter): “I could see that they tried to add a sentimental aspect to the game not just with the graphics. They took care to make it so that the players could take a close look at their characters and empathize with them. The characters would limp when they are hurt and tremble when cold. Little Devil Inside does not show the character’s state with direct stats, but with their actions. This was the part that left the biggest impression on me. Also, how the sky changed as the time passed caught my eyes. It got so dark that it seemed difficult to move boldly without any fire when the night fell. Even though the graphics are cute, this game has many realistic factors in-game.”
Dong Hyun Won (Inven KR Reporter): “I like the protagonist’s silence. To me, it seemed sophisticated in how it showed everything with actions instead of chatty characters- language isn’t the only means of communication in this world. Little Devil Inside tells the player with the character’s breath, expressions, and the situation. I personally like this method of telling the story and the character’s condition with silence."
Pleased to meet you. The office looks quite big and there seem to be many employees here. How many developers are there at the moment?
We got 2 more so it became 15 recently. There will be more in 2018 because we have to put more effort into researching content. The next year will be the 4th year since 2015 when we started development. Desert map, sea… although we didn’t have enough manpower to think about these last year, we will improve further and introduce them soon.
Many fans are worried about the length of the development phase. Would you like to give a word about it?
We survived (laugh). The reason we have been quiet is because we have been focusing on development, but we also needed to prepare quite a lot in order to show our progress in the middle. We considered it an obstacle to our development so we didn’t spare any resources to do so. We keep updating the Kickstarter though.
The keywords for Little Devil Inside: Examination and Survival
Survival, Permanent Death, and the Player
Many people are curious about what kind of game it is. Can you explain what Little Devil Inside is?
It’s a survival simulation with RPG and simulation elements. It’s like Sims if you want a comparison.
Is it open world?
It’s an open world sandbox game. It’s not a massive open world, but probably similar to the size of Borderlands. There are many areas based on their respective concepts. You may venture freely, but they are not linked to each other.
Do you get to see the ending of the story as you progress?
There are scenarios and the main story, but it’s not something where you follow the given path to complete the story.
Please give us a brief explanation of the plot and theme.
The game is set in an imaginary Victorian Age. There is a college faculty that studies monsters and mysteries, with a white-haired doctor and a mechanics major doctor from the backstreets. Yes, they are characters from the trailer. And the wandering character in the desert which was introduced last time is a dethroned noble who is working for the doctors.
Little Devil Inside is the story of salarymen who are sent off to all parts of the world in order to study and gather monsters to help the college faculty. The character takes a business trip for a mission and comes back to the city where the doctors are.
The survival seemed crucial in one mission, since you need to consume food and water, adjust temperature, and so on.
It is a survival game, yes. However, most survival games tend to emphasize the fun of surviving in the most extreme condition. You need to survive in a crashed plane, for example. The bad part is that you become bored of these games when you get used to them and start to lose the tension.
Little Devil Inside is not about how long you can survive in a certain environment. It is about taking a trip for a mission, and surviving during the process. The process is that a character survives dangerous places and returns to the safe city.
▲ Keeping moderate temperature, eating, and drinking is the basic but essential needs in the game.
How difficult is the level of survival in this game?
Compared to other survival games, it is rather easy. It adopts the permanent death system. That is, you can’t play that character once he/she dies. You then have to start over with a different one. The doctor interviews the player in order to get a new character.
You mentioned a dethroned noble as one of the main story characters. Does that mean that you won’t be able to continue his story once he dies?
Yes. The doctor realizes the character’s death and the player goes back to the doctor’s perspective. Depending on the circumstances, there many be a mission where a new agent departs to save the character. If you died with good items, you send a different character to reclaim those items. The corpse may stay for some time, but you may need to risk your life if the character died in a high level zone.
Just like any roguelike games, the decision is followed by a risk. You can think of this game as a light roguelike game.
It’s interesting that you recruit by interviewing characters. Does it mean that each character has their own stats and different playstyle?
Yes, but you won’t be able to see the stats when you recruit them. You will see when you play them.
For example, a character obsessed with women tends to focus on female characters only when you play him, or has narrow vision. It often rains when you are with a melancholy character, and a character that bluffs a lot does not say that he’s wounded when he is.
It’d be interesting to see the stats of each character. We can only see the desert map though. How many maps are available?
Forest, sea, desert, mountain, and all these will depend on natural landscapes we will try to implement. Also, we have a city with the college faculty in it.
The group that appears in the desert map is called Hound Rider. They are natives in that area. The silk road was created as people flooded into the desert through the port, and this tribe plunders those who cross the road. They are not bad guys, just rather rough, and a dethroned noble character was deserted around the well because of these guys.
One of the most impressive scenes from the trailer was the part with the storming ocean. Will it be applied in-game exactly as we saw in the video?
It will become even better- we did have a bit of a limit on how we could execute the ocean when we were developing the game with the Unity game engine. Now that we changed the engine, our players will be able to see even more dramatic ocean graphics in-game.
What can you do in the city? Housing, for example?
There’s a college in the city, “my house”, and we are still thinking of adding more ordinary features such as a flower shop. Characters have their own relationships between each other so it would be fun to get to know them as you progress.
Does the weather change as well? Do you get affected by it?
Yes. It happens randomly in order to give a change of pace/atmosphere. It can be cloudy, thundery, or cold in the night.
The effect of weather interacts with the stats that you can’t normally see, just like that of Sims. It is not on the hardcore level - it’s there to maintain the stats. You need to look closely at the character’s behavior as the stats don’t show up in numbers.
Speaking of invisible stats, the UI may be controversial as it is simple and pretty, but can also be inconvenient for some players.
You can think of the player as a 3rd person in Little Devil Inside. You become an outsider and observe the character.
Therefore, you need to communicate with the character. This is the reason why the UI may seem somewhat inconvenient. It is to lead players to guess the details. The character shivers when it’s cold, but it doesn’t say the temperature or any related details as part of the stats. Some may be shown in a speech bubble for the sake of difficulty, but the character’s status isn’t always obvious.
The character rode on a donkey in the demonstration. Can animals be used in other ways?
A camel and donkey are used to either carry loads or as a mount. They use stamina when they run at the highest speed. You can also call them to come to you. Though you can’t see it, there’s also a level of friendship with animals, and some characters tend to become friendly much faster with animals.
Will the battle scene from the video be developed as it is?
Monsters that give memories and the story created by the players
We would like to ask you a question about the combat. It was quite impressive that the animation was smooth in the trailer. Will it be like that when it launches?
Checking your status in combat is more important than charging to win without thinking. For example, you can retreat when you are wounded and come back after reorganizing.
Features will be better than what we have shown in the trailer. The damage and effects will also be different depending on the type of skills.
▲ The battle scene from Little Devil Inside
It’s impressive that you can shoot down enemies while riding on a horse. It was quite fun to watch the probability as soon as the character aims.
Targeting while on a horse gives you the possibility of hitting the enemy. It changes depending on the running speed and distance between characters.
Will monsters respawn after they die?
They do respawn after death, but in a different way from other RPGs. Monsters spawn in their respective “town”, and they do have their own route and patterns of behavior, so they will be spotted in different places depending on the time.
Not all will be as hardcore as the dragon we’ve seen in the trailer, but how many bosses will be there including the mini bosses?
Not all monsters are there to be slain. For instance, the dragon was designed to be some sort of a guardian. Although the monster is a target to be slain, it also needs to be studied.
At first, we thought to design 101 monsters thinking that we will make a monster encyclopedia or something. But, we then realized that it was not going to be realistically possible, so we decided to go with a more vast theme instead. We want to make a game that has value to someone who remembers these monsters, even if there are only 10 rather than 100.
It looks like the story is written by the player.
Exactly. That’s our objective and our dream.
You said that the survival difficulty is not that high. The game is also based on RPG elements, meaning that the character would be geared up at some point. Are there any other challenging features?
Other than growing the character and upgrading weapons and mounts, there’s the content that develops the college faculty. The college studies mysterious things, and you can stop the research at some point and even make a report about it. You will possibly receive related products through this and other interactions. This will also affect the research tree at a later time.
Does the game have any collectibles?
It does have an RPG-esque collecting element. We’ll also add a system of collecting books as there is a major library in the faculty. We are still thinking about it, but we may also add a social media feature through which you can search a book that your friend researched and published in your library.
The game will be released around the end of year 2018. “We will involve everything to make it most immersive”
What is the release date and specs for Little Devil Inside?
What’s the required specification?
The game could run with GeForce GTX560 when we were making the game with the Unity Engine. It’s not like that anymore, but you can still run the game with GeForce GTX960 without much difficulty. The UI and systems are quite simple and they won’t require high specs. The optimization hasn’t been done yet, but the FPS will be fixed at 60 in the official version.
Is co-op play available?
It is. It is either with your friends or local co-op.
Although the game doesn’t need a lot of text, we still wonder if the game will provide Korean language.
Of course it will, both on Steam and console. We haven’t decided much about the text, but we would like to minimize the amount to the point that it still delivers the content. Although the game is not convenient to play, we’ll try to find a balanced point.
Little Devil Inside is Neostream Interactive’s maiden work, and we are worried about your responses to issues such as bugs.
Though it is Neostream’s first work, all team members in the dev team are experienced (laugh). Also, we consistently check bugs with the Agile Process.
Will it be a full-priced package, and will there be DLC in the future?
First off, it will be a full-priced package game. With DLC, we haven’t thought about it yet. But, the background of Little Devil Inside is in Europe, and if we want to add content that allows characters to travel to Asia to study ghosts or something like that, then it will be possible.
How long is the playtime?
The main story is 20 hours, and the total playtime will probably be 100 hours on average. Our intention is for players to have a “lingering feeling” from the process of slaying monsters and coming back.
The size and attention on this project is reasonably big. There are foreign fans paying attention to this as well. What is your objective?
I do not know. To enhance my profile as a developer, perhaps? In terms of finance, I would say, [make enough to] make the next game (laugh).
When the game succeeds, we would like to make an IP with it. We’ll make the 2nd and 3rd games with this theme afterward.
Where do you usually get the most feedback from?
Mostly from the US and EU. Although ordinary gamers still give us a lot of feedback, many pros who are in this field also give us feedback. The animation team manager of Halo from Bungie.net once gave us a message saying he’s looking forward to it. We heard his feedback and soon realized that he’s a pro without a doubt (laugh).
When is the release date on console and PC?
We expect that the QA phase will begin in the end of 2018. The PC version will come out first, followed by the console. We are also interested in launching it on the Nintendo Switch.
It was impressive to hear the memories and feelings you had while making the game. Please share a word about the true meaning of feeling emotion for players, and what kind of game you expect Little Devil Inside to become.
That’s a somewhat sophisticated question. To put it simply, we would like people to have fun playing it. We don’t want them to play it as if they are dealing with a system they have already experienced before, but instead constantly think about how to overcome obstacles while playing the game. You may also have fun playing as the character, but we want you to become the 3rd person and instead communicate with characters in the game.
We would like to see the game become a good memory for someone, and a good community where people actively communicate with each other to share their knowledge and venture through the mysterious world. We would like people to enjoy the game, make good memories with it, and keep it on a bookshelf for a long time.