Hello Xbox gaming friends! We’re Long Hat House, the developers of the upcoming metroidvania and hopefully smash-hit success game Dandara. Our publisher Raw Fury and friends at Xbox offered us the chance to connect with you and write this post in celebration of the upcoming launch on Xbox One X and Xbox One, so we figured we’d do this interview-style and give you a little background on who we are.
Who are you guys?
We’re four guys from Belo Horizonte in Brazil: Lucas Mattos, João Brant, Thommaz Kauffmann, and Victor Leão. We’ve been working on Dandara for a little over two years, and thankfully not too burnt out yet. We found we all shared a passion for things like computer science, art, music, narrative, and of course video games, so we decided to try our hand at making some. After participating in a few game jams, we felt like that we had so much more to offer and do, so we made Long Hat House.
Who is Dandara and why make a game about her?
Heh, we should probably get this out up front: our game isn’t exactly “about” the real Dandara, but more of an homage or tribute to her. Dandara was an Afro-Brazilian woman who lived during the 17th century. Her background is mostly mysterious and informed by stories handed down across generations, but it is very inspiring. She was a hero to her people, having fought many battles to defend her people and runaway slaves from conquerors and fellow tribesmen who sought to concede. It is said that she was a master of capoeira, a form of martial arts with Afro-Brazilian roots, and that she refused to accept any deal that did not work toward am absolute end to slavery.
Our game’s heroine is an inspiration born from these stories, as a warrior seeking to end oppression in the mystical world of Salt. We wanted to create a game that talked about freedom in a world that borrowed a lot of influence from our hometown, and the inspiration we got from the stories of Dandara fit perfectly. Much of the artwork you can see in the world of Salt comes from Belo Horizonte, and we wanted to share that with gamers who may not have ever been to Brazil. Finally, as fans of the metroidvania-style of games, we wanted to make an easy to move, fast-paced action platformer that could play smoothly on both a controller and on touch devices, which gave us the idea for Dandara’s unique method of moving through only jumps.
What are some of your favorite memories while making the game?
We all share an interest in philosophy and art, so a lot of our late nights end up discussing life itself. We’ve gotten to know each other very well over the last few years because of this, and have become very strong friends. We also all got the opportunity to attend Stugan 2017 which is an indie game development retreat in Sweden. This was an incredible chance for us to immerse ourselves in a different environment while making friends and networking with other creative indie developers, sharing ideas that ended up making their way into the game right then and there.
Got any advice for people who want to make games?
The most important thing is to find a strong team that you connect with; you will come to rely on their input and feedback quite often. Be sure that you are honest with your team and yourself, about your ideas, thoughts, critiques, and feelings. Try not to let ego get in the way of making a game that others will find fun and enjoyable. And always try to raise the bar, for yourself and for your teammates, so that you’re always challenging yourselves to do better and try harder.
Thank you so much for letting us have the chance to share our story with you, and we hope to see you all again when Dandara launches February 6 on Xbox One.