• Larry Kilgore III

PixelSmiths Ep. 3: Coffee Talk & What Comes After w/ Mohammad Fahmi

Updated: Feb 28


An Indonesian developer talks about the challenges of starting his own game studio

On this episode, Larry & Clinton talk with Mohammad Fahmi, Creative Director at Pikselnesia, and the creator of Coffee Talk and What Comes After. Both games are 'conversation simulators' that tell heart-warming stories.


In this conversation, they talk about Fahmi’s time at Toge Productions, his career path developing the skills he would need to start his own studio, the struggles of finding funding as a new studio, and the motivations behind the games he has created. Also, the announcement of his next game, and their favorite animes!


Other game/media influences that are discussed include: Midnight Diner, Bartender, Bar Oasis, VA-11 Hall-A, Neil Gaiman, Ico, Spirited Away, and Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad

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Find What Comes After on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1421760/What_Comes_After/

Visit Fahmi’s website: https://fahmitsu.com/

Follow Fahmi on twitter: https://twitter.com/fahmitsu


Transcript:


Larry Kilgore III:

Video games are an art form from the bits and bites of the old school arcade cabinets to the technological advancements of the modern era, video games have been a way for creators to tell stories in an interactive environment that can be shared the world over.


Clinton Bader:

Developers, designers, visionaries and storytellers, like the artisans of old, it's their blood, sweat and tears that go into crafting these unique and innovative experiences for players.


Clinton Bader:

But oftentimes the independent artists get lost in the overwhelming space, that is today's hectic gaming market. And on PixelSmiths, it's our goal to be a platform for those artists to celebrate their drive, their vision and the work it takes to create their art.


Larry Kilgore III:

On this episode, we'll speak with Mohammad Fahmi who's worked many jobs in the game industry about his transition into making his own games. This is PixelSmiths.


Larry Kilgore III:

Hello, and welcome to PixelSmiths. I'm Larry Kilgore III podcast creator and video game enthusiast.


Clinton Bader:

I'm Clinton “Paperthin” Bader, an esports broadcaster and commentator. And we're here to shine a light on some of the creatives in the indie gaming space that are really shaping the landscape of the scene.


Larry Kilgore III:

Today, we are joined by game industry veteran and game creator, Mohammad Fahmi also known as Fahmitsu, Creative Director of Pixelnesia. Fahmi, thank you for joining us.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Thank you for the invite guys.


Larry Kilgore III:

So Fahmi, you've worn a lot of different hats in the game industry, which is impressive. Game developer, journalist. You've even done a few talks. You worked at Toge Productions for a while, where you made the game you're probably most known for Coffee talk, a talking simulator set in a coffee shop.


Larry Kilgore III:

Coffee Talk with was a pretty successful game. What's it like having worked on a game that was so well received?


Mohammad Fahmi:

It was pretty surreal because it's not the kind of game that gets too much attention, especially in the Western part of the region, in the world, right? This one is mostly famous in Asia.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So having the games somehow managed to touch a lot of players in the west was a very eye-opening experience. There's a market for every kind of game in every part of the world. And I think that's the biggest thing that Coffee Talk taught me.


Clinton Bader:

So I'm curious about what are some of the inspirations for Coffee Talk and why do you think it's so popular in Asia versus maybe some of the rest of the world?


Mohammad Fahmi:

We took a lot of inspirations from anime and manga, which is very popular in Japan and Southeast Asia. We also take one inspiration from a dorama, a Japanese drama called Midnight Diner.


Mohammad Fahmi:

It's about a small diner in a very small part of Tokyo that only opens at midnight. And the story tells everything about the visitors. They have their favorite food and the stories behind their food and just their mundane life.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And I thought, "This is something so simple. This is something that we experience in everyday life." Like we have our favorite store, we have our favorite café or bar and people just talk, people share their stories.


Mohammad Fahmi:

It's something that is very common. It's not even something that you usually see in movies or games. And somehow it feels so relatable.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So from that stories, from that kind of inspiration, we also take one inspiration from a manga called Bartender, which is basically a similar story, but set in a bar and about alcoholic drinks, which I know nothing about.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So I took those inspirations and combined it with my favorite drinks. I love coffee so much. And I think coffee shop is something that the whole world love. People just love the vibes. People love the aesthetic. People love hanging out in coffee shop.


Mohammad Fahmi:

There's a certain kind of charm with coffee shops. And that's what I wanted, to combine the communication happening in a bar with the aesthetic and experience of people visiting coffee shops. That's basically the main inspiration.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And there's also the fact that the idea came to me when I was working late at night, drinking a hot green tea latte. And it was raining outside just like right now. And I thought, "This feels amazing." How to emulate this kind of experience in video games. And somehow one thing led to another and got to Coffee Talk.


Larry Kilgore III:

Well, and like you were saying too, whether it coffee shops or your restaurants or a bar, it's really an idea that everybody can really relate to. People have their favorite places they go to, their favorite drinks they do.


Larry Kilgore III:

And when you had that idea, did you really think like, "Oh, this is something that everybody's going to be relate to. This has mass appeal because this is the experience that everybody goes through."


Mohammad Fahmi:

Honestly, at first I thought nobody would want this kind of experience because this is something very personal, right? But the good thing is that when I pitched this idea to the company, it was during our internal game jam.


Mohammad Fahmi:

At Toge, we have this internal game jam. Game jam usually lasts 48 hours, but for this internal game jam, we made it last for two weeks where everybody can pitch anything. They can make any kind of prototype, any kind of ideas. They can make board game. They can make tools. They can make games, whatever.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And when I pitched this idea, apparently the other folks at the studio love it. Even the people who just like casually visiting coffee shops, not regular customers like me, they were intrigued by the idea. They wanted to know more about this kind of culture, the experience it offers.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And from there I know like, "Oh, people actually love this." And then there's also two other similar games that were proven pretty successful. The first one is an iOS game called Bar Oasis. It came out 10 years ago, so it's pretty hard to find. I think it's from Korea. It's like Coffee Talk, but set in a bar.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And then there's also another game called VA-11 Hall-A, which sets in a bar, but with Cyberpunk theme. It was very, very popular.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So I thought, "Okay, we only have two successful examples," but both of the examples are pretty successful. That's 100% rate of success. I mean, that's not how you count it, but that's how I see it at that time.


Larry Kilgore III:

Two for two.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Yeah. I think this would work. This might work, I guess. So until we released the game, there's no such thing as like, "Okay, I know this game will do well." I don't think any developers, even the big indies, I'm sure they have their worries, but, "Okay, will people like this game I made?" Those feelings stayed with me until we released the game, but at least we have some data to back up, this might work.


Clinton Bader:

So maybe to transition a little bit here, past Coffee Talk, Fahmi. So after Coffee Talk you went on to start creating your own games. What were your motivations behind that? Why did you really want to start making your own games?


Mohammad Fahmi:

I always wanted to make my own studio, even since I was a junior high school student, but then I start working and apparently you need a lot of money to start a business. And of course, as someone who was only 22 years old leaving his first job, I don't have that kind of budget. I don't have that kind of backup.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So I decided I need to learn more. I need to save some money to start my own business. And that's when I decided to become a journalist because this is something I learned from Neil Gaiman.


Mohammad Fahmi:

He wanted to tell stories, but he just couldn’t start like, "Okay, I will make my first novel." No. He started out by becoming a journalist because by becoming a journalist, you can learn how to write. You can learn how to tell stories and you will be able to learn from people who have succeeded or people who have failed and while doing all of them, you got paid.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So it's like the perfect setup for me. I became a journalist. And one thing about learning from people is that you see a lot of people who have failed.


Mohammad Fahmi:

I started becoming a journalist in 2013 and I left in 2017. And during that time, I think like 70% of the studio I've spoken to they have closed. I interviewed them as a very optimistic story, like, "Okay, we were going to do this, this and this."


Mohammad Fahmi:

And my last article was actually about the dark side of the industry in Indonesia, which is like, "Oh man, this game industry is hard." It's a hard place to live in. The investors don't love you because they want you to make quick bucks and you cannot make quick bucks with games. You can, but that's rare cases, right?


Mohammad Fahmi:

So I decided to like, "Okay, I need to halt on this journey because it's too scary to do all of this." So I decided to join Toge as marketing and PR. I wanted to learn more from other people. And I wanted to help local game developers to reach global market.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Because one thing that we believe in at Toge is that in Indonesia, we have talents who make great things, but so few people know how to sell their games. Not many people know how to promote their games. So that's where we came in.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And then I started working on Coffee Talk. And by the time we are done with Coffee Talk just like a few months before we release them, I realized like, "Hey, next month I will be 30."


Mohammad Fahmi:

And I've been delaying my dreams for seven years. What I've been doing? This is the best time. I don't have kids. I mean, I have responsibilities, but not that much. I can stay with my mom. I even told my mom, "So can I stay at home and not pay for the bills for a few months?" Because I wanted to start this business and so on.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And she was like, "Yeah, do it. You're not married. You're not 30 yet. Just do it. And if you fail, you can just find other jobs after that."


Mohammad Fahmi:

And so I decided to leave and start my own studio right on my 30 birthday.


Larry Kilgore III:

Sounds like that was a pretty good birthday present to yourself.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Yeah. A pretty stressful birthday present.


Larry Kilgore III:

It's very interesting that you thought about it from that aspect where like you knew what your dream was that you wanted to make games, but you realized there were different parts of it that you needed to understand. The journalism writing part, the marketing and PR part, being able to sell your game.


Larry Kilgore III:

So I think it's very interesting that before you started your own company, you had that mindset of, "I've got some skills I need to be able to achieve before I can be in a position where I feel like I can really do this myself."


Mohammad Fahmi:

I guess that came naturally because I spoke with so many people as a journalist, right? Those information just came naturally because I've learned from those people.


Larry Kilgore III:

Now that we've gotten to your 30th birthday, and we're talking about you starting your own company, you talked about some of the struggles, like learning the different skill sets you need, but also you found out that funding is really important.


Larry Kilgore III:

Why don't you tell us a little bit about the first project you wanted to do and some of the hiccups you may have run into when trying to get your first project off the ground?


Mohammad Fahmi:

Yeah. So when I left, I have some savings from my work at Toge. And the funny thing is actually I used my retirement savings to start the studio and those things were wasted like in the first four months.


Mohammad Fahmi:

I don't have any retirement savings now because I wasted them on a studio and I wanted to work on something that I already have in mind for a few months. At that time we call it Project Heartbreak.


Mohammad Fahmi:

I love making stories that are relatable, personal, sad. I guess I'm a sad boy, after all. And from that, I start talking to some friends. At the time I invited one friend, a programmer and an artist. They were like, "Okay, we're in."


Mohammad Fahmi:

The thing is, I've been working with a team that has been working on games, that has been working as a team for a few years. And I took them for granted. They know how to work things out.


Mohammad Fahmi:

But when I started out, I have a person who can code, I have someone who can draw, but how to mix all of them into video games, it requires another skill set, which I don't have.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And we ended up with a very bare bone prototype where you can only walk and talk in a very simplistic looking environment in the game. And I was like, "This won’t do." I tried to pitch this very bare bone prototype to publishers.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And some of them didn't reply. Some replied, but they rejected because it's not their kind of games. And some of them wanted to like, "Can you make a more proper prototype?" Which I cannot, because this is kind of funny because you need money to make games. But to find that money, you need to make the prototype.


Larry Kilgore III:

Got to spend money to make money.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Yeah. So we decided we need to stop working on this project for a while because I already ran out of all of my savings. I started writing blog posts for government just to scrap and just to get some extra fundings for the game, but it's not enough.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So I decided to stop the project, invited some other people, but on one condition: I cannot pay you. This will be like collaboration. We will share the revenue. And later on, if the game sold well, maybe it can fund the game I paused the development before this, the Project Heartbreak one.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So we set a few rules that this game will be short. I thought it'll be 15 minutes long, but we ended up with one hour, which is still very short. It has to be under five bucks. And the development time should not go beyond three months.


Mohammad Fahmi:

We finished the project in three and half months, which is amazing because Coffee Talk, we planned it to be a six month project. And we ended up taking two years to finish the game. So this coming from three months to three and a half months was mind-blowing.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Another rules we set is that we need to use the code we have made for Project Heartbreak. And when we are done with this game, we will reuse the code again for the continuation of Project Heartbreak. So we can save costs. We can save time with it.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So we ended up with this story about a girl who rode a train and she woke up in a train filled with people who have passed away that day, and that became What Comes After. We released it November last year. And the reception was mind-blowing because I thought only a few hundreds people, maybe 500 people, my family, my friends would buy it.


Mohammad Fahmi:

This month, we managed to pass the 40 K copies milestone, which is unbelievable.


Larry Kilgore III:

Congratulations, Mohammad.


Clinton Bader:

Yeah, seriously. That's great.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So yeah, that changed a lot of things. And thankfully, while working on that game, we managed to find a publisher for Project Heartbreak. So it was a journey.


Larry Kilgore III:

Well, that's cool. And I'm really glad to hear you say that when you had no budget, you were able to set yourself a goal and stick pretty close to it.


Larry Kilgore III:

This has been a great conversation so far, and we want to pick your brain a little bit more about What Comes After and the development for that. And what's going on now with Project Heartbreak, but we are going to take a quick break and we'll be back with more from Mohammad Fahmi.


Larry Kilgore III:

This is PixelSmiths, the podcast that gives a voice to today's indie game developers. I'm Larry Kilgore III.


Clinton Bader:

And I'm Clinton “Paperthin” Bader. And we're here talking to Mohammad Fahmi, the game developer known as Fahmitsu. And so Fahmi, I wanted to pick your brain a little bit more about the fast turnaround time that you pushed for your new projects.


Clinton Bader:

And you said that with Coffee Talk, you guys planned for six months and it ended up taking about two years, but then you said that you were able to plan for a shorter timeframe and hit pretty close to that mark.


Clinton Bader:

What are some of the things maybe that you had to give and take to make that happen? I think from a development standpoint, that's really interesting to me.


Mohammad Fahmi:

For starter, I still need to make a pitch deck for the game, right? Because I need to pitch it to the team, whether they wanted to make this game or not.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And in the pitch, actually in the games feature list, I only listed two features, walk and talk. You can only walk and talk in this game. Do not add anything else. No voice acting. Of course, no battles, no battle system, not even menu. We only have a very basic in game menu.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And we make sure that, "Okay, this need to be very, very slim game."


Mohammad Fahmi:

When we were working on Coffee Talk, I watched this video from GMTK, where he talks about Ico. Ico is one of my favorite game ever. And in that video, Fumito Ueda shared that his design philosophy is like, list all the features you wanted in the game and see which one will add the emotional impact you wanted to convey in the game.


Mohammad Fahmi:

If those features don't add any impact for the emotion you wanted to convey, just drop it. You don't need to make too many features just to have a long list on your Steam page. Even if it only has a small list or it doesn't even have any list on your Steam page, it's fine as long as you can convey the message well.


Mohammad Fahmi:

That's something that we have in Coffee Talk, even Coffee Talk has a lot of features we need to drop. And that's something that we implemented really, really hard in our brain when we were working on What Comes After.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So we try to make sure that there are not too many features and just leave everything on the writing. Because a lot of people said that in video games, it's better if you show, don't tell. That's a very good theory, but those things take skills, take times. And it requires a lot of budget.


Mohammad Fahmi:

You need to have certain skill set to be able to tell stories without words. We have some environmental storytelling in the game, but it's a very simple one. And we leave everything else on the writing because writing is cheap. You can tell a lot of things through writing. And it's definitely easier than trying to tell stories without words.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So we try to slim down the features with everything in the words tool and I guess... Oh yeah. And we also make all the end pieces look almost the same. And we just say, "Oh yeah, they are ghosts so they look the same." We just try to dodge the bullet with those kind of reasonings and people don't seem to mind.


Mohammad Fahmi:

We also decided to implement one thing that we've been using since the pandemic. And that thing is masks. By making all the characters wear masks, we don't need to draw talking animation. We don't need to make different face. We only need to draw the eyes and the eyebrows and the hair, that's it. That cut the cost a lot, surprisingly.


Clinton Bader:

See, I like that. You can relate it to modern times and it saves you money. That's good. I like that, man.


Larry Kilgore III:

I feel like that goes with the theme that we've heard in some of the other interviews we've done as well too, where like an important thing to do is make sure that the game you're working on is something that you can achieve.


Larry Kilgore III:

Like you were saying, don't make the list so long that you're adding a bunch of features that aren't needed in the game. And from the reverse end, like you were saying, "There's a lot of things that our small team, we didn't have the time and the budget for." So you found a way to make it work in the scope of what you have. So I think it's very smart that you came at it that way.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Definitely your first game won't be like GTA five. So don't try to make GTA five or Final Fantasy on your first game.


Larry Kilgore III:

All right. So let's talk about What Comes After a little bit. Like you were saying before, it was a smaller project. It's a one hour game, but the game itself is a very heartwarming story about learning to love yourself. Something that I feel like a lot of people struggle with.


Larry Kilgore III:

And like you were saying before, you really like to tell stories that are relatable. So can you tell us a little bit about how you came up with the story, where your motivation came from?


Mohammad Fahmi:

So the first idea from the story actually came from a viral tweet in Indonesia. It's a pretty funny tweet about a guy who overslept inside the train. And he woke up locked in the train.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And he called the emergency numbers and nobody seems to answer the numbers. And he decided to just tweet his experience. It went viral and then somebody helped him to get out from the train.


Mohammad Fahmi:

It was a pretty funny story, but then I thought, "What if when he woke up from that train, the train was filled with ghosts, but not like scary ghosts, kind ghosts. Ghosts that have their own stories."


Mohammad Fahmi:

And I also took inspirations from one of my favorite Ghibli film. My favorite scene from Spirited Away if you have watched that movie, there's a scene where Chihiro, the main character, rode a train. The railroad was on the sea and inside the train was a lot of people that only appear as a silhouette.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And I thought like, "What if you can walk around that train and hear what those silhouettes has to tell. They must have their own stories." And that's where the initial idea come from.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And then I was thinking like, "What kind of stories do I want to tell from these ghosts?" The best thing to talk about is life and death, about what happened when you die, what do you feel when you die? Like appreciating life, the things you feel, the things you lose when you die.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And it reminds me of a friend of mine because while I was working on that game, I have to talk a lot with my friend who was struggling with this kind of thinking. And I thought like, maybe I can make this game as a love letter to my friend to remind them that, "Hey, you're not a burden to anyone. You are loved. People wanted you to be here. So don't think about things that will make you regret the decision."


Mohammad Fahmi:

Basically I spoke with them about this and they don't mind. They're actually one of the first people who played the game before it came out. But yeah, I made the character based on them, which obviously I told them like, "Hey, so I made this game, the story was something like this." And they were like, "Are you writing a game about me?" "Yeah." "Okay. Thank you."


Clinton Bader:

What was your friend's reaction then? How did they feel when they saw that you had put a lot of time and love into this project?


Mohammad Fahmi:

I mean, they appreciated it. They love it. Although they said like, "Yeah, I know what you're trying to tell me, Fahmi, but yeah. Thank you, I guess." This is their reaction about the game.


Larry Kilgore III:

She knows that the game was made about her, but do you feel like it actually touched her? Did it accomplish what you were looking for and getting that message to her that, "You are loved. People do care about you."


Mohammad Fahmi:

I hope so. I mean, she's happier right now when we talk. So I hope that game really helped.


Clinton Bader:

It's the little things, man. It's a little things.


Larry Kilgore III:

So What Comes After came out in November of 2020, and like you said, you guys just broke 40,000 downloads. So clearly it's been a popular game or it's doing well. Has that been the general reception? Have you been getting positive reviews? Do people really seem to like it and relate with the story in the game?


Mohammad Fahmi:

Yeah, surprising, a lot of people appreciate the stories told in the game. We tried to cover a lot of stuff, which I think one of the downside of the game is that we don't cover things deep enough, but we try to cover a lot of stuff and it touch some people in certain way.


Mohammad Fahmi:

I think some people who love the game, they can relate to some of the stories told, especially the part that involve pets in the game, because you can talk to pets who has just passed away in the game. So some people relate to it. And then some people don't like it obviously.


Mohammad Fahmi:

But one thing that surprised me is that this game is short, right? And there's always this kind of discussion about short games can be easily refunded. You can finish the game, you can experience the whole game under two hours.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And some platforms allow you to refund the game. That was one of our worry when we released the game, like "What if the game sold well, a lot of people played it and then they refund it?"


Mohammad Fahmi:

But surprisingly, I think because it's a pretty niche game, it can touch people personally, emotionally, we have very low refund rate compared to even the other games I've worked on, we have higher refund rates and those games are more than two hours long, and this game is one hour long.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And some people even bought the game more than twice, which surprised me so much. So I guess the reception has been very positive. It's kind of ironic because I made this game to try to help my friend. But in the end seeing all the kind words that we received, the game helped me in one way or another.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Other than financially, it helped me emotionally too, which is pretty neat. I mean, you need lot of emotional supports making game.


Larry Kilgore III:

Yeah. Is this the kind of game that has replay value? Do you see [crosstalk 00:24:12]-


Mohammad Fahmi:

No.


Larry Kilgore III:

... play through two times?


Mohammad Fahmi:

You played it once and then you got everything.


Larry Kilgore III:

I guess I was curious just because you're saying that low refund rate, it has such a good message that maybe once a year somebody's like, "Oh, I need to feel good about myself, let me go play this game real quick."


Mohammad Fahmi:

I think maybe they want to show the support to the developers because they know refund hurts developers, right? And people who enjoy the game, they appreciate it is for what it is. It's a short game. What do you expect? But some people say that it doesn't overstay its welcome.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And another thing is I found out that if you make something positive, something wholesome, you are creating a positive community too. You're creating a wholesome community. And I guess that's what happened with the games I've been working on. Maybe it'll be totally different case if I'm working on Dark Souls or something, but even Dark Souls have very positive and wholesome community, I guess.


Clinton Bader:

They are in their own way. Right? They very much love their games and they're very focused on trying to speed run and teaching people how to beat those games.


Mohammad Fahmi:

You can see the best part of the internet and the worst part of the internet in that community.


Larry Kilgore III:

You always got to look on the bright side.


Clinton Bader:

Yeah. We try to here definitely. So speaking of that, the bright side of things going well with What Comes After was you got your publisher interested for some of your upcoming stuff, like Project Heartbreak, right? So do you have anything that you can share with us about that? Any news going on with those new projects?


Mohammad Fahmi:

We finally announce Project Heartbreak. I think it was around mid-December. It was surprising because somehow we got the opportunity to announce the game in the

Nintendo Indie world event, which is a pretty big deal.


Mohammad Fahmi:

I've been watching those events for years. So having my own game in that event was like, the first one hour after that show and I still have my hands shaking, like, "Is this even real?"


Mohammad Fahmi:

Yeah. So we announced the game. We announced the official title it's called Afterlove EP. It's basically a dating simulation. Imagine Persona without the battles. But the twist is the voice of your ex who has passed away is always talking to you in your head. And she wanted you to be happy. So you have to find love while hearing the voice of your loved one always talking to you. That's Afterlove EP.


Larry Kilgore III:

It's a very intriguing story. I would've never thought of something like that. Obviously dating simulators have been done before, but that's a really unique idea where it's your love that passed away who wants you to live a good life and be happy yourself, trying to help you find happiness.


Clinton Bader:

I'm already getting feels thinking about that, dude.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Yeah, which makes things pretty difficult because it will be something very personal to some people. Right? And we need to walk a pretty dangerous lines on this kind of game.


Mohammad Fahmi:

But I think in the end it will be worth the difficulties of making this because I believe this is something that could be important for some people, at least for us, the team, it would be something important for us because we are so attached to this game even before we announce it.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So hopefully we can pull things well, which is like, "Oh." I'm sure it's not going to be easy. It hasn't been so far.


Larry Kilgore III:

Do you guys have a release date on the books at all or you are just in the very early stages?


Mohammad Fahmi:

I think our release window is around summer 2022, it's coming to [PC 00:27:46], switch and PlayStation.


Clinton Bader:

I could tell that you're pretty big into anime, Fahmi. What are your top three favorite animes? I'm actually curious because I'm pretty into anime myself. So I'm actually just wondering.


Mohammad Fahmi:

So my favorite anime first one is, it's not a famous one, it's called Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad.


Clinton Bader:

I love that one.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Oh, yeah. It's amazing. I mean, the animation quality is not that good, but it's amazing. It's a story about a band.


Clinton Bader:

Yeah. The songs are awesome, actually.


Mohammad Fahmi:

It's one of the inspiration for Afterlove EP because in Afterlove EP, you are trying to fulfill your promise with your ex by making an EP about your life. So it's heavily revolve around music. Beck inspired me and it's one of my favorite anime.


Mohammad Fahmi:

I also love, my favorite Ghibli film, it's called Whisper of the Heart. It's a very cheesy high school romance story, but it's so sweet. That film is so sweet you will be impressed watching it. It's so weird that I love this film so much but yeah, Whisper of the Heart is my second favorite.


Mohammad Fahmi:

And I think the... Oh wow, the last one would be hard, but I actually don't know my third favorite anime. I read manga more than I watch anime.


Larry Kilgore III:

I've watched mostly older stuff too, but like Cowboy Bebop.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Oh yeah. It's definitely a classic.


Larry Kilgore III:

In general, Shinichirō Watanabe stuff. Like you were saying before, like music, like the music and the stuff. I grew up on jazz so Bebop speaks to my heart.


Larry Kilgore III:

And then I'll say, it's funny that you've talked about a couple of Ghibli movies and for me, Princess Mononoke has been and will always be my favorite Miyazaki film.


Clinton Bader:

I mean, for me it's yeah, Cowboy Bebop is probably my favorite, but I really like the old stuff like Legend of the Galactic Heroes, which is a really old, straight to laser disc anime. But I love Beck. I absolutely love Beck. The music is so good.


Larry Kilgore III:

Well, Fahmi this has been a wonderful conversation. I love the story you've had to tell and the fact that you'd like to tell wholesome stories. We wish you best of the luck in the future and hopefully everything with Afterlove EP goes well. Thank you so much for joining us here on PixelSmiths.


Clinton Bader:

Thanks Fahmi.


Mohammad Fahmi:

Thank you for having me.


Larry Kilgore III:

The songs used in this episode are from What Comes After and were composed and performed by [inaudible 00:30:01]. What Comes After is available now on Steam and Nintendo Switch.


Larry Kilgore III:

PixelSmiths is brought to you by Podcamp Media, where we provide branded podcast production services for businesses, podcampmedia.com. Executive producer is Dusty Weis. Associate producer is Gabriel Miller, and I oversee editing and production.


Clinton Bader:

And you can follow me Clinton “Paperthin” Bader on social media @paperthinhere and on twitch.tv/paperthinhere.


Larry Kilgore III:

Thanks for tuning into PixelSmiths. I'm Larry Kilgore III.


Clinton Bader:

And I'm Clinton “Paperthin” Bader.

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