Light Fall: One Year Later

The idiom time flies is what comes to mind, as tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Light Fall. April 26, 2018 is a date we will always remember. After almost 4 years of trials and tribulations, hard work and stressful but also joyful moments, Light Fall was finally releasing on Steam and Nintendo Switch on that day.

To celebrate our one-year anniversary, we have been working secretly on our biggest content update yet: the Lost Worlds Edition. This update is totally free and will provide new levels to unlock. You can find all the details here. Buckle up, shake the rust off and get ready for some fast-paced action!

This anniversary is also a good opportunity to take a look back in time and reflect on everything that has happened since we embarked on this journey in 2014.

Light Fall: The Lost Worlds Edition is now available on Switch and Steam.

The Finish Line of a Crazy Ride

Four years is quite a long time. In hindsight, it shouldn’t have taken us this long to make Light Fall. But, as is the case with most emerging indie studios, you live and you learn every day. You also fail a lot… It’s easy to get stuck in limbo and do things on autopilot, without a clear finish line in sight. Making a game with a small team is no easy task, you have to focus on the small things to not get lost in the scope of your project. 

We did a lot of back and forth and reworked a lot of things in these four years. However, by December 2017, we knew for a certainty that our launch would be the next Spring. It was just a matter of ironing out the last details for the Switch certifications. At long last, we had a finish line in sight after such a long journey.

It took us four years to get it right, but we eventually did it. And we’re damn proud of it.

Launch Day: Will the Earth Stop Spinning?

It’s hard to remember everything about the official launch day. Most of it is nothing but a blur. However, we do remember that the game was going live at noon, on both Steam and Switch. In the morning, everyone was busy completing the final preparations; a last check up on the store pages, a few last emails here and there, reviewing the posts about to be posted on social media, etc.

We gathered around as the minutes before launch dwindled. We were ready to press that big Publish button on the store pages. What would happen then? It was a strange feeling, as if we thought the Earth would stop spinning. After four years of work, this was our big moment. But… the reality is that every day is the big day for hundreds of studios around the world. 

While we did get some good coverage from the press and content creators, the world did not stop spinning for us that day. It would be a lie to say that the launch made fireworks around the world, it wasn’t exactly a home run either. We realized then that making a good game was only the beginning. Despite our best efforts, our reach wasn’t as big as we had hoped. The reality of being an indie studio with smaller means hit us hard that day.

On the inside, we felt disappointed and a bit sad. However, it wasn’t the time to sulk. Instead, we decided to focus our energy on improving the game with the community’s help. In hindsight, our situation wasn’t too terrible either. Our disappointment was mostly due to a feeling of emptiness after spending so much time working on Light Fall. At one point, you get lost into the project and it becomes a finality in itself. But when you reach the end… you ask yourself What should I do now?

While the Earth didn’t stop spinning on launch day, it was still a memorable one!

The Last Boss: A Learning Experience

The biggest regret we have concerning the launch of Light Fall is the initial state of the final boss of the game. In its original state, the final boss was random, frustrating and left a sour taste for many of you. It was simply not fun. 

Even worse, it was completely out of line with the rest of Light Fall’s philosophy. Light Fall is a game where you have to go fast, react quickly with the Shadow Core and always think on your feet. But the final boss was pretty much the opposite of everything the game had previously taught you. Often times, the best strategy was to stand still and hope for the best.

We could make excuses as to why we designed the boss this way, but it can be simply explained as a lack of experience. Designing a final boss is a much harder task than we thought; it has to be this epic moment crowning all of your efforts. It has to be memorable and challenging, but also fun and engaging. We simply missed the mark the first time around. But judging from your reactions, it is clear that we did a much better job with the second iteration. 

Sadly, it did hurt the game a bit at launch. Some critics straight up mentioned that they would rate the game 8 or 9 out of 10 if not for that final boss, before giving it a 6 or 7. While it stinks, you can’t dwell on it too much. It’s better to treat it as a learning experience and improve for the next time.

The revisited last boss was much more fun and aligned with the game’s philosophy.

Proud of What We Accomplished

Overall, we are proud of what we accomplished. Light Fall was the first game of the studio, and for 2 of the 3 founders, it was our first time stepping foot in the video game industry! We have grown a lot on this journey. We learned  to work together and, most importantly, realized what it takes to make a game from start to finish. 

Light Fall was our love letter to retro platformers and our attempt to bring more eyes on the discipline of Speedrun. We feel that we have achieved these goals. The game makes Speedrun accessible to anybody and brings unparalleled freedom to the player with the Shadow Core mechanic. It was also welcomed within the Speedrun community, ultimately being showcased at Games Done Quick in front of 100 000 viewers on Twitch!

The critics and ratings of Light Fall also confirm that we made a good game. While it does have its flaws, most people had a great time with it. They embraced our vision and jumped heard first into the world of Numbra. We can’t ask for much more than that! 

What now, you may ask? Well, we carry over everything we learned for Light Fall on a new, top-secret project. We can’t wait to share the details with you all and we sincerely hope you embark on this new journey with us. Just like you did for Light Fall!

Light Fall at AGDQ: Recap with FuzzyGames

In January, Light Fall was featured at AGDQ (Games Done Quick) in front of more than a hundred thousand viewers on Twitch. We decided to contact FuzzyGames, the speedrunner who submitted Light Fall, so he could share his thoughts following this experience. You can also watch his whole run on Youtube.

AGDQ (or simply GDQ) is considered by most to be the biggest speedrun event in the world. The goal is to complete the games in the fastest time possible and raise money for charity.

1. First things first, could you explain how this all came to be? What was the process of submitting Light Fall to GDQ like? How did you end up playing Light Fall at the event?

At first, I randomly found Light Fall online. I have always been a huge fan of platformers and noticed Light Fall was releasing at the time I was looking for new games to play. It all worked out well from there, I built a little bit of history with the game and even pushed for the world record at one point, which I did get. Fast forward a little bit and GDQ is coming up… and I really wanted to submit. This event is such a big deal for speedrunners. In my mind, I had to submit Light Fall. I had played so much of it and submitted in many different categories. I thought nothing would ever come out of it but I got accepted and that was an amazing feeling!

2. Following up on that, how many categories can a speedrunner submit for a game? Could you, for example, submit a 100% run and an Any% run? How does that work?

It was one submission of Light Fall, but I could indeed submit for multiple categories. In my case, I submitted Normal Difficulty Any% and Hard Difficulty Any% and only one of them was accepted.

3. What was your initial reaction like when you got the news?

It was funny because GDQ announced in advance at what time the news would come. So, I’m just sitting here on nails, waiting for news of the submission. I was so nervous, even though I believed there was no chance I could be selected… I kept refreshing the submission page and at one point I saw that one of my submissions got accepted. My whole body froze… I didn’t know if this was real or not. I thought somebody must have clicked on the wrong button or something!

4. I can imagine that… GDQ must be the equivalent of the Super Bowl for speedrunners. It must feel like the biggest stage to display your skills on?

Indeed, I don’t know another venue where you would have more than a hundred thousand people watching you speedrun a game live… It’s surreal and scary and amazing at the same time.

5. Have you seen a growth on your stream and channel since the event? Have you got any new followers since?

I did get a surge of new followers after the performance. A lot of people decided to follow just out of the blue. I’ve had people coming on my stream since and say “Hey, I saw you at AGDQ and decided to come check you out. Good job on the run!”. It feels good to have people say that they enjoyed what I did and want to support it more.

6. Talking about the run itself… How did you feel when you sat down on the chair prior to starting the run?

I remember it clearly, because you know, we had to get there early so the stylist could do our makeup and get us ready and everything. Then we went onto the stage and my couch commentary crew got on the couch. I sat down, plugged in my controller and waited… The next thing I remember is that a headset was handed to me and I just kind of put it on automatically. And in that brief moment of putting the headset on, everything hit me. That moment was so quiet and I thought: “Oh my god this is it, this is actually about to happen and I feel like I’m going to explode!”

7. Are you satisfied with your performance at GDQ overall?

Before leaving for GDQ, I sat there and said: “Okay, I know this is a big deal and a lot of pressure comes with it. I need to set realistic expectations for myself and still have something to aim for”. I thought about it and like every other speedrunners, I have my own personal best record. That wasn’t my goal obviously, I aimed for a more reasonable time. On such a big stage, many things can go wrong. I set out for a time around 25 minutes and that’s what I got to (27:13). For that reason, I’m pleased with the run. There are some things I could have done better, for example the Mictlan fight which I messed up a bit. Overall, though, it was good and I’m just glad it didn’t go horribly wrong!

8. If we go back to your passion of speedrunning, what originally got you into such discipline?

It’s funny that you ask that, because thinking back to how I started speedrunning… it starts with GDQ itself. I remember seeing the event’s videos from 2013 and I saw a well known speedrunner, CalebHart, run a Mega Man game. Being a huge fan of this series, I thought to myself: “That’s really cool… I feel like I’m not going to be great at it, but I would love to do something like that.” And that’s what got me into speedrunning. I started replaying a lot of the games that I enjoyed as a kid. From there, I kept learning and improving, thinking about what games I like to speedrun and it just evolved from there.

9. Really cool… That brings me to my next question: Aside from Light Fall, what other games do you enjoy speedrunning?

Most people know me probably for two games that I really enjoy speedrunning. The first one is The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It’s a fantastic game and it is my favorite of all time. The second one would be Celeste, which is a more recent one. It’s a platformer that feels really rewarding to play through.

10. Speedrun has many categories; 100%, Any%, Glitch-less… Do you have a favorite category to speedrun?

Just to call back out to Zelda: A Link to the Past, some people know that I am a big fan of the glitches in that game. I tend to lean to more glitched categories when it is an option, but I am also a little bit of a purist when it comes to glitches too. If you’re going to follow a glitch category, I kind of want it to stick a little close to the formula the game originally intended. I feel like glitches should accentuate what the game was originally going to deliver and not necessarily skip huge parts of it and take away from the experience. Other than that, I would say Any% is my favorite. 100% tends to be a little drawn out in some games. Any% is the typical “let’s see how fast I can beat it”.

11. A lot of people really enjoy watching speedrunners, but are sometimes put off by the difficulty of such discipline. What would you say to someone in that situation?

The first thing is to not expect to learn it all quickly because nobody ever does… Secondly, I feel like the only difference between someone who currently does speedrun and someone who doesn’t yet is that the speedrunner is willing to fail. A speedrunner is willing to be bad at the game until he masters it. Start by picking a game that you enjoy, a game that you could play over and over again… because you’re going to see it a lot. If you find some tricks too hard, just skip them and come back later. Your time will not be competitive out of the gate, so just give it a shot and see where it goes.

12. Now let’s put you in my shoes… If you were a developer of Light Fall and could make any changes to the Speedrun Mode, what would it be and why?

I feel that in its current state, the game mode is very enjoyable and welcoming. When the game first came out, there were a couple of rough edges that did get worked out quickly. That was an example of great communication between the community and the developers. Honestly, I don’t feel like speedrunners are too picky in general. A lot of games get speedrun without a dedicated game mode, so it’s a bonus. I feel like the team did really well with it!

13. Lastly, could you describe yourself as a streamer and speedrunner? And if some of our fans would like to know more about you, where can they do so?

Well, you already know my name (FuzzyGames). I’ve been streaming on Twitch for a little over a year and it’s the best place to find me. You can also follow me on Twitter. I’m always online Tuesday and Wednesday nights and Saturday and Sunday mornings. I try to keep running a few different games to make it exciting. Feel free to drop by!

This concludes our interview. We hope you had a great time learning more about speedrunning. Bishop Games always makes sure to support the speedrunning community. As for our projects, we know we have been quiet online recently. We are currently working on a brand new, top secret project and we are also preparing something for Light Fall! Stay tuned!

Light Fall Update Now on Nintendo Switch!

Hello folks! We’re happy to announce that our Light Fall free update has made it live on Nintendo Switch worldwide. Hop on the game and enjoy a brand new last boss, a new Speedrun season and several other improvements.

Our update is now live on Switch! To celebrate, we’re also putting a 35% discount on the game for a week.

Since our launch in April, we made it clear that we were ready to listen to the community and improve areas of the game if needed. This is exactly why we did this update. Hopefully, you guys enjoy the changes you all asked for. It took a bit more time to get things done on the Switch, but your patience will be well worth it.

To top it off, we are also putting a 35% discount on the game for the week. If you were waiting on a good deal to buy the game, now is the time to do so! Thanks for the support and have fun!

Kickstarter Physical Rewards Shipped!

To our Kickstarter backers, we’re also happy to announce that the physical rewards have been shipped and should arrive shortly if they haven’t already. This marks the end of our campaign, which started in 2015. What a ride it has been! Without our backers, it is evident that we wouldn’t be where we are now. So one last time, thanks for believing in us back then, despite our inexperience.

Physical Rewards: Shipped!