Hello there! I’m Tanya Short, designer at Kitfox Games. You may remember my original post last year announcing that Moon Hunters would be coming to PS4 and PS Vita. Since then, we’ve grown the game tremendously, adding in two extra player classes, the mountain and river biomes, and most recently the cooking system. We’re on track to launch on PS4 in Spring, 2016.
Today I’m writing because I wanted to tell you about the cooking system, which has been a rare pleasure to develop.
It’s been a full calendar year since we Kickstarted Moon Hunters . At the $75,000 stretch goal, we promised a PS4 version. This improved our community — after we announced our support for PS4, not only did more pledges pour in, but the positivity surrounding the game grew. I don’t know if it’s because there’s something special about indie-loving PS4 players, or maybe everyone just feels more hopeful when there’s console versions in the mix, but I’m grateful for it.
$10,000 later, we promised a cooking system. I always felt cooking would be wonderful, but it would almost certainly have been cut if we hadn’t gotten that extra Kickstarter boost. We’ve mailed out t-shirts, posters, and postcards, answered countless emails, but nothing has given us the satisfaction as making this cooking system!
Cooking in games is deeply nostalgic thanks to classic journeying games like Suikoden II, Tales of Symphonia, and Monster Hunter… but I think cooking nostalgia goes even deeper than that.
Modern chefs use fancy tools and techniques, but even back in ancient Mesopotamia, cooking was essential to Gilgamesh and Enkidu on their travels. It may be the oldest art form, given that the human species evolved around the same time as the use of fire.
The cooking in Moon Hunters is straight-forward. Mix two ingredients together and depending on the result, everyone in the party gets a bonus. Explorers will enjoy finding all the different ways you can find and unlock new ingredients — shopping, dialogue, killing monsters, and so on, with various regional flavors. The most delicious fish are from the river, rare berries grow up in the mountains, the desert village cultivates apricots, etc.
Perhaps due to that ancient urge, despite its simplicity, cooking has been a hit with playtesters! Groups of players cheer and laugh, whether their chef has successfully made Moon Cakes or fumbled into Weird Soup. In fact, they cheered almost as much as defeating a boss.
Yet implementing cooking has felt like an indulgent luxury. As an indie dev, I’m not used to exploring my wish-list features. Combat, lighting, movement… those are needed. Cooking… not technically, no. It’s a rare pleasure to round out a game-world.
So, thank you for this rare and delicious opportunity. Until Spring 2016, please feel free to sign up for our newsletter for important updates.