Indie Game Award 2023 Winner's Interview : Best Innovation - Turtle Cream
Mr. Sun Park, the founder of Turtle Cream, an indie game developer from South Korea, has always pursued alternative ideas during development processes. Despite facing multiple setbacks – even bringing team members to tears – Sun Park believes that his persistence has finally paid off. Their game "RP7" has struck a balance between "Weird" and "Elegance" and won the Best Innovation award at the Indie Game Award 2023 hosted by Taipei Game Show.
Sun Park, a natural creator since childhood, had no prior experience in the gaming industry before formally entering game development. He previously worked in advertising but found that even with creative ideas, he was still limited by his client’s imagination. It wasn't until he started developing his own games that he realized creators could become gods of their own creations, sparking a strong interest in him.
In 2009, Sun Park assembled a team with friends from college, and in 2012, they established a more professional independent game studio. Unfortunately, throughout the years, many have left the team and Sun Park is the only remaining founding member. He admits, "When developing commercial products, the team encountered many conflicts, and there were many things to consider."
Sun Park originally believed that games are a product of collective creativity, and every member should be able to contribute to the game, creating a game that truly belongs to the team. Unfortunately, the idealistic approach went against his hopes of being the "god" of his own creation. Now, he adopts the “last man standing” approach, allowing members to champion their proposals and choose the best idea in the end. The competitive approach has brought many team members to tears, but Sun Park emphasizes that teamwork is "cultivated" and that they have found their groove on how to communicate despite occasional disagreements.
Unforgettable Taipei Game Show:
One Gamer Asked a Shocking Question, Inspiring Sun Park to Surpass Himself
Sun Park pointed out that he has always insisted on creating "Weird" games, and the team's goal is to promote the creation of new game experiences. Therefore, they have always taken the non-mainstream path. Now, they have found a new way of thinking, which they term "elegance." This means that even inexperienced players can easily play the game without having to read complicated instructions. By combining common RPG and Roguelike elements with an innovative operating interface, the game "RP7" is a balanced work of "Weird" and "Elegance."
As for why he chose to participate in TGS, Sun Park shared that he had participated in TGS years ago. At that time, one player spent a lot of time playing the game and asked him, "Why do you make games?" Sun Park was unable to answer that simple question, and he has been thinking about the answer ever since. This surprising encounter let him believe that Taiwanese players are not only active but also very sophisticated. He added that TGS is an iconic game exhibition in Asia. Among all the options, TGS has more visitors than other exhibitions in the region, which is why Sun Park participates in the event whenever he has the chance.
Sun Park said that there are many challenges and self-doubts in pursuing the non-mainstream path. It wasn't until they won the IGA 2023 Best Innovation award with "RP7" that he felt that their efforts in the past year had finally been recognized. Next, they hope that it can become a milestone work that sells well. They will strive to achieve the goal of releasing the game in a form of an updated demo or early access on Steam this year. They also look forward to the opportunity to add console and mobile versions in the future. Sun Park also called on independent game developers to challenge themselves to create more "unique" games, hoping to make the entire game industry more diversified.