Founded in Prince Edward Island, Canada in 2013, Independent Studio, Queen Bee Games is co-founded by Kathleen Cassidy and Steven Cassidy, a husband and wife team with a background in animation and PC games. Queen Bee Games first venture into video game development comes in the form of Onion Force, an exciting concept where Tower Defense meets Adventure with a cartoon based aesthetic. Onion Force was recently Greenlit by the STEAM Community and is due to launch at the beginning of March 2016 for PC.
We recently had the chance to chat with Queen Bee Games Co-Founders, Kathleen and Steven, to find out more about Onion Force and the story behind their debut game.
Can you tell me a little about the story of how Queen Bee Games was formed? we don’t hear of many Husband/Wife teams in the industry these days.
QueenBeeGames: It was 4 months after the birth of our first child in 2013. I was on maternity leave and Steve had just finished up his contract animating for Disney. Steve, being the hardcore gamer that he is, decided he had some time on his hands, that he would try to make a game. He had never coded before, so he downloaded Gamemaker Studio and literally googled ‘Make man move’. He combined his artistic/animation skills with his new found love of learning to code and began making some really impressive and fun prototypes. We had talked for years about having our own company, but just didn’t know what we should get into and it just seemed all talk- just pipe-dreams. It all happened very organically, and it just feels meant to be. We have ideas coming out of our eyeballs- can’t wait to make more games!
As a game Onion Force a is a real joy to experience, visually it’s extremely appealing, can you tell me how the idea for the game came about and more importantly, where that awesome name came from?
QueenBeeGames: It was very much trial and error, throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what stuck. Adding stuff, taking stuff out. Sorry, not too interesting..haha.
The name was actually a relatively quick decision we had to make. We had another name for the game going into Steam Greenlight, but we were made aware that there could potentially be a very expensive trademark issue, so we didn’t want to risk it and stressed about a new name for over a week. We wanted a name that had both a quirkiness and a hardcore aspect. We thought tying in the onions was a nice touch, because you would be screwed without them in the game.
The game was recently Greenlit, that must have been a great feeling to be recognised by the STEAM Community for your game?
QueenBeeGames: Yes, it was a good feeling to get all the positive feedback for sure. It took longer than we had expected, however, which wasn’t the most pleasant experience. It’s easy to get stuck on Greenlight with the mass amount of games that enter every single day. I think a lot of people are disillusioned by the lack of quality control, it seems you can throw together anything and put it up on there. People are tired of wading through the extremely “less than amateur” quality that bombards the system. So traffic is low…you need to beg people on social media, etc to go vote for you. Begging for votes SUCKS! But yes, we were absolutely tickled when we finally got through. What a Wonderful relief it was!
Onion Force is a mixture of Tower Defense and Adventure can you tell me how the two genres will work together throughout the game?
QueenBeeGames: They are both in there, so you can divide your focus on either aspect, or combine the two. Heavy focus on towers will work for some, focusing on the adventure will work for others. It’s up to the individual player what works for them.
As a fan of art and especially cartoons Onion Force is very pleasing on the eye, what has it been like as a game to develop each level and the characters?
QueenBeeGames: The cartoony aesthetic was our main focus. We felt it was under utilized in the industry today. You see a ton of realistic 3D and you see a ton of retro style pixel art. We just felt that there are a lot of art styles that are yet to be explored, and we wanted to try this one out.
So, the game has an adjustable speed, can you explain how players can use this option and to what speed Onion Force could reach, will players be out of their depth at maximum speed?
QueenBeeGames: The speed up was basically just to eliminate gameplay friction. If the player comes across a moment where they are waiting for enemies to arrive and have no towers to build, then they can shorten the wait time. Although it doesn’t happen often. Alternatively, you get rewarded bonus coins for playing in high-speed mode, so if a player is skilled enough they can play permanently in fast mode, if they want.
There are a total of three playable characters to choose from with Warrior, Wizard and Bowman, each possess their own unique abilities, can you explain a little about each character and how their abilities will help them while in battle?
QueenBeeGames: They are pretty traditional.
Warrior is the tank, High HP, High Attack, High Defense- however, is lacking in ranged attack.
Bowman- Medium HP, Medium Defense, Medium Attack, with a quick but weak ranged attack.
Wizard- Low HP, Low Defense but a very powerful ranged attack.
We had the chance to play a few levels recently through the demo, which we thoroughly enjoyed, what do you believe is Onion Force’s biggest appeal and why should gamers part with their money to experience the mayhem when the game launches in March?
QueenBeeGames: It will be an all new experience, a whole new type of genre. We’re sure people will enjoy it. If people are fans of either genre, they’re sure to find something they like in this game.
The soundtrack to your game features tracks by fellow Canadian Oxygenfad can you tell me a little about how that partnership came to be?
QueenBeeGames: We have known each other for many, many years. We all grew up hardcore game enthusiasts. He is a very diverse composer and was an obvious choice. We are very happy with everything he has done. We look forward to working with him on future games.
I’m obliged to ask this next question. Are there any future plans to port Onion Force to either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One?
QueenBeeGames: Nothing specifically planned right now, but never say never!
Onion Force will be Queen Bee Games first ever title, how are you feeling now that the game is close to its official launch?
QueenBeeGames: Scared, Excited, Nervous. Pretty much every emotion under the sun.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers who might be interested in purchasing the game?
QueenBeeGames: Thank you for the support. You won’t be disappointed!
Huge thanks to both Kathleen and Steven Cassidy of Queen Bee Games for taking the time to chat with us.
Onion Force launches at the beginning of March for PC.