Alisa Developer Interview

Alisa Developer Interview

I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Casper Croes, the developer of Alisa, and asking him about the upcoming release of Alisa: Developer’s Cut that launches on consoles on February 6th. I figured I would ask some more in-depth questions about life, what it was like working on Alisa, the future of the game, and any other games they have planned. I want to thank Casper for taking the time to answer these questions given their busy schedule, and hope you find the article interesting.

Alisa is dressed to impress

  • Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. What got you into making games? | “When I was 8 years old, I found out I could change image files in games to make simple “mods”. and this kept evolving until I started making “total conversions”. I generally used the Build Engine, like Duke Nukem 3D. After that, I learned about Unity somewhere in 2013 or so, because it just got its first release for Windows and one of my brothers was really into it so I jumped from modding to learning real game development. I was more into graphics than programming so it took until 2017 to start learning how to do programming and create Alisa as my first real game.”
  • Q: How did you come up with the idea for Alisa, & how long did you spend making it before it’s reached this stage? | “It started as a side project, I was more into sci-fi multiplayer FPS and was creating a game like that. The idea for Alisa came out of a conversation with, back then my girlfriend but now my wife, Arisa. Around that time I was really into Resident Evil on PS1 and we talked about Alice in Wonderland. So I thought of mixing those two. Around that time, PS1-style games were very uncommon and I thought it would be quite an original style to work with. As time passed, Alisa became my main project but the PS1 style suddenly had some kind of boom. it took me about 6 years to get to this point.”

  • Q: For the people who don’t know, you also made a short game called Alisa C64. How did that come about & is it just a simple version of Alisa or is it more than that? | “While I was working on the Alisa Demo, I was working at a DIY shop as a temporary job, I jumped from (dead-end job to dead-end job) hoping someday to get into the game industry, at this DIY shop I met a friend who is really into old PCs and games and he told me about the Commodore 64 and how easy it would be for me to make games in BASIC. My brother left a C64 at my parents’ house so I decided to pick that up and give it a try. So I made a simple score-based Alisa game. The usable memory in BASIC is so small that the game could only be score-based and not a real demake.”

Interrogating witnesses will lead you in the right direction

  • Q: What were some of the development challenges you faced when creating Alisa? | “The biggest challenge was programming. I was still learning and so the base of the game was really bad. Causing a lot of bugs and there was no time and budget to redo it, So I spent a lot of time patching. Another challenge was self-employment in Belgium. It’s expensive… So I moved to my wife’s country, Japan.”
  • Q: What are some of your favorite additions in Alisa: Developer’s Cut? | “My favorite part is the endings I think. That was fun to make and probably the biggest addition. Together with the second shop, which was a pain to make in comparison.”

The mansion is beautifully crafted

  • Q: Reading online it is clear that many people have enjoyed Alisa over the last couple of years. Any plans for a sequel? | “I have plans to expand its universe by creating spin-offs, a prequel, and a sequel somewhere in the future. But since I love all types of games, I want to create many different games that don’t necessarily follow the character, Alisa. But even if I make a medieval fantasy game or a sci-fi shooter, this will all be connected to the events of Alisa, all the same universe, just a different time and place.”
  • Q: What is next for you in terms of game development? | “I just finished a small semi-metroidvania game for the MSX2 (a Japanese gaming PC from the 80s). It will be available for free on itch(dot)io and on a physical cartridge. Of course all playable on real hardware. After that, I’ll be finishing some commission work for enemy models for the upcoming game Rogue Mansion by Almenara Games. And after that… Alisa DLC?”

  • Q: If budget wasn’t an option, what would be your next dream project to make? | “I wrote down at least 10 games I would love to create. I wouldn’t know what’s next. Maybe create all of them at once? Which isn’t possible. The real problem of game development isn’t money, it’s time… While game development is still my hobby (a paid hobby though), I just love doing it all myself. Marketing not so much.”