The World Next Door is out today, and it’s the first game created from the partnership between Portland-based indie developer Rose City Games and publisher VIZ Media. A few days before release, Rose City co-founder and director of The World Next Door, Corey Warning, was able to chat with Cliqist over email. He discussed the new game while getting ready for launch and preparing for a showcase at Indie MEGABOOTH during PAX East.

Rose City Games was essentially born out of the work Will Lewis and Corey Warning did for the Cartoon Network Game Jam.

Cliqist: How did you get into game development? 

Corey Warning: I spent most of my 20’s touring around in bands, and eventually settled down in Portland, OR where I worked at a small record label for a few years. I started dabbling in game development with a few friends, and after being laid off at the label, I ended up in a marketing position at an even smaller indie game studio in town. I worked there for a year while getting more involved in the local gamedev community, the Portland Indie Game Squad (PIGSquad). I really enjoyed working with Will Lewis, who ran the meetups, and we eventually decided to team up and form our own studio.

What was it like making VIZ Media’s first game?

I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with labels and publishers in the past, and VIZ has been incredibly supportive of our studio. We’re allowed all the creative freedom we want, while still being able to rely on their expertise.

With your background in music, did you work closely with Andrew Matteson to create the game’s soundtrack?

We probably had the easiest time communicating during development, mostly because I speak that language better than other elements of game design. Luckily for me, Andrew is an amazing composer who needed very little creative direction for the music in The World Next Door. I learned a lot from working with a great producer during my time recording albums, and I think that helped me to steer the entire soundtrack in the right direction, while still allowing Andrew to maintain his vision for the songs.

Promotional art and animation by Gina Chacón for Andrew Matteson’s The World Next Door soundtrack, now available on Spotify, YouTube, and iTunes.

I was able to read the prelude comic to The World Next Door. It was a nice tie-in to the demo that the team shared at GDC. What was it like to work on a comic based on your game?

Portland has a lot of talented game developers, and also a huge pool of talent in the comic industry. Our co-producer Sandra Lanz worked in comics for years before joining the team and helped me put together an all star crew for that project. Something I hadn’t expected was how the comic would influence the story of the game. Since we were writing it at the same time, it really helped flesh out some of the characters’ backstories, and gave us more ideas for the IP as a whole. We also had a lot of support from VIZ for the comic, and teaming up with their editorial team was one of the most positive experiences I’ve had working with a publisher.

The comic leads directly into the story of The World Next Door.

When I spoke to Will Lewis, he mentioned Rose City Games’ future projects with VIZ Media. Could you talk more about that?

We currently have one other unannounced game in production with VIZ, and are planning on another after that. Working on extensions of the IPs outside of games, like the prequel comic, has been a blast, so I hope we’re able to do more of that!  

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, and good luck at PAX East.

About the Author

Alyssa Wejebe

Alyssa Wejebe writes about games, reads about games, and plays them too. RPG, hack-and-slash, and fighting games are some of her favorite genres. She loves nonhuman characters. One of her earliest gaming memories center around battling her grandmother and younger brothers in “Super Bomberman 2” on the SNES.

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