Interview with Juho Kuorikoski

Juho Kuorikoski at Horsefly Games

I got the chance to interview Juho Kuorikoski from Horsefly Games, particularly about his upcoming game Hyperdrive Inn as well as his past and future in the video games industry. Check out the interview below.

Question 1:

MH: What was your inspiration for getting into developing video games?

JK: Well, I got Commodore 64 as a birthday present when I turned 6, so I’ve been playing games as far as I can remember.

I’ve been developing games for the past ten years or so. The first commercial title I was involved in was Lydia, which was released in 2017. It was pretty big deal here in Finland, so that was a good starting point.

I’ve release two other commercial titles, Good Mourning in 2020, and Local News with Cliff Rockslide this May for Nintendo Switch & August for PC and I’ve always been fascinated by games and especially the way they can tell stories.

I’ve been a part-time game journalist here in Finland for 15 years or so and written seven non-fiction books about games (only in Finnish, unfortunately). So I’ve been neck-deep in everything related to games for quite some time.

Juho at Horsefly Games

Question 2:

MH: Where did the idea of Hyperdrive Inn come from?

JK: For Hyperdrive Inn, I wanted to make an adventure game that could be completed several times, and for each playthrough the game would be different. Traditional point & click adventure games are usually considered to be “complete and forget” type of experiences, so I got into thinking that could I do things a bit different.

At its core, Hyperdrive Inn is an adventure game that utilizes game-specific narrative tools, such as mathematics to alter the way the story is experienced. For each playthrough, a random set of levels is selected and presented to the player.

These levels are, of course, interconnected so we’re not using random content just for the sake of it. It’s interesting to see how people will react to this. There’s enough content for at least three distinct playthroughs and then some for replay value. The game takes place in an infinite hotel, so there is a solid foundation for randomized content in the narrative as well. In this kind of environment anything can happen, and that’s what we’re aiming at.

We don’t want the players to think they’re inside a hotel, so we’re really trying to break the traditional idea of interconnected rooms to deliver something unique. I’m not working on this alone. Film composer Juhana Lehtiniemi is making an Finnish folk music inspired soundtrack for the game which really, really compliments the visuals. I also have two very talented graphic artists onboard, Kriina Rytkönen draws character portraits and Henri Tervapuro is working on the environments with me.

Question 3:

MH: Was it with thanks to another game or an idea that was floating around in your head? – We love the idea of scanned fabrics to give it that unique look.

JK: At first, I was prototyping the game to be an FPS adventure game. It just didn’t feel right, so I started to gravitate towards a 2D game – which was definitely the right call.

The fabric graphics came into play when I was thinking how can I create stunning visuals with a limited budget. I did some tests with an old scanner and a bunch of tablecloths and really liked the visuals.

Then I made a few phone calls and was able to gather hundreds upon hundreds of different fabric samples from a few local companies that do furniture upholstery. So basically the idea for visuals became from the necessity.

Question 4:

MH: What is your favourite part, so far, of making Hyperdrive Inn?

JK: I’ve used quite a bit of time to optimize my workflow, so now I’m doing just the fun stuff – content.

I really don’t mind the technical aspects of game development, but I’m very happy that everything related to tech is now sorted out, and I can just focus on developing content.

I love old-school adventure games, especially titles made by LucasArts. So it’s really, really fun to come up with different puzzle ideas and combine them to the narrative.

Juho at Horsefly Games

Question 5:

MH: Other than making Hyperdrive Inn, do you have plans for any more games? If so, do you know what the game would be like?

JK: Yes, I run a business, so I’m constantly trying to figure out what to do when this game is released. Probably it’s going to be an adventure game of sorts, but I really don’t have a solid idea yet on what to do next.

It would be fun to try mix traditional adventure game mechanics to something else entirely – say, a bullet hell game or something like that.

Question 6:

MH: What’s the biggest reward (if any) would you say you have received in your video game career? This can be professionally or personally.

JK: Well, I received and Arts Grant from Finnish Cultural Foundation to make Hyperdrive Inn. It has been a real life-saver, as now for the first time it’s possible for me to focus entirely on game development.

While I have my own game studio, I’ve been making my previous games with the classic indie mentality: Work to pay bills, develop games on your free time.

Other than that, Lydia, the game I mentioned before, won a whole bunch of awards here in Finland. That was so cool, and I’d really like to be able to make something similar in the future.

Question 7:

MH: Can you think of a moment that nearly made you quit developing games?

JK: Well, I’d be lying if I said it’s all been a breeze.

Game development is a tough trade, and there are no easy winnings. I suffered a pretty severe burnout after Lydia was released which made me quit game development for years.

I want to think that I learned from that awful experience. But I think game development requires a tough skin. All the games I’ve been making before Hyperdrive Inn have been commercial failures, especially Local News with Cliff Rockslide, which hasn’t found its audience.

And that is a tough pill to swallow. I’m so grateful for the arts grant I mentioned previously. Without it developing Hyperdrive Inn at this scale would have been impossible.

Juho at Horsefly Games

Question 8:

MH: Finally, when developing games, does this still feel like a fun task or a chore at times? Be honest.

JK: It’s one or the other. At times, I feel myself like a genious, and at times, foolish as a boot. There seems to be no middle ground.

I really don’t think you can rely just on inspiration alone, game development is a chore at times, but I think that can’t be avoided.

Those few moments when you really nail something awesome do make up for it. But you never get anything done if you think it’s going to be just smooth sailing.

So, there we have it, I would like to thank Juho for sparing some time to answer my questions. I also wish him and Horsefly Studios the best of luck with the launch of Hyperdrive Inn. If you are keen to get this onto your wishlist, you can visit the official Hyperdrive Inn Steam Page.

Head on over to X (formerly Twitter) to show Horsefly Games some love on their official profile. You can also watch the official teaser trailer for Hyperdrive Inn below.

You Might Also Like

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x