"We relocated to Uzbekistan and assembled our animation studio," Kirill Zolovkin from Heart Core about the main thing for 2022

On the eve of the New Year, App2Top continues to publish interviews from the “Results” series, in which it interviews top managers of the gaming industry (and related ones) about how the year has passed for their company and the market. Next up is an interview with Kirill Zolovkin, an indie developer and founder of the Heart Core studio.

Tell us what the year was like for you personally, where are you now, were there any things that you finally managed to realize and are proud of?

I am proud that I jumped into the unknown from an understandable corporate AAA, that I found love, returned the IP, followed the dream and assembled a team of nuggets that created something beautiful, despite the risky alteration of everything.

Indeed, everything has been redone, starting with the once blue typewriter, which turned into a furious bike, and ending with the plot, now completely reworked by the Netflix Originals screenwriter. Our cutscenes were brought to mind by Oscar and Cannes laureates, and the lead environment artist Atomic Heart was responsible for the final locations.

The year was spent in seven new countries and hundreds of meetings at dozens of conferences.

Flew around the world from Singapore to the west coast of the USA. In Los Angeles, he became friends with the creators of indie hits Gish, Hyper Light Drifter and Samurai Gunn.

I visited the legendary Glitch City, where the cult documentaries Verge and Indie Game were filmed: The Movie.

I received excellent reviews about Gripper from Mao Sugiyama from Nintendo. I was drinking on top of a Singapore skyscraper with a Microsoft producer.

Finally, Shuhei Yoshida, the ex-director of Sony and the uncle who showed the new PlayStation in my childhood, came with a delegation of five deputies and played Gripper. He liked it. He tweeted about it:

What was the year like for the company? What have you done, implemented, and what in general would I like to highlight in terms of achievements?

We not only survived the storm, but helped our colleagues to relocate and built a studio from scratch with offices in three countries.

We are nearing the end of the development of Gripper, this marathon of five years. Next year we are launching on all PC platforms and Nintendo Switch simultaneously. And we also plan to launch on Xbox and PlayStation next.

We won the Epic Mega Grant. They relocated to Uzbekistan and assembled their animation studio: now the Gripper characters are smiling and waving.

With a small team, we have made a huge leap in the level of production. The new Gripper trailer, even if assembled in a day, is now shameless to pitch to big players:

How has the situation changed for the company in the gaming market? What new challenges from the point of view of development and management have she faced?

In addition to the obvious challenges (where to live), there are also challenges in where to look for personnel, as well as in which audience to sell to (after all, we have globalized even more).

And, of course, it’s difficult to manage all platforms and raise marketing without the publisher of one indie studio.

What was the year like for the genres in which you work?

In our genre — boss battles in arenas — nothing remarkable happened this year. There was Death’s Door in the past, and Hades II was just announced.

However, the year was rich in cool action.

For example, I was pleased with Sifu. The animation quality of the game is at a fantastic level! And so many cool design solutions! The mechanics of the hero’s aging alone (the more the hero dies, the older he gets) is worth it!

Neon White struck with insane dynamics, rhythm and crossing of genres (the game is a mix of FPS and card battler).

I am glad that after the release of BPM: Bullets Per Minute, more rhythm FPS began to appear. A good example of this is Metal: Hellsinger, which implemented this mechanics at the AAA level. Even this year, they gave us a demo of Anger Foot — very cheerfully and to the rhythm of the music. Rhythm is our everything.

The cyberpunk setting did not disappoint in indie performance – Stray showed an amazing level of production. There is something to strive for.

Atomic Heart, apparently, will become a legend in its niche. At least, I am confident in their universe and the ability to sell it: just a collaboration with IGN (look at how many videos there are) is worth a lot.

Replaced from a clone of The Last Night turned into its best version. I was very impressed with her latest trailer.

I’m looking forward to next year. There are so many cool indies coming out — oh!

What are your plans for next year?

Release Gripper on all platforms. Launch a new project. Start pre-production of the third in a new genre. Build your own marketing direction. To remain the indie team that inspires. Underline what is necessary.

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