Lisa Rye interview | Funny way

Jodie and I had a chat with Australian game developer Lisa Rye at PAX Australia 2013 this week. We asked her about her most recent game, Freedom Fall, which releases on iOS today and is already out for Windows, Mac OS, Android and the OUYA. Keeping in mind that she is also quite passionate about the role of women in the gaming industry, we took the opportunity to ask her a few questions regarding her thoughts on recent happenings in gaming.

Lisa Rye is primarily an artist with a very active DeviantArt account. As such, Freedom Fall‘s story is not told by having its main characters interact face-to-face; rather, the main character gains an insight into his captor’s mind through the hilarious scribbles that the Princess leaves on the walls as he descends her tower to freedom.

Rye holds a degree in multimedia design. She is a concept artist and digital illustrator who loves games, pop culture and all things Japanese. She even lived in Osaka for a year. Before working on Freedom Fall, Rye worked as the lead artist at Different Methods, a Perth-based development studio. She assisted in the development of an educational game called Skoolbo and a tactical tank game aptly named Tanktical. She moved on to her current job at Stirfire Studios after Different Methods closed its doors.

Lisa Rye interview | Princess cosplay
A Princess cosplay outfit made by Rye herself. She and her sister took home the 2011 Madman National Cosplay Championship here in Australia.

Without further ado, check out the talk we had with Rye below.

What made you want to create Freedom Fall, and what inspired the game?

I was inspired by a lot of different games that I’ve played. Japanese games such as Chrono Trigger and Japanese culture have been a big part of making Freedom Fall. Japanese culture has most certainly influenced my work, having lived there and [spoken] the language. I wanted to create a game that turns stereotypes on [their] head, which is why it features a princess who definitely doesn’t need any saving.

How many people worked on the game, and what was you role in it?

We had about seven people working on Freedom Fall. I was the creative director, so I wrote the story, the characters and the Princess’ writing on the wall. I also helped to design the levels in the game.

What do you plan to do after Freedom Fall?

Well, I’d like to do more on Freedom Fall, expand on the world and the characters some more. I do have some plans for brand-new games, but I’m not able to talk about them just yet.

Freedom Fall | Princess art

How do you feel about the many articles in the media recently about women and gaming?

I would like to see an even percentage of men and women in the industry, which includes women becoming generally more qualified to be able to take on these jobs. Women shouldn’t be afraid to work in an environment that is dominated by men; they should do what they want to do.

I also think a lot more women have started coming out and becoming a part of the industry recently. It is also notable that with more women in gaming, they will feel more comfortable actually playing games and being part of the community. If a woman sees another girl playing a game, they feel like they can be a part of that; they feel they can play that game because other women are, as well.

What are your thoughts on Julie Larson-Green, a female professional in the industry, being put in charge of all of Microsoft’s hardware and software?

I think it’s a great step forward for women in games. It’s good to see a woman so high up in the gaming industry who is that highly qualified. Hopefully, it will cause other girls to think to themselves, ‘If she can do it, I can do it, too’, and encourage them to move forward in the industry.

What advice could you give to women looking to get into the gaming industry?

Get out there and go for it. If you’ve got a great portfolio, just get out there and show you stuff. It’s important to have confidence.

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