Denver Pop Culture Con


Author: Jorge Perez

Serenity Forge is a video game company based in Boulder, Colorado. They try to make games that challenge your thinking and create meaningful experiences. Their goal is to create games that will positively impact the world. I spoke with Software Engineer Kevin Adams and Artist and Designer Alicia Poon about their work and experiences at Serenity Forge.

When was Serenity Forge created?

Alicia Poon: Serenity Forge started about 5 years ago. We started with 5 people, and we were friends who made games. I think it was until 3 years ago we decided to expand into a legit company.

What was the first game that was created?

Poon: One of the earliest games, which our founder created, is called Loving Life. It’s an autobiography.

Kevin Adams: I don’t know if you know anything about our founder Z [Zhenghua Yang]. He had a pretty trying time in his life. I think it was his freshman year of college; he had an incident where he was inflicted with a rare disease in which he almost died, so he ended up in the hospital very close to death. He was able to survive from that experience. I think it gave him an appreciation for life. Video games are a big part of him getting through that. It gave him a lot of motivation and encouragement to tell his story and try to bring some good into the world. In many ways, the games we work on have some positive message or benefit.

While testing one of your games, I played The King’s Bird and Half Past Fate. Both games, in terms of genre, are very different. Bird was like a platform, and a bit of a puzzler, trying to figure out how to move the character through different passageways. Fate, from what I surmised, is also a puzzle-type game, but players have to figure out how to communicate with people. What is the main genre of games Serenity Forge focuses on when creating them?

Poon: It’s very much a case-by-case basis. The King’s Bird started out as a side project long ago while we had bigger projects we were working on. We saw potential in it and expanded its development to complete it.

Adams: A part of it comes from the variety of the different types of work that we do. We are a developer and also a publisher. Even in development, it is a mix of our own projects and projects people pay us to do, so it comes from different sources. The King’s Bird was a pet project that grew into something bigger, but sometimes we did not have the proper funding to complete it, so we had to put it to the side [to focus] on other projects that would help keep the company going. Statistically, our current most popular game is Lifeless Planet.

Do you have any projects coming up or have yet to be developed?

Adams: We are constantly pursuing new work and new projects. Some of it is very exciting, and some we cannot discuss, but they are exciting.

What do you guys do to wind down and relax for self-care?

Adams: We are fortunate as a studio that we try to maintain a 40-hour work week, which does wonders for your sanity. Because of the financial situation, it is very difficult for many studios to do that. We prioritize [self-care] because we think it helps us.

Learn more about Serenity Forge and their upcoming games at: http://serenityforge.com/

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