Joining The Switch Effect on today’s Industry Interview is Philippe Mesotten, Founder of Not a Company, creator of Hoverloop, and Trekkie at heart. Previously a VFX Artist at TtGames, having worked on LEGO Marvel Avengers and LEGO Dimensions, Philippe moved back to Belgium and began his own gaming company on January 2, 2017. With Philippe’s successful Kickstarter for his upcoming game, Hoverloop, completed, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to learn more about Not a Company as well as Hoverloop.
Philippe, thank you for giving us this interview. Before we get into it, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with the gaming industry?
Coming from a small country, Belgium, I always thought it would be really hard to get into the gaming industry, since almost all the big gaming companies are abroad. Finishing my secondary school degree in Computer Management, I was told about a new game development bachelor, Digital Arts & Entertainment at Howest. So after a few years of blood sweat and tears, Larian Studios in Gent accepted me as a VFX intern in my last year, to work on Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition, which was an amazing experience!
When I got my bachelor’s degree, I went on and got my first “real” job in the industry, as a VFX Artist at Traveller’s Tales, just over the “Channel”, in England. But after a little while, the urge to create something that was entirely my own, was too great, so I founded Not A Company! This also meant the return to my tiny, beer, fries and chocolate filled country.
What was your first console/game you owned?
Actually, the first console I owned was the original Xbox, yes, with the oversized “The Duke” controller. I spent many many hours playing Halo: Combat Evolved with my friends. Man, what a game that was! The first console I spent lots of hours on wasn’t actually mine. It was the NES or Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Mario Bros. 3.
Growing up, what inspired you to pursue a career in the gaming industry?
Well, the fact that in gaming, you can imagine and do everything in the entire universe, from taking a trip to the moons of Jupiter to fighting off beasts with ancient magic. Creating games, I find the freedom of creativity even higher, since you can sculpt the experience for the player to your imagination. The first time I thought, oh, I really want to create games when I’m older, was when I was creating maps and new types of weapons on paper as a kid, for the game Nox on PC.
The first time I actually came in contact with game development, as an amateur, was creating playable online maps for Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. It’s really an amazing feeling when you see people playing the things you have created.
Can you speak about your time at TtGames?
It was a big step in my personal development. Not only was it my first real job in the industry, it was also the first time I officially rented a house on my own, and abroad! But, I had a blast, both in living in England and in working at TtGames. My colleagues were amazing people, I mean come on, they all create video games! Constructing LEGO games I could work with lots and lots of great IP’s: Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, Mission Impossible, Adventure Time, you name it.
All of us at The Switch Effect want to wish you BIG congratulations on your successful Kickstarter campaign for your company’s debut title, Hoverloop. What were the feelings and emotions as your campaign was initially running and ultimately when you saw it exceeded its original goal?
Thank you! We were nervous and suffering from insomnia for a whole month, but ecstatic when we got funded! A big thanks to everyone that supported us, you have made Hoverloop possible.
Hoverloop is a split screen arcade combat game where you can fight one-on-one or in teams with customizable drones in a variety of game modes. Where did the idea for Hoverloop originate?
Working in England, I found myself not having the time anymore to spend my days gaming as I used to when I was younger. The energy to learn new complex games and play things like MMORPGs where you have to spend hours and hours grinding, was very low. My all-time favorite split screen game, Halo, also decided not to include split screen in its latest installment, Halo 5. So, I thought to myself, why not create a game easy to get into for everyone, even if they don’t have heaps of time to play it. And like that, the first idea of Hoverloop, a split screen online/offline multiplayer party game, was born!
Can you provide an update as to the current status?
We are aiming for 8-10 game modes, currently we have 7 working ones, offline. At this very moment we are making sure the game will also be playable online, which takes a lot of time as you can imagine. While we are doing that, we are also creating some more levels/customizables and redoing some things that we were not satisfied with. We are aiming to come to Early Access in the near future, think ending of December 2017 – February 2018.
Let’s “switch” gears a bit. We at The Switch Effect are obviously huge fans of Nintendo’s newest console, the Nintendo Switch. What are your thoughts on the system?
Great console for party games that is accessible to all. To be honest, I do not own one, so I am not very familiar with it.
Could fans expect to see Hoverloop glide over to the Switch in the future?
We might do that, if we finished the final build for PC and Xbox On. So that could still take a while!
Where can our readers follow future updates from Not a Company?
We are always active on Twitter and Facebook and in the future we will also have a Discord server. The link to the server will be shared on Twitter and Facebook.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share?
We are open to future relations with publishers, so, if you are a publisher reading this, feel free to contact us!
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with The Switch Effect and our readers. We look forward to future updates regarding Hoverloop and are eagerly counting down until release day!