Hello, forage friends! Can we call people interested in our game "the forage friends"? My name is Frances Maples and I'm a writer/narrative designer for, you guessed it, Forage Friends. I was born and raised in California, though I've also lived in New York and the Kansai region of Japan.
I've been working in the narrative department of game development for about six years now. But I've been writing longer than that, including playwriting, prose, and even writing and sound designing my own radio dramas. I've worked on a lot of queer indie games that only have a niche following, such as The Sweetest Thing and Sweet Enchantments. (What can I say, I like sweets!)
The most recognizable place I've worked so far is probably Sucker Punch, the AAA studio that made Ghost of Tsushima. I've also written and published various short stories. The most recent of these stories is in the anthology Longsummer Nights.
I first got interested in games when I was really young, playing Harvest Moon on my Game Boy Advance. The Harvest Moon series, now known as the Story of Seasons series, were some of the first games I ever played, and they made a huge impact on me.
You could say I was heavily invested in cozy games before the genre was even called "cozy games."
My love of that series is part of why it's such a treat to work on Forage Friends now. It feels like I've come full circle.
I still play the Story of Seasons games, but my taste has also expanded since back then. Hades, Thomas Was Alone, The Stanley Parable, and Her Story are all fascinating to me. I love seeing developers test the boundaries of how video games can convey a story. I'd highly recommend playing the above mentioned games if you want your mind blown. The Stanley Parable especially is one of the weirdest games I know of. It's a treat.
In my spare time, I do pretty much any nerdy hobby you can think of. I DM Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, read thick sci-fi and fantasy novels (I actually collect rare books), watch anime, play video games (obviously), and read serialized comic books. My weirdest hobby is probably doll collecting. (Not creepy Victorian dolls, though those are cool, too. I prefer doll lines like Monster High and Bratz.) I also love cuddling my two cats, Mabel Dumpling and Edward Meatball.
Here are my cats. Edward Meatball is gray and Mabel Dumpling is brown
Here's a bonus close-up of Mabel's snout.
And a bonus picture of that time Edward leapt into the microwave when I had my back turned for a split second. He didn't know how to get out again, so I had to save him. As soon as I carried him to safety he started purring and didn't want me to put him down. Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back
What advice would you give someone who is interested in getting into game development?
I would say this: Do game jams and personal projects, no matter how small and silly. It helps you practice your skills and meet people who also love making games. They'll be able to help you hone your craft, commiserate with you during challenges, and boost you up even at your lowest. I wouldn't be where I am now if I didn't have a group of developer friends who I met early on in my career. We've consistently supported each other through highs and lows and they've been able to give me a lot of tips on where to apply for jobs over the years.
Game development is a very collaborative career, and most people don't end up doing it all by themselves.
Unless you're Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone. But I'm sure even ConcernedApe appreciates having a community.
If you're interested, I'm @maples_frances on twitter. Thank you so much for taking an interest in Forage Friends!