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Team Spotlight: Haley Malin, Writer & Narrative Designer

Hi, everyone! I'm Haley, one of the scriptwriters working on Forage Friends here at Pie Trap. I live in Austin, Texas, and have been working in the games industry for about four years now. Some of past credits include the visual novel Lovestruck (as a writer) and the JRPG Evertale (as a narrative designer.) I'm excited to tell you a little more about myself, and maybe give you a taste of what you can expect from Forage Friends' story.

What's the best part of working as a writer in the games industry?

Definitely the feeling of creating something original that so many people will get to enjoy. I've always thought that story and characters were a vital component of any game. Having an engaging gameplay loop is important, and many landmark titles early on in gaming history had relatively little story, but I think it says a lot about the importance of story that as our capacity to create more complex games has increased, narrative has moved much more to the forefront of developers' minds.

What's something tough about working as a writer?

Writer's block, for sure. Especially in a title without an urgent central plot (like most cozy genre games), sometimes the character will laze around in your brain and offer drabble ideas instead of inspiring you to work on the plot beat you're at in the story. And I love writing drabbles that explore who a character is in their downtime – it's just not always appropriate when you're two-thirds into a completed story!

There's also pressure to know absolutely everything as a writer. We've all seen the YouTube videos debunking mistakes in period pieces or heist movies, and when you watch enough of those, suddenly you're researching the details on manicures in the 1890s instead of actually working on your script. Still, these are minor problems overall. I wouldn't trade my job for the world.

What is it like working on Forage Friends?

It's incredibly fun! The team is very close knit, and we all really believe in improving ourplayers' mental [and physical] health through the game. We all love Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, so there's never been any conflict about Forage Friends' tone or goals. Plus, watching the prototype art slowly roll in is always a dopamine hit. Our artists are so talented, they've done a fantastic job creating a soft but realistic image for our game world.

What kind of impact are you hoping to make with the release of Forage Friends?

In the end, I hope the game encourages players to get out and see more of the beauty in their everyday world. I'll always remember the summer that Pokemon Go came out. Seeing so many people walking around outside, exploring cool landmarks, and talking to strangers was incredibly inspiring for me as a budding game developer. It showed me just how much of an effect a game can have on a community, and how much power the medium has to create change. If we encourage even one person to walk everyday and engage with the world around them, I'll be content.

What's an interesting fact about you?

I studied opera in college and continue to work as a classical singer! I also figure skate in my free time and keep up with the competitive scene religiously. Maybe someday I'll wake up in a timeline where people care about it as much as they care about football…sigh. (I'm kidding, any sport or hobby people get joy from is lovely.)

Can you give us a hint of what you're writing right now?

If you like tall, dark, and handsome men with mysterious pasts – or stories about art heists – you're going to love my first character! Keep an eye out for him on Forage Friends' social media. He's pretty beefy, you can't miss him. ;)

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Vannessa Wong
Vannessa Wong
Jul 06, 2023

Does Haley have any socials we can follow :)?

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