We caught up with Stolen Couch Games, the Netherland-based studio responsible for the charming paradise sim Castaway Paradise, just in time for their fresh re-release. July 31 marks a landmark day for the title, as it makes the leap from Steam and mobile darling to console champion. We wanted to find out more about Stolen Couch Games and their process, and they were kind enough to give us the inside scoop on their Animal Crossing-inspired town builder.
|| What’s the history of Stolen Couch Games? Give us a crash course on your studio. How were you conceived? Where are you located? Who’s your team?
Since we first formed a studio back in the distant past of 2010, we’ve been based in Hilversum, the Netherlands – it’s lovely here! We have a team of five contributors, some permanent and other more informal colleagues we have worked with many times over the years when we have a need for their skills.
|| We have to know more about your name. It’s not every day we see a studio with a name as memorable as yours. What’s the story?
We, uh, stole a couch. We needed it! And inventing names is difficult ;)
|| What inspired the move to consoles for Castaway Paradise? Your paradise sim released originally in 2014 and for 2018 is coming to PS4 and Xbox One on July 31. Why consoles, why now?
A console version of Castaway Paradise had been on our minds for some time, but we were busy with many other projects. When we finally had some free time coming up, we looked at the Xbox and PS4 stores, and were surprised to see that there still weren’t many options for games offering an Animal Crossing type experience! That’s when we decided to make the move.
|| Why the Animal Crossing comparison? Castaway Paradise openly describes itself as being similar to Animal Crossing. What would you tell Animal Crossing enthusiasts to encourage them to give your iteration a try?
We were inspired by Animal Crossing (as well as other games like Harvest Moon) and we never wanted to hide that inspiration! It’s inspired by Animal Crossing, but is focused on quests and doing fun tasks. Meet some quirky characters, rebuild the island, and decorate everything how you like it!
|| What are some of the updates made to Castaway Paradise since its original 2014 launch? Have there been a series of substantial updates for gameplay, or has it been mostly preserved in its original form?
We’ve added a lot of new free content packs since the original launch, with cool seasonal content as well as themed packs like our hospital, China and soccer packs. The gameplay itself has proven to be solid from the start, so there have been less changes there. Controller support is the biggest gameplay related change that we’re working on, which fits naturally with the upcoming console releases.
|| In what ways does Castaway Paradise enjoy continued developer support? We saw seasonal events mentioned, and some particularly charming Christmas-themed goodies. How does the experience of Castaway Paradise continue to grow and improve every year?
The seasonal events completely change the appearance of the island! They have their own special items for you to buy and decorate with, and of course these can be combined with all the clothing and furniture from the other content packs. When you add it all together, the number of ways you can combine things gives you nearly limitless options.
|| What’s next for Stolen Couch Games? Are there other titles currently in development that your fans can look forward to?
As mentioned above, there will be many free seasonal content updates throughout the year. We also have a companion app called Castaway Home Designer, which shares characters and themes, but offers a completely new experience. Right now we’re very focused on getting Castaway Paradise onto consoles, and beyond that we don’t have any definitive plans just yet. It’s been great returning to Castaway Paradise.
|| What defines Stolen Couch Games as a studio? What’s your in-house motto for developing games that you want players to know about?
We want to bring fun experiences to the masses. We saw that a lot of people wanted an Animal Crossing like experience for console, so we saw an audience for Castaway Paradise. For us, games are about fun experiences, so you could say that’s our motto – bringing fun to as many people as possible.