Meet Glass Revolver, the one-man studio behind upcoming ITTA, a superb bullethell indie with tantalizingly artistic visuals. ITTA is currently in development with a tentative release date of 2019, and is planned for a Steam launch. We had the pleasure of speaking with Jacob Williams, the talented developer behind it all, about his work and what we can look forward to come ITTA‘s much-anticipated release.
|| What’s the backstory of Jacob Williams, the man behind the magic of studio Glass Revolver? We hear you might just be the only man behind the magic. How did you begin your journey as a solo developer? Where are you from?
I’ve been playing around with gamemaker off and on since I was around 12 years old. It wasn’t until 2014 where I began to dive a little deeper into it and attempt to actually make something though, even then I was focused on making a career in film. However, as I started getting more involved with game dev I realized how much more I enjoyed it and how much I enjoyed working solo. Filmmaking is incredibly collaborative and that’s just not something I’m very good at… I’m very stubborn. I’m currently based in South Carolina, United States.
|| Where does the name Glass Revolver come from? We could speculate on possible metaphors, but we’ll just let you do the explaining.
“Glass Revolver” was the working title of an Acid Western I was writing prior to fully converting over to game development. It’s just a play off of “Glass Cannon” refitted for a western. I loved the title too much to get rid of it! I think it’s pretty visual and evocative for a studio name which I like.
|| How long has ITTA been in the works? We know it’s slated for 2019, and we know the publishing partnership with Armor Games Studios has allowed you to move to being full-time with ITTA. Conceptually, though – how and when did the dream of ITTA start?
I’ve been working on ITTA since January 2017. For the first 6 months I worked in administration at a medical facility and would just spend all my free time working on the game and posting updates on Twitter in an attempt to gain some sort of following. Conceptually the game was originally a super depressing Nuclear Throne clone I wanted to make for practice.
|| Could you expand on the thematic elements of ITTA? We heard that it has some more serious and morbid undertones than perhaps is observable at first glance.
Thematically I want ITTA to be a contrast of shallow serenity and peace (overworld areas) with shallow sadness and chaos (boss battles). Then underneath both those facades there’s a mix of depression, hope, displacement, understanding, religion etc. I don’t really need players to come away with a completely clear understanding of the game’s themes/ideas. I’d rather it subtly inform the way the game feels. People probably won’t take away a lot of the stuff I intended (from no fault of their own, it’s super opaque and vague). But they would probably notice that something was missing if it wasn’t there.
|| Blistering bullethell, or approachable challenge? Do you anticipate a semi-casual player being able to pick ITTA up and do well, or will this be a delightfully brutal challenge for the more eager gamer?
The game is meant to ease new players into the challenge through the first few bosses, however the game definitely isn’t easy so if someone simply doesn’t enjoy challenge, they probably won’t like the game. However there a few weapons that are meant to allow less skilled players to get by. There’s a laser weapon that destroys oncoming bullets if players are having exceptional trouble with bullet density and there’s a weapon with homing bullets for players that would rather focus on dodging projectiles rather than aiming. Neither of these are ideal weapons though so there’s incentive to use more skill based ones.
Players also don’t have to beat every boss in the game to win. After beating around 60% of the bosses, players can move onto the final challenge if they’d like. This is meant to give players the choice of skipping bosses they find too difficult, or simply don’t enjoy fighting. There are multiple endings though in order to incentivize beating more than the minimum amount of bosses.
|| How has your own life inspired your work with ITTA, if at all? Are there any personal stories behind the magic and the madness of this hotly anticipated indie?
I began while in a bad place and a lot of those original themes still carry over into the current version. As my quality of life increased I started gravitating towards more hopeful themes though. Other than that my life is pretty boring so it doesn’t have a huge effect on the content of the game haha.
|| What’s the first thing you’ll do when ITTA is finally completed? We know you must be working your tail off as a solo developer. Will you celebrate? Take a likely much-needed nap?
Thankfully I’m privileged to have parents that have allowed myself, my fiance, and my 2 dogs to live with them while making the game and lessening the financial burden so the first thing will be finding a new place for us to live. After that I’ll probably get to work on the post release content.
|| You’re stuck in Alaska with nowhere to go and nothing to do – but you do have three games with you. What games do you have (any console allowed) and why?
NieR: Automata, Monster Hunter 4G, Persona 4 Golden. Automata is a game I could experience a thousand times and still come away from in awe. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it. Monster Hunter 4G just has such a ridiculous amount of content and high skill ceiling that I could keep playing it forever and still feel like I’m getting better. Persona 4 would give me the socialization I need as I don’t think I’ve ever connected with video game characters quite like I have with that game!