In Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield, Neil Jones made the game he always wanted to see


The battle for gaming involvement had always been at the forefront of Neil Jones ’heart.

The idea of ​​seeing the protagonists in video games that looked like him was something he felt would help take the gaming experience to a new level, and he knew this was true of other players as well. So, when Jones had time to come up with a concept and direction Aerial_Knight’s never unproductive, he had already decided to take advantage of the idea of ​​inclusion as one of his many forms of inspiration. Jones set out alone to create a gaming experience and narrative that attracted players from all backgrounds.

“Dad wrote a comment on Twitter about how he really enjoyed the game with his son and helped him with the game’s difficult levels,” says black game developer and game creator Jones. Never produce. “It gave me feedback on playing with my grandmother as a child in Detroit. Growing up, I spent a lot of time outside of casual games to play with other kids around me as well. I think that’s why I love video games so much; they are for everyone and everyone can play. “

Born and raised in Detroit, the city with the largest number of African Americans in the United States, Jones understands the importance of diversity, inclusion, and representation. Before becoming a full-fledged game developer, Jones began working in small application-based studios that specialize primarily in making applications for cars. He also assisted in smaller projects with his friends, such as Dotin home, a game that explores the historical injustices of housing that black people face, and Clique, aptly described as a game of prejudice.

This work experience fostered Jones ’understanding of his strengths and weaknesses in game development and helped him decide what he would do differently to continue the level of representation he achieved in collaboration with his friends. “Representation is important to me because the more of us all there are, the more interesting stories and ideas we need to make,” Jones says. “It’s not about the characters in the games, but it’s also about the members of the game development team.”

Jones ’mindset is in stark contrast to the mindset of the gaming industry, which often maintains the racial bias that exists outside and inside the gaming microcosm. Unfortunately, these obstacles lead to little or no black performance in the games made and the teams that create them, making black characters a mere stereotype. Jones wanted to work actively to get his share of it to correct this injustice, in doing so Aerial_Knight’s never unproductive, he made a conscious decision to work on the project himself.

“Some of the biggest hurdles I faced when I started a black developer were just taken seriously and made sure I didn’t let anyone come and try to change the vision of my game’s voice. That’s why I took care of everything, even cutting all the trailers myself. There really isn’t a team, just me, ”Jones says. “[With] Aerial_Knight’s never unproductive in particular, I had no difficulty with the difficulties as I had already given up playing the games and traversing the route. So no big company ended up seeing it until it was halfway through. I do not believe [these gaming companies] would have understood what I was going without playing it anyway. But [publisher] Headup and their affiliates spotted me during this presentation where I was involved in The Mix. I wasn’t looking for a publisher, but Headup’s email stood out from me, so they ended up helping me in the game towards the end of the development. “

Just like other developers of standalone video games, such as 5 power fighters and ValiDate, The creation of Jones Aerial_Knight’s never unproductive is a huge trade. It serves as one of the latest steps in a comprehensive march toward a much more comprehensive view of what gaming and the gaming industry should be: diverse stories and stories for different players. And Aerial_Knight’s never unproductive hopes to be just that.

Never produce is a three – dimensional endless side – scrolling runner, or “narrative runner,” as Jones passionately calls it, where the player must jump, line, slide, and compete to complete each level. The protagonist is a young black boy named Wally who has received a mysterious item from the heart of Tokyo-style Detroit that can help save the rest of humanity. Wally must travel through numerous culturally living environments and must avoid the obstacles and enemies that have found this stolen item.

“The concept of the game was always to take a cool game mechanic who’s been around for a while, mix it up a bit and make it really my own by adding a lot of styles you don’t normally find in that genre. That’s why I call it a ‘narrative runner.’ “I’m not one at a time,” Jones says, “I also think the protagonist Wally stands out a lot, especially in indie mode, not just because he’s a black protagonist, but because his story stands out. I hope the players have fun putting together his story and what’s going on in that world. “

Fans got a taste of his unique concept in April during the release of the game’s demo. Reaction? An overwhelming amount of anticipation, support and love. “You’re the first developer (to my knowledge) to have created a game with the protagonist who looks like my babies,” @DadPadGaming said on Twitter. “Stay strong because you show my kids that they can be heroes. #NeverYield #RepresentationMatters.” “You do an amazing job! Continue to represent us and kill it here,” says another Twitter user named @L1keMike. “Skip the haters!”

Along with his decision to create a match-breaking game, Jones also ensured that this passionate project would be an explosion of playability. Jones says he wants to take this particular genre forward with new and exciting game elements and invite genre players who might be playing this kind of game for the first time. “I added a lot, like how you control the character, adding story and shots, progression and repeatability,” Jones says. “People have contacted me after playing the demo and said how they don’t usually play these ‘types of games,’ referring to endless runners, but this really pulls them in.”

The culturally significant experiences that come from being black combined with Jones ’own unique experience and development skills are brilliant everywhere Never produce. These subtleties stand out Aerial_Knight’s never unproductive among past and present endless runners. It features a well-constructed soundtrack by Danime-Saman – a black protagonist with a prosthetic foot doing parkour – and little or no dialogue, shifting the player’s focus appropriately to the game’s culturally rich aesthetics and equally excellent music design. “I really don’t care much about dialogue. I wanted anyone, anywhere, to be able to play and enjoy this game, so I tried to do everything in animations, ”he says. “My intention is to do Aerial_Knight’s never unproductive was to give myself the opportunity to do something I would never have gotten otherwise. “

Aerial_Knight’s never unproductive launches on consoles and computers on May 19 during the turbulent times in the United States. The verdict in George Floyd’s case has sent shockwaves through the nation, and shameful police atrocities continue to affect African Americans at a disproportionate rate. Jones understands that his game doesn’t solve big issues on that front. Still, he hopes that the success of this game will create a moment of consolation where players will become more curious and interested in getting to know black-drawn games and getting to know the lives, experiences and stories that come with black rich culture people.

“I’m not sure how my game affects or can affect the whole industry. It also sounds like it would be a lot of pressure on me or anyone to think. I just hope enough people buy the game so I can make it more. If the game goes well, it shows that black characters are really selling well, ”Jones says. “The climate is definitely wild right now. So I hope people look at my game and understand that black talents who have never been given a chance to grow in the game industry; there are so many people who are so much better than me who were never given a chance. I hope the next wave of Black Game Devs will be given these opportunities. “

Aerial_Knight’s never unproductive will be released on May 19 on Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4 and PS5.


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