An interview with a gifted developer and the CEO of Akupara Games, David Logan:

Akupara Games is an established game developing / publishing studio based in Los Angeles, California. It is an “indie for indies” support studio. It also helps its customers by carefully selecting the game and then are fully dedicated to help in each game.

The recently developed company has an esteemed position in the indie gaming market now with several launched games. I feel very excited about the work of Akupara Games & decided to approach them for an interview. They obliged me by approval. The interview session is conducted with a worthy developer & CEO of Akupara Games, David Logan.

CEO of Akupara Games, David Logan
CEO of Akupara Games, David Logan

Hi David and a warm welcome to Games Cover!

Q1. Thanks for taking time with us, could you kick things off by telling about Akupara Games, yourself, & who has inspired you in your life?

A. Hi, thanks for having me and it’s great to be talking with all of you. I’m David Logan, CEO of Akupara Games. We’re a developer and publisher based in Los Angeles, and we’ve been working on and releasing titles since 2016. We see ourselves as an “indie for indies” support studio, supporting other indie studios through offering development services/porting/publishing/consultation in order to better their projects within the indie landscape. I myself have been around the indie games space for awhile now, with my first commercial release being Whispering Willows in 2014. That game has since been one of Akupara Games’ flagship publishing titles, with its aesthetic and targeted demographic driving our project signing for the upcoming years. Given the direction we’re moving, it shouldn’t be too surprising that I’m inspired by David Firth - the creator of Salad Fingers - for the way he tells weird and creepy stories, while bringing in distinct humor and writing.


Q2. Could you share some of the early stages of your life that led you to becoming a video game developer / publisher?

Whispering Willows
Whispering Willows
Image Credit: Akupara Games

A. Back in undergrad, I majored in Applied Computer Graphics - computer art and animation for Film/TV/Games) with a minor in Video Game Design. Soon after, I worked at a company called Animax where one day I told my boss that I wanted to create a video game. Together, we started a studio called Night Light Interactive where we developed a demo of Whispering Willows. We entered it into the OUYA Create Game Jam, where it was well received. One successful Kickstarter later, and we had our first commercial title! In addition to Whispering Willows, I worked on a few other development titles which we were able to partner up with a publisher. It was actually through these experiences where we were able to learn about the role of a publisher and the impact they have on a game’s launch and overall lifespan. At times, we felt like our project wasn’t being taken care of in the way it needed, so we ended up taking on a more proactive role and filling in the holes left behind by our publishers. Once we felt that we had a firmer understanding, that was when we took it upon ourselves to become the type of publisher we wished we had - one who is as invested and passionate towards their signed titles and creating unique campaigns that gets people talking and ultimately excites the developer.


Q3. How was the process & experience of developing / publishing your first game?

A. Being my first time arranging and leading a full team on Whispering Willows as both Creative Director and Producer, I learned a lot from that experience - much of which I’m still doing today. It was a very eye-opening experience to be on the other side of a game and be thinking about the user experience. Since I’m not hugely part of the narrative adventure playerbase, I was able to add an insight and offer something that was a bit different from those who were largely integrated in that space. Taking a step back and knowing what I know now, it’s clear to see what things we were doing well and where we could have vastly improved, not only in the development pipeline, but also the overall type of experience we could have offered. It has definitely allowed me and my team to account for features and accessibility options during pre-production. Ultimately creating Whispering Willows allowed me to form lifelong friendships and I’m still working with key members from that team to this day.

As for publishing, this was where we were able to be a little bit crazier and stretch our creativity. In addition to employing tried-and-true strategies that work, we love exploring out-of-the-box ideas to generate buzz around titles. For our first publishing title, we definitely experimented a lot which included a lot of fun ideas that both worked well and definitely could be improved on in future attempts. At the time, our marketing team was pretty small, so we didn’t have a rounded out perspective to catch some of the logistics or provide insight to maximize the potential. Despite all that, we’ll always fondly remember our tall Scandinavian friends who we got dressed up as vikings to carry huge signs promoting our game at E3!


Q4. What game are you working on?

Gone Viral
Gone Viral
Image Credit: Akupara Games

A. We recently launched our psychedelic platformer Spinch on PC and the Nintendo Switch. Soon after that came the Early Access launch of our roguelite brawler Gone Viral, which we will be actively continuing marketing and promotional efforts over the next year.

As for our development teams, we’re always working on something. We can’t say much right now, but we’ve got something really exciting coming out in collaboration with a pretty big celebrity.


Q5. What makes your games unique?

A. The one standout aspect you’ll see when looking through our library of titles is that each one has a very high standard of visual appeal. The aesthetics and artistic choices being made are incredibly distinct. You’ll notice a lot of different styles ranging from pixel art, to various hand-drawn styles, to 3D models - these are all testament to the different developers we’ve partnered with and their own respective talents.

Aside from that, you’ll notice our games each have very distinct voices that come out in the themes of the game and its gameplay. Like mentioned above, we’re currently in the process of narrowing the focus of our library for future titles. If you’re looking for chills and thrills, you’ll love what’s to come next.


Q6. How do you handle bugs in your games?

A. Handling bugs is a collaborative process between our QA, programmers, and producers through a pipeline we’ve established and fine-tuned. Once we’ve determined a list of bugs that came up during development/porting or QA, the team works together to determine the priority at which the bugs are addressed - game breaking, performance, visual, audio, etc. Once the game has launched, there may be situations where we start getting community reports. This is when our Community Managers join this process, as they are directly communicating with users to get as much information as possible. It then comes back to our producers and programmers determining priority for patch updates - what gets fixed and when.


Q7. What are your upcoming projects?

A. If you haven’t already checked it out, we recently announced a Soulslike Metroidvania title, GRIME, through IGN. It’s one of our biggest titles to date, jam packed with tight action combat with a difficulty that will challenge the skill of any player. This is the developer’s first commercial release and based on the reception it has been receiving with their announcement and social media presence, we foresee this to be a big splash for them.

The Darkside Detective Season 2
The Darkside Detective Season 2
Image Credit: Akupara Games

For those looking for a game that is a bit more relaxed on the gameplay and want a good laugh through a supernatural romp, you’ll definitely want to look into The Darkside Detective as we prepare for the launch of its second season!


Q8. Any advice would you like to give young aspirants in your field who want to be successful like you?

A. Always be learning and do your research. It can be easy to lean into your instinct and gut, but being able to make informed decisions is helpful too! It’s great to look into successful titles that are similar to your title, but you should also look into similar titles that didn’t do well. See what people are saying and not saying. Something you might often see an indie developer is, “We make games we want to play”, which is great. But if you’re looking to sell that game and be a financial success, is that game what the market wants to play?

Making a good game is of course a big part of the picture, but the art of marketing/publishing is another big part. It’s not just strategy and that “cold” side, but there is a “warm” side of marketing that is based on psychology. Knowing how to reach your audience and connect them to you and your game is vital. Just remember this about your consumer: the best predictor of future behavior is their past behavior. The thing you have to know about this is that it’s really not concrete in the slightest way, but it really is the best assumption you can make.


Akupara Games has been known for its high standard of visual appeal artwork, unique sounds, aesthetic appeals, & artistic choices. Akupara Games has been in close collaboration with various talented and versatile developers having specialties in their own fields. The company is looking forward to narrowing its library.

GRIME - Akupara Games
Credit: Akupara Games

Akupara Games has recently revealed a Soulslike Metroidvania title, GRIME, which is one of the company’s biggest games to date. GRIME is receiving big reception from fans after its announcement, & the studio predict that it could be their next major success.


Thank you David for taking time & sharing your story. I am thrilled at the marvelous library of your games & your climb rate in the indie market. I wish you greater achievements in future too.

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