Indie Studio Red Candle Games Aims For Global Market With Nine Sols

Red Candle Games, a renowned Taiwanese indie studio known for award-winning psychological horror hits like Detention and Devotion, is releasing its latest and most ambitious title, Nine Sols.

Laughing, the team’s co-founder and producer, Jim Yang, admitted that although they invested tremendous effort into the development hoping for recognition, winning the “Best Narrative” award at Indie Game Award 2024 was an unexpected delight.

The team at Red Candle Games meticulously crafted the narrative for Nine Sols with great care over an immense amount of text. Winning this award is undoubtedly the greatest affirmation of their hard work.

Yang candidly shared that not only is Nine Sols a completely new endeavor, but it is also intended as a stepping stone to crack into the Western market. The team went all-in, so both the player feedback during the crowdfunding stage and the judges’ endorsements have become the driving forces pushing them to continue striving.

The Red Candle Games team with their award

“Gamer-friendly” Approach Transcends Cultural Barriers Red Candle’s Cyberpunk World Strikes Back in the West

“There still seems to be a cultural gap when tapping the Western market,” Yang admitted. While their previous narrative-driven games resonated in the Chinese-speaking sphere, the team now has a broader international audience in their sights.

Recalling their own gaming experiences, the members felt less constrained by cultural norms when playing action combat titles, allowing them to immerse directly in visceral battle experiences. Thus, they ventured into uncharted territory with Nine Sols fresh “gamer-friendly” action platformer approach.

However, the team couldn’t help but worry about their fans’ reactions to this new direction. This marked Red Candle’s first foray into crowdfunding, prompted by a lengthy two-year process of polishing game mechanics that strained their finances.

After much discussion, they viewed crowdfunding as a “large-scale market survey” to gauge audience sentiment. Fortunately, positive responses from gamers worldwide reassured them. Yang laughed, “Phew! If gamers genuinely disliked it, it would have been doomsday for us creators.”

Situation Puzzle Discussions Spawn Game World-view — 15-Year-Old Spark Materializes Across Time

In crafting the distinctive “Taopunk” world-view melding cyberpunk and Taoism, Yang described their discussions as a “Situation Puzzle” where everyone throws out a myriad of ideas which slowly coalesced into a cohesive vision.

During the brainstorming of Nine Sols amid the cyberpunk craze, a teammate questioned why punk genres globally lacked a “Taopunk” or “Empress Dowager Punk” variation. Everyone embraced this cool concept, finding it a compelling basis for the game’s setting.

“As for incorporating the myth of Hou Yi shooting down the sun, it’s quite an uncanny story!” Yang chuckled. Since childhood, he jotted spontaneous fragmented ideas in an inspiration notebook. Around 15 years ago, his God of War obsession with badass Greek mythology sparked a thought – “What if Hou Yi shooting the sun was an alien?”

Unbelievably, this kernel laid dormant for 15 years until the Nine Sols discussions, where it resonated with the team as a brilliant merger of Yang’s childhood whimsy with the new game’s premise.

The Red Candle Games team hard at work

After winning “Best Design” for Detention in 2017, Yang admitted the team has always seen themselves as humble, fortunate developers. Therefore, they seize every opportunity, believing it unacceptable to miss out on Indie Game Award, which led to their resolute submission this year. They’re extremely elated to be recognized again.

With Nine Sols officially launching on Steam on May 29th, Yang emphasized that unlike their previous narrative-driven titles, this stylized side-scroller’s true appeal lies in its visceral combat fusing classic platforming with fast, brutal “Sekiro-lite” action sequences.

He hopes players will indulge firsthand in the rich ambiance and narrative the Taopunk world conveys. Yang emphasized, “Nine Sols is a game that demands to be played!”

Try the demo for Nine Sols on Steam, and earn bonus rewards and deals when you top up using Codashop.

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