Nicoll Hunt – The Man Behind Fist Of Awesome
Nicoll Hunt is the owner of “I fight bears”, an “ultra-sexy micro development house based in North London” which develops “games for people with beards”. Can you imagine a better slogan for a software company? Reasons enough to do an interview with this guy, but actually he caught my attention because some weeks ago Nicoll launched a kickstarter campaign for his upcoming game “Fist of awesome” for iOS and Android.
“Fist of awesome” is, in his words, “a time-travelling-lumberjack-em-up, a sorely underrepresented genre by anyone’s metric” and to Nicoll’s knowledge, “the only game that lets you punch a full-grown grizzly bear in the face.” If you’re not excited now, you better leave this page because it may get even weirder …
For all those who are brave enough to stay: enjoy the interview we did with Nicoll and read about his love for facial hair, why he loves to punch bears right in the mouth and why you never ever should offer him brussels sprouts if you invite him to dinner. By the power of grayskull!
Nicoll, welcome on bushwah! After working for companies like Codemasters, Visual Science and Realtime Worlds, you started your own company “I Fight Bears”. How did it come and what was the main impulse for becoming a software entrepreneur?
I always wanted to start my own games company, but always managed to find a reason to not do it. It was always easier let someone else handle the “business stuff” while I concentrated on creative and technical problems.
I started “I Fight Bears” mainly to prove to myself that I could do it. I don’t really think of it as me trying to be an entrepreneur though, it’s more an elaborate excuse to have cool business cards.
Please explain our readers, what is so ultra-sexy about your company “I Fight Bears”?
It’s hard to quantify what is precisely that makes “I Fight Bear”s ultra-sexy. If I had to choose though I’d say it’s our devotion to furthering the appreciation of great facial hair.
To come right to the point: what’s your problem with bears?
In real life, bears are quite lovely, and I have a lot of time for them. The bears in “Fist of awesome” though are utter jerks. They’ve taken over Earth and relegated humans to be entertainment in special “human zoos”. Quite simply they’re asking for a good punch to the mouth.
The crowdfunding of your upcoming game “Fist of awesome” was a big success on kickstarter. What was your main intention to collect the money for it this way? Did you ever consider working with an investor or a bigger company for this project?
The original Kickstarter goal was £5000, the majority of that was for more development equipment and to cover my rent for a couple of months while I took a sabbatical from my day job. Kickstarter was the perfect fit for my requirements. It allowed me to raise the modest amount needed to finish the game, keep control of creative input and hold onto my IP rights, along with the bonus of picking up hundreds of new fans along the way.
Tim Burr, the hero in the game, seems a little bit like your alter-ego. How much of Nicoll is in Tim?
We both have a great beards, like the occasional beer, and are fighting to save the fate of the entire human race. That’s about as far as it goes.
Is creating games a god-like experience in terms of building a world the way you like it?
It’s more about creating a world I don’t want, so there’s a compelling narrative reason to spend so much time fighting to change it! It is great fun building an alternative universe for the characters to inhabit, and very satisfying to see other people enjoy exploring it.
Which role did your girlfriend play in the creation process of the game?
I made her a game for Valentines Day which involved me fighting through a small army of bears to reach her and declare my love. That little game proved to be the spark which ignited the fuse of “Fist of awesome”. She’s my biggest fan and my fiercest critic, and is invaluable for making sure I do the very best work I can. She also makes BRILLIANT cups of tea.
What do you expect from the new Ouya console regarding “Fist of awesome” and game development in general?
I’m stupidly excited about the launch of the Ouya, and honoured I get to make a version of “Fist of awesome” for it. I think it’s got huge potential, the indie community has been crying out for an open console and the Ouya has a really good chance of filling that void.
On your kickstarter page you wrote “As long as I can afford cheap cider and pot noodles I’ll continue working to make it as unrelentingly AWESOME as possible.” After the successful crowdfunding, I think that you can afford tons of cider and noodles now, so let us know: how awesome will the game get in the end actually?
By the time the “Grizzly edition” is released around summertime, I have no hesitation in saying it will be the single greatest beat em up of all time featuring a time-travelling lumberjack. Well, as long as Zynga don’t get there first with Punch Of Greatness.
Please complete the following sentences:
- Without a beard … I look weird and my face gets cold.
- The last time I met a bear … we disagreed over which James Bond was best and had a fist fight that lasted for DAYS.
- Nothing is as awesome as … riding a flying velociraptor, thrusting a flaming sword high in the air and proclaiming “BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL”.
- Ouch! It hurts, when … I jab my toe on the end of the bed when coming back from the toilet in the middle of the night.
- Please, never ask me to … eat brussels sprouts. They taste like chemical toilets.
Nicoll, thanks a lot for this interview!