myVGBC Podcast – Season 2, Episode 3: Jamie Boylan

Earlier this year, I had the chance to talk to Jamie Boylan from Big Blue Bubble. He’s currently working as a producer and art director on the upcoming game Power Chord. Power Chord is a rogue-like deck-builder where you put together a band of bad ass musicians each with their own unique sets of abilities.

We went over some of the differences in his tasks as an art director vs producer and how things change throughout development of a game. The game you first set out to create may end up being very different from what the audience ends up playing. A great deal of Power Chord is inspired by many of Jamie’s influences and interests. From the grungy, old school rock flyers to the character design and even the style of music.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen many card-based games on the market. Something interesting that Jamie said was that he doesn’t want Power Chord to be the one card game that takes over and becomes everyone main game. He’d rather it be another card game players enjoy. I mentioned how I have been trying out more and more card-based strategy games over the past few years, and I have ran into some that feel like an exact copy of something that came before. The goal for Power Chord is to build something that’s familiar, but also unique at the same time — and I totally felt that while playing the demo.

There are many options when it comes to art style when creating a video game, and no matter what you go with someone will always say, “Oh this sort of reminds me of [some other game].” I mentioned how there’s some small similarities with the Borderlands art style, but that just may be the old school comic art they are going for. Jamie also threw out the term “Purposely Imperfect” when speaking on the art style of Power Chord, and how this gives you more freedom in your artwork.

Some game art needs that precise attention to detail, while other games really don’t. When designing art for games you must keep in mind the end product. Of course, thinking of it as a static character will cause you to see more imperfections, but picturing that same character moving around the screen you may realize that you don’t have to go so in depth in the design.

*Side Quest: There was a point where Jamie’s dog(s) started playing with squeaky toys,
which you may hear a little bit, but I edited out a big chunk where we acknowledged it.

Something different in Power Chord that I really love is the defensive strategy. During your turn, you can see who your opponents will attack on their next turn — along with how many damage points your character is expected to take. This helps players decide which cards are best to play each turn, instead of randomly choosing to attack different opponents. This may be available in other turn-based games, but I have never really noticed it.

After talking about Power Chord for a good amount of time, Jamie stuck around to share a bit about himself and his love for games, music, comics, movies and more. You can watch the entire interview below:

myVGBC Podcast • Season 2, Episode 3 • Jamie Boylan (Producer & Art Director at Big Blue Bubble)

Thank you to Jamie once again for giving me so much of his time.
You can check out some of his artwork here.

Power Chord is planned to release on PC (via Steam) later this year, 2022. They also plan on bringing the game to consoles later on. You can also download a pretty lengthy demo on Steam right now.

Check out the Power Chord Steam page and for more from Big Blue Bubble.

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