Interview with Conor McKenna on CyberThreat (PC & PS Vita)

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The indie scene is home to many promising titles but one such game has been in development for a while. This title is called CyberThreat and it is a Role Playing Game releasing on the PC and PlayStation Vita in the near future with heavy inspiration from the RPG hit Persona 4.
Today, we are having an interview with a developer behind the project, with covers many aspects of the game; development history, some information about the games different features and more! You can read the full interview below.

RK: Would you like to introduce yourself?
Conor: Hi, thanks for having me! My name is Conor McKenna, and I am the sole developer of CyberThreat, a modern day turn based RPG for PC and PS Vita.
RK: Thank you for having this interview with me! Been reading up on your title and am very excited for it’s release in the future. My first question would be what is your first introduction to Video Games?
Conor: I was introduced to video games at a very young age. I remember the first game I played was Sonic The Hedgehog on the Mega Drive, but I think the first time I truly fell in love with gaming was when I first played Crash Team Racing on a friend’s PS1. I’ve been a passionate player ever since!

RK: That is fantastic to hear! I grew up with Sonic as well, starting to play the series with Mega Collection and Adventure 2 Battle on the Nintendo GameCube. I also really enjoyed playing CTR as well; such a enjoyable racing game that still stands tall as a kart racing classic. Since you played games at a very young age, I’m sure you experienced the RPG Genre. What was your first role playing game?
Conor: Very fond memories of Sonic Adventure 1 too now that you mention it! My first RPG is probably the same as a lot of people, and that was Pokémon Yellow. I put so many hours into that series all the way up to Ruby on the Gameboy Advance! I never really played any other RPG games around that time though, and my first Western RPG was TES: Oblivion, which again I spent hundreds of hours on! I’ve been playing more RPGs ever since!
RK: I love Sonic Adventure as well. Despite some issues, it was a nice shift for Sonic into the Third Dimension. I have also played Pokemon when I was growing up as well, with the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi games being my main RPG series for many years until I got introduced to the Kingdom Hearts series back in 2004. Regarding western role playing games, I heard very good things about the Elder Scrolls series, so very happy that was your introduction to the western RPG genre! With this history of role playing games under your belt, what was an inspiration for you to begin development on CyberThreat?

Conor: Kingdom Hearts is definitely a high priority on my list of games to play before too long, especially since the third one looks great from what we’ve seen! A friend of mine has also been introducing me to the Final Fantasy series recently, so my RPG experience is only growing!
CyberThreat came together out of a lot of different ideas actually. Obviously everyone can see that the Persona series has had the biggest influence. Persona 4 was just such an incredible experience for me that it inspired me to create my own. Other factors are things like The Sims 2 (which I was also a big fan of at the time!) and the fact I’m studying Computer Science. I’m also a big fan of stories with a modern day setting, and this has been one that I’ve been imagining for a long time before starting to work on the game.
RK: Those are a great series of inspirations that I can see some together to make a very creative and interesting role playing adventure. I personally spent over 200 hours playing Persona 4 Golden when I originally played it back in 2014. What are some of the major features and mechanics you play on introducing into CyberThreat? Based on your inspirations behind the project, you have a lot you can bring into the game.
Conor: Persona 4 Golden consumed me! I had the soundtrack on repeat 24/7, and even ended up drawing some of the characters for hours at a time! So some of the things I’m hoping to do in CyberThreat is refine and immerse the player as much as possible with what I can. For example the story can actually vary a bit depending on your choices with the most obvious being the Male/Female protagonist choice, but also depending on your choices during the dialogue.

One route can bring you down a completely different path from the other, and it actually goes a long way to making the player feel like the story is their own. Other things include text messaging scenarios with certain contacts, and mini games to earn stat boosts. Other big mechanics are the calendar system, the Contacts system, the hack system (which is like spells/skills) and the other usual RPG mechanics we all know and love (choose party members, choose equipment, etc).
RK: This sounds very promising and something I am eagerly looking forward to seeing in action. One thing I really enjoy about Persona 3 Portable, is that the male/female character choice has differences on the social link mechanics. You saying that you plan for the male/female gender option to have a major difference regarding the games story is great to hear. Open story paths are very nice in role playing games, as it really makes the player feel like they are ‘role playing’ their player character. With the games musical score, what is the major inspiration behind it?
Conor: Absolutely, it really helps immersion. I know when I played Persona, I felt that I wanted to complete the social links not because it was part of the game to finish them all, but because I wanted to know the characters better myself. That is something I hope will come across in CyberThreat; that you’ll follow the contact routes because you enjoy the character and not just because it’s a mechanic. The music comes from my own history of producing electronic music in my free time. It was never very good, but I really enjoyed doing it. I just kept working at it and expanding my musical horizons and it seems to have paid off! My biggest inspirations would have to be Shoji Meguro, the OST to The World Ends With You, and other electronic artists, such as Deadmau5.

RK: The musical inspirations are wonderful to hear, as many enjoyed the musical score of ‘The World Ends With You’. From the three tracks you released as of the publishing of this interview, the games musical score is enjoyable to listen too. Like the games main theme a lot. Regarding the games release, what made you decide that the game would release on PS Vita and PC? PC is a common platform for indie titles but the Vita is very interesting, considering it is a platform many indie and Japanese studios support.

Conor: I’m so glad you like it! Some songs could be mixed a bit better, but there’s still plenty of time at least for that! I suppose the big question on everyone’s lips is why Vita? PC was an easy choice, there’s a lot of different ways to get the game “out there”, such as Steam Greenlight. As for the Vita, I am a huge fan of it so from a personal point of view it was an easy choice.
Back when I started the game too the Vita wasn’t quite as considered “dead” as it might be now, but I still think the platform is too perfect a fit to pass on even now. There’s a very passionate community of players who’ve been very supportive of the system, and of CyberThreat, and I certainly can’t let them down! Also working in Unity makes it an easier choice to want to bring to Vita.
RK: I am very happy you are making the game on Vita. The platform is a perfect fit for RPG titles and many people in the Vita community have been looking forward to your project. When you announced that the game was coming to Vita, were you surprised by the reaction?
Conor: Definitely, because when I first announced it, it didn’t look very good! I remember thinking the first Dev Diary I wrote was pretty good at the time, but looking back I don’t know quite what I was thinking… But I know when things improved and the game’s website launched the reaction was amazing, I received some lovely tweets and messages on Facebook. It was a great motivator to keep working on it, and certainly cemented the fact it’s coming to Vita.
RK: I am happy you are pleased with the feedback the game has gotten. Game development is a long process, but your project appears to be coming long great. Very excited to see where it will go in the future on PC and Vita. Any Vita or PC specific features you have in store for the game? Like touch screen support for example?
Conor: It’s long and difficult, but so worth it if you can bring something special. No platform specific features right now and no Touch controls planned, so the game will definitely be PSTV compatible too.
RK: That is great to hear PS TV support is confirmed for the title! Many owners of that version of the Vita will be happy to learn of that news. I don’t know if this is too early to ask, but many Vita owners like getting their games physically, as programs like Limited Run Games has proven heavily this past year. Do you plan on offering a retail version of CyberThreat on Vita? Or is that too early to be asking for at the moment?
Conor: It’s unfortunately still too early to say, but I know I like physical carts myself and I’m a big fan of the work Limited Run Games are doing. They seem pretty approachable and cool about this kind of thing, so when the time comes I’ll hopefully be able to speak to them about it, but definitely not confirmed yet.
RK: That is great to hear. I’m sure many Vita owners will be happy to hear that you might be considering a retail option in the future. My final question would be what does the future hold for CyberThreat. Meaning, what does 2017 hold for the project regarding any major announcements and news?
Conor: 2017 will be the most exciting year yet for the game! I’ll be launching the KickStarter hopefully in the spring which will include a playable demo of the game. There’ll be other announcements regarding music, artwork, voice acting and more which I can’t wait to be able to talk about! So I think the future is looking pretty promising so far, I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks when the time comes!
RK: This is wonderful to hear and I am very excited about 2017 regarding your project. I am hopeful it is a successful Kickstarter and that many enjoy what you have to present Spring 2017. Thank you so much for taking some time to talk with me about CyberThreat and be sure that 3WIREL will be share news about the game as further information comes out. Any final words you want to say before we wrap up the interview?
Conor: It’s been an absolute pleasure and I hope we’ll talk again soon. I just want to add a big thanks to anyone reading and supporting 3WIREL & CyberThreat! I look forward to sharing more with you about the game soon!
RK: Looking forward to it!

You can learn more about CyberThreat through following the official CyberThreat twitter account and visiting the games official website. Expect more news on the game to be shared on both Twitter and the games website in the future.

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