Womenize! – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Sol Sánchez, CCO at Somber Pixel & Co-Founder of FemDevs Perú. She shares the value of emotionally immersive games and provides insights into the Peruvian indie dev communities. Read more about Sol in this interview:

Hi Sol! How would you describe the indie dev scene in Peru?

Peru’s indie dev community is overall very kind and friendly. Since we are still a small industry, many of us know each other from university, work, or local events. This gives us the chance to stay in touch with each other quite often, which makes me feel like I’m not alone in the journey and that any doubt I might have, I can always ask a local friend around.

However, being a small industry comes with some disadvantages, too. There aren’t many big studios in the country and most of the smaller ones make games only in their free time. On top of that, indie studios tend to have fewer than six employees and the biggest one does not exceed 60. This makes it hard to find a job in the industry and since video games are quite a new concept in Peru, there aren’t many local funding opportunities (especially if you want to make your own game). Not everything is negative of course! Some of our games have not only been shown at events outside the country but have also been recognized with international awards. In addition, government entities are already beginning to see the value of this industry and are looking for new and better ways to continue promoting it.

On my part, I co-founded FemDevs Peru, a non-lucrative association, with the purpose to promote women’s participation and visibility in the industry. We organize talks, game jams, workshops and so much more to inspire more women to join the industry. And like FemDevs Peru, many other initiatives are working to help grow this industry. 

The video game industry in Peru has great potential, but still has a long way to go. We’re always looking for more people and companies to collaborate with us, so if you are interested in FemDevs Peru or the Peruvian industry, please don’t hesitate to contact me here.

Do you have any tips and tricks for building emotionally immersive video games?

I think for emotional games, having a clear message for the audience and believing in what you’re doing is key. For “Arrog”, for example, we knew from the start that it was going to be an interactive experience to show how our country feels towards death, how death is just another step in our lives and that we shouldn’t be afraid of it. Many people might find the topic or the game’s design unappealing, but the team and I loved the idea immensely, and after three years of prototyping, re-doing and polishing, we made it come true.

If you don’t truly believe in the game you are making, you probably won’t put your 100% and it’ll show. Videogames are a way of art, and like any artist, we developers put a bit of ourselves into those projects. Even if you don’t agree with every detail of a game, the core message is important and the more passionate you’re about it, the more you’ll do your best for it and the more you’ll enjoy the process of developing it.

What inspired you to create the game “Night Reverie”?

The magical feeling of reliving the innocence of childhood adventures while going through a hard time made me fall in love instantly with “Night Reverie”. I didn’t create the game from scratch, I joined the Somber Pixel team three months after they released the first demo on Steam. Nevertheless, “Night Reverie” was one of the main reasons I chose to join the team and I got to work on the rest of the game with them.

Back then, I was going through a very hard time in my life and the story of “Night Reverie”, even though it wasn’t about the same thing I was going through, resonated with me deeply and made me feel more connected to the characters. That emotional connection and my childhood memories with my sister were the main things that inspired me to work in the game. It’s a very lovely story with really wholesome characters that anyone can enjoy. I hope it gets to resonate with you as much as it did with me.

Thanks for this interview, Sol!

Sol’s links: Contact PageTwitterLinkedInSomber Pixel

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Sophie Brugmann