Interview: Crow Country – Developer Adam Vian, Creative Director at SFB Games

We get the inside scoop from Adam Vian, Creative Director at SFB Games (and designer/writer of Crow Country)

Q) Hi! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can you tell me about how you came together to make Crow Country?

I started making Crow Country by myself, as something of a for-fun hobby project. I’m a writer and designer, not a programmer, but I’d taught myself Playmaker (a visual scripting plugin for Unity) so I had what I needed to make a game secretly by myself. For a while, at least. After about a year I realised Crow Country was growing into something substantial – and something we’d be able to sell.

Eventually, my brother Tom joined me in working on the project. I’d programmed most of the core gameplay for Crow Country, but Tom handeld all the tricky parts – saving and loading, user data, optimisation, localisation, and a million other tasks.

The third and final person to join the team was Ockeroid, who composed Crow Country’s original soundtrack. I’d heard Ockeroid’s soundtrack for the survival horror parody cartoon ‘GhostBleed: The Bio-Horror’, and immediately knew they were the right composer for Crow Country.

Q) What inspired you to make a survival-horror title?

I’d been playing a lot of PS1-era survival horror games… and I was reminded of how good they really were. Even playing in 2024, there was some special magic to that original formula – something being missed by a lot of modern horror games.

Survival horror is my favourite genre, overall. It’s a perfect mix of exploration, puzzles, combat and story. The best survival horror games are also endlessly replayable. People are still playing the original Resident Evil 2. Some people play it every year. So – why is it so endlessly appealing? I wanted to explore it for myself.

Q) Why did you decide to use Final Fantasy VII-like visuals as opposed to the original PS1 Resident Evil style?

 It wasn’t a deliberate decision, it just happened. I’m not very experienced with 3D modelling, so I knew the character models needed to be made with some kind of simple style. I also just prefer simpler character models, even in new games – they’re more appealing to me. Less is more!

The Final Fantasy VII-feeling of the visuals is a combination of the character models kind of looking like FFVII character models, and the environments kind of looking like FFVII pre-rendered environment art. Neither is a one-to-one match, but the overall effect evokes a feeling similar to FFVII.

Q) Can you tell us about future plans for the game such as DLC or updates?

The big update since launch was the new ‘Murder of Crow’s game mode – AKA hard mode. That’s out now – and it seems to have gone down very well. We’ve also been fixing bugs fairly regularly, and will continue to do so – as well as looking at any other features and options we can add.

Due to time and budget limitations, the game launched with only a few languages. But we’re getting more localisation done right now, so there’ll be an update some time in the future with more languages.

There are one or two other things we’re working on… but I can’t talk about them just yet, sorry!!

Q) Do you have plans for a sequel? If not, what’s next for you?

I don’t think I’ll make a sequel to Crow Country. In terms of the story… I don’t think it needs one. However, I definitely want to make more survival horror games. I learnt so much while making Crow Country, it’ll be fun to apply that to a brand new project.

We’re also working on The Mermaid Mask, a murder-mystery detective adventure game, that’s the follow-up to 2019’s Tangle Tower. That has a demo on steam, if you want to go check it out!

Also… I want to make more vibrant, colourful games. Stuff that defies genre conventions. I want to make a game that’s so weird and unique, people look it and go ‘What is this? What’s going on??’

Thanks again and I look forward to seeing what you do next!

Our full review of Crow Country is now live here!