Klang Chats with Studio Fizbin!
Wednesday, January 17th
This week we are really excited to share this conversation we recently had with Studio Fizbin’s CEO, Alexander Pieper. Studio Fizbin is a small indie games studio (much like Klang,) that is based in both Berlin and Ludwigsburg. In our chat with Alexander, we dive into a lot, from the inspiration for Fizbin all the way to their studio’s cultural values.
What was the inspiration for Studio Fizbin?
We started Studio Fizbin 12 years ago when I and the other founders (Mareike and Sebastian) were still in university. I was always interested in storytelling and was tech-savvy, just finishing up a degree in computer science. I met Mareike and Sebastian during a school project and we worked together really well. Mareike was an artist and Sebastian had great design ideas. Combined with my tech skills we had the holy tri-force for games. The rest is history.
Why did you decide to use hand-drawn elements in your games?
Mareike, Sebastian, and I were all very inspired by the style of old adventure games. We also felt that there were enough studios using 3D art styles and we wanted to do something different, which is why we chose a 2D art style. For example, the style of our first game, Inner World, is inspired by hand-drawn animation movies. Another game of ours, Minute of Islands, is basically a fully animated comic book with very detailed hand-drawn backgrounds and characters. Being different is always a bit of a risk but for us, it paid off! One of the biggest things we are known for today is our special art style. Plus, in today’s games industry, with so many games being released every day, it is important to stick out.
You say that your studio has a culture of respect and trust. Could you elaborate on that?
A fundamental aspect of our studio's culture is the trust we place in everyone, regardless of their position. Whether you're an intern or a senior game designer, we believe that every opinion holds inherent value. Another core element of our studio is the immediate trust placed in every team member, regardless of their position, as professionals. Whether you’re an intern or a senior game designer, your opinions are considered valuable! This mutual trust in each other’s professional capabilities fosters respect, even among new hires and interns, who are quickly integrated into our projects and treated as equal contributors.
Is there a connection between your cultural values and the unique games that you develop?
Definitely, we aim to convey important messages that align with our studio’s values. For example, in the game Inner World, we focused on discussing the perils of a fascist government. Say No More addressed toxic environments where individuals are pressured to always say yes. Minute of Islands explores the idea that we don’t always have to be a hero. These specific messages are important to our studio’s core values and serve as a means to communicate them with the world.
Can you tell me a bit about Studio Fizbin’s role in Saftladen?
So, Saftladen is an indie games collective that we co-founded with Maschinen-Mensch, and it has been in operation since 2015. It all started when some of us relocated to Berlin. We had the idea of sharing an office space with other development teams. Coincidentally, the Maschinen-Mensch team had the same idea as us and were also looking for something similar, so we decided to collaborate and establish this collective workspace.
Fizbin currently manages the space by renting out an office space and then subletting the individual desks. What makes this working space different from others is the fact that it is run on a non-profit basis. This means that each member of the collective shares the costs of running the space, making it much more affordable compared to other co-working spaces. Plus we host workshops and talks to share our knowledge with each other. The whole thing has been very successful! We started with ten 10 desks and now we have around 50 desks and a long waiting list.
What does the future hold for Studio Fizbin?
We are currently in the process of developing our biggest game yet, Project Kodidon, which we started working on in the summer of 2022. It’s an action roleplay game, which is something new for us. We decided to try and make a more game-play-focused game and are excited for the challenge. Development is going well so far and we are making a lot of progress!