Interview: Runaway Farm Initial Concept Flopped And Was Merged With Dark Horror

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Runaway Farm - via Beedy-Beeper Games

Runaway Farm combines Farming Simulation with Supernatural Horror experience in a unique way. The game is focused on farming land and building your ideal cabin while also taking note of the supernatural events in the surroundings. Very few games target this approach of merging the simulation into a horror novel, which yields a unique gameplay experience. 

Players will be able to explore different clues in the surroundings and speak with different characters while upgrading tools to pave the way for farming. With this much in-depth experience to offer, we spoke to Milly Bopp from Beedy-Beeper Games to learn more details on Runaway Farm. 

Runaway Farm - via Beedy-Beeper Games
Runaway Farm – via Beedy-Beeper Games

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your work on Runaway Farm.

Milly: I’m Milly Bopp, and I started Beedy Beeper Games with programmer CarlNaut and artist/graphic designer Anna. We have worked in the gaming industry together for 7 years. Now, we’ve branched out to start our own company.

The initial looks in the trailer are amazing. But what grabbed our attention was how it constantly transitions from the sweet farm simulator and character dialogues to sudden chilling horror. What was the inspiration behind such a unique world?

Milly: Runaway Farm was originally supposed to be a cozy, wholesome farming game that used visual novel mechanics, so it was different from all the others. But our initial concept flopped, and no one was interested.

When I was first writing the game, things kept wanting to go dark in the storytelling and mechanics. I kept having to pull back and tone it down. 

After it was clear no one was going to be interested in our original game, we decided to let it become the game it wanted to be: Dark, horror, disturbing. And it just fits! It’s a much better game now.

Dialogue scene of Runaway Farm
Runaway Farm – via Beedy-Beeper Games

Expanding on my previous question, what was your approach to the world design so it keeps the players on the edge of their seats because of the horror aspects of the game?

Milly: The main hook of Runaway Farm is that you play as a 16-year-old homeless runaway who moved into an abandoned farmhouse. Everyone, including the ghost who haunts the place, thinks you’re Clara Haller, the little girl who lived there 8 years ago who went missing. 

So you embrace that and claim to be this long-lost girl who comes home so you can have a home and an income. For better or worse, you’re drawn into the controversy of what happened to the real Clara Haller. After all, her killer is still in the village, and they know you’re not really her. 

Having a murder mystery at the center of a supernatural horror game kept it interesting. As you’re meeting the ghosts, monsters, and villagers, you’re looking for clues. But there’s also a lot going on in the village that’s related to the murder and beyond. It’s an intricate story unraveling piece by piece.

You can pick which thread you want to pull on by deciding which villager you want to engage with the most. At first, they all seem to be dealing with unrelated situations, but as you learn more, you’ll see everything is connected, and it all comes back to the murder of Clara Haller.

How did you balance the gameplay elements of farming simulation and horror mystery to ensure both aspects are engaging for players?

Milly: It ended up being more about the story than the farming, but we put as much farming interactivity into the game as our visual novel engine would allow. Mostly, farming is what you must do to have money to survive while you’re figuring out what happened to the real Clara Haller.

Runaway Farm - via Beedy-Beeper Games
Runaway Farm – via Beedy-Beeper Games

The game features multiple story paths to solve mysteries. How do these branching narratives affect gameplay and replay value?

Milly: You have five different characters to get to know (one of whom might be your murderer). At some point, you need to pick which one you’d like to come to live with you and help you on the farm. That’s when you become more involved in the challenges they’re facing and start to realize that it’s connected to your (Clara’s) murder. 

You can proceed with a different character for each playthrough and get a different story that fills in more of the blanks for you on the overall picture of what happened and what’s still happening in the village.

The environmental themes of corporate exploitation and chemical pollution add depth to the narrative. How did you incorporate these real-world issues into the game's storyline?

Milly: The big GMO/pesticide corporations offered a lot of inspiration for our evil agricultural conglomerate, but things diverge 100% into the realm of fiction as the story progresses. This isn’t trying to be a morality tale about taking care of the environment. It’s just added as an interesting story element.

Cutscene in Runaway Farm
Runaway Farm – via Beedy-Beeper Games

Building and upgrading structures on the farm seem to play a significant role. How does this aspect of gameplay tie into uncovering the mysteries surrounding Clara Haller?

Milly: You need a lot of money if you’re ever legitimately going to own the farm, and also for your security, as you could be caught and thrown out at any time. Your building the farm and increasing your income is an urgent matter of survival in the game more than just a fun pastime.

Eventually, the root cellar runs out of food, and you need to start buying groceries. If you don’t budget and plan, you could end up having to quit farming and go back to being homeless or living in foster care. 

How detailed is the economy system in the game? From selling to purchasing different items and upgrading your tools, how much impact it will have on the overall game?

Milly: It is a major element. I love games that let me buy, sell, and budget. You have to turn your character into a savvy entrepreneur if you hope to survive.

Runaway Farm - via Beedy-Beeper Games
Runaway Farm – via Beedy-Beeper Games

Could you share any challenges you faced during the development process, particularly in blending genres and crafting a compelling narrative?

Milly: It’s incredibly difficult to get attention as a new indie with a very small advertising budget. Even with this complete revision of the game, Wishlists are slow. If we don’t hit at least 10,000 Wishlists, there’s no point in making this game. It’s just throwing good money after bad. Hopefully, your readers will click the Steam link and Wishlist us!

Anything else you would like to share with the readers?

Milly: I have a Let’s Play broadcasting on a loop on the Steam page for April. I narrated it myself, and really hope we can add voice acting to the final game. Head over and watch the demo if you get a chance! Then add RunawaRy Farm to your Wishlist, please!

Runaway Farm is an upcoming novel horror and farming simulator game under development by Beedy-Beeper Games. A demo for the game is currently live, while the full release is underway. 

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