Let’s Interview: Better Life Devs Iridescent Games!

Let's Interview:

Iridescent Games

Game Development Company

Interview conducted by


Let’s Interview: Better Life Devs Iridescent Games!

Well folks, it’s time for a new interview here at Gaming Reinvented! This time though, we’ve got a very unique interview for you indeed.

Why? Because this time, it’s not with a creator known for working on games or videos inspired by Nintendo properties. It’s not a fan game or mod, nor a spiritual successor to titles like Paper Mario or the Legend of Zelda.

Instead, it’s with the team at Iridescent Games, who are working on a fascinating little RPG known as Better Life. Inspired by their experiences in the Syrian Civil War and the effects of conflict on society and its citizens, the game has its team of young protagonists trying to journey through a war-torn country seemingly set against them at every turn. It’s a tragic yet inspiring title, and with both beautiful pixel art graphics and an incredible soundtrack, one that desperately needs more attention from the folks online.

Better Life Poster

So, in this interview, we’re gonna ask them all about the game, what inspired it and their plans for the company as a whole. Let’s get started.

The Interview

With the first question of the day being about the team’s personal background. So who are you? Who is involved in Iridescent Games?

I’m Kamel coming all the way from Syria, game director and artist of Iridescent Games, and a big fan of the American Frontier and 2000s rock music!

Iridescent Games is a 4-piece team, with original art and assets by me, original music composed by Zeonim, Ron on programming and Aqua on co-writing!

And how did you get into gaming? What was your first game?

As far as I can remember, Papa’s Pizzeria was it! I recall playing it with my cousin on a free browser, looking back at it is a nostalgia trip.

What ones are you playing at the moment?

Recently got into Heartbound! An indie pixel art RPG title by Pirate Software, the demo is free and is an experience on its own.

Heartbound Title Screen

Kamel recently started playing Heartbound, another indie RPG by Pirate Software

Anything you’re looking forward to there?

Mostly, I look forward to RPGs that push boundaries of the genre, experimenting with mechanics and story elements that leave an impact on the player, and makes the game memorable for being innovative.

Onto game development now. How did you get started in the world of game development?

I’ve always wanted to make a game that shows the struggles of war and what it can do to a perfectly functioning society, specifically through the eyes of vulnerable children.

The year’s 2023 and our programmer Ron suggested we make a 3D horror game for fun, and it all snowballed from there. Eventually becoming what is known as “Better Life”.

Better Life Menu Screenshot 2

Better Life was designed to show the struggles of war and its effects on society

Did you work on any interesting projects prior to Better Life?

Mainly personal art projects revolving around environment design and background art (of course cowboys involved), but Better Life is our first venture in the world of game development, and we’re more than happy that we took the step!

What game engines and tools do you have experience with?

Programming and development are done in Godot, and all art and animations in Procreate and Procreate Dreams.

Procreate isn’t really the program for pixel art, but I like to “break the rules” and experiment with heavily textured brushes (and ones I made myself) to try and stand out with a stylised approach to pixel art.

Were any other developers, studios and projects an inspiration to you there?

Of course! Omori comes to mind due to its heavy storytelling and narrative based approach, and even for the person behind it! Omocat wanted to prove that games are an art form of themselves and she did just that.

Eastward is another one too, mainly for the stunning environment design and use of dynamic lighting in pixel art.

YouTube player

Either way, how did you come up with the idea for Better Life?

As a Syrian person, I experienced the struggles of war and immigration during the Syrian civil war, and the permanent scar that they leave behind. Better Life is a way for me to reflect those personal experiences and show the absolute horror of war and its effects on the real victims, who are the people experiencing that war.

Those experiences go beyond the Syrian civil war alone, many wars took place and are taking place in this world, many people suffer as a consequence. I’m hoping Better Life communicates that experience in a way and raises awareness.

Better Life Campfire Dialogue

The concept for the game was inspired by the developers’ experiences of the Syrian Civil War

How about the title?

In early days of development, the phrase “chasing a better life” was thrown around a lot in plot summaries and writings. At one point we obviously needed a name for the game, the first thing that came to my mind was “To a Better Life”, as it perfectly communicates the goal of our main characters throughout the entire journey. Next step was just making it “Better Life” to make it more marketable and easier to put in a logo and call it a day!

What made you decide the game should be an RPG rather than any other genre?

Mainly our love for modern RPGs such as Undertale and Omori, so we wanted to make one!

Another reason is: while writing the story, I couldn’t imagine the game in any graphic style or game genre other than a pixel art RPG, so I guess it’s just inspiration.

Better Life Gameplay Screenshot

The concept for Better Life just worked better as a pixel art RPG

And why did you choose to make it in the Godot engine?

After trying 3 major game engines, from Unreal Engine 5 to Unity and Gamemaker Studio. We decided to work on Godot for its convenience; it’s easy to use, has a lot of resources and an active community, and it just had the right features to help us make this game come to life while also allowing us to support a cool open-source engine.

The main gimmick of note seems to be the ability to enter other people’s memories. How did you come up with that idea?

Actually, it takes inspiration all the way from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (SPOILERS for part 6 so look away) There’s a character with a “Stand” ability called White Snake, it has the ability to extract the memories and psyche out of a character’s body in the form of tangible disks. That inspired the creation of the “Memory Containers” in Better Life, as every character in Better Life has a physical manifestation of their memories, and Lucent’s are disks!


This character inspired Better Life’s main mechanic

And how exactly does this work mechanically? Do you play out a section set inside the character’s memories, view a cutscene or something else entirely?

When engaged in battle, your enemy’s memories are exposed to your Memory Containers, as well as your memories too! Allowing both sides to extract memories until their containers run out of them, making them vulnerable.

After battle, you can read the memories you extracted from your enemy, unlocking potential backstories of these characters, and optional content for players to enjoy!

Are there optional scenes like this, where choosing to mess around with character memories changes up the story progression?

Yes! Plenty of them even, especially through side quests and battles. Depending on the memories you extract you can change the entire course of a battle, or… if given the right memories to certain characters, can unlock even more scenes and potentially battles.

How does the combat system work here? Does it take inspiration from the Mario RPGs, Earthbound or other series that use visible enemies?

The combat in Better Life is turn-based, but takes inspiration from Persona, specifically the “1 More” mechanic; when landing a critical hit on an enemy you get an extra turn, and that applies to the enemy as well! If they land a critical hit on the player, they get an extra turn for themselves.

Adding to that, merging timing and precise input with turn-based combat to back up other mechanics and the memory containers.

Are there any interesting bosses planned for this title?

YES! We decided to favour quality over quantity in battles, as having a smaller number of bosses allows us to make each battle more memorable and innovative. My goal is to play around with the mechanics we have a lot, challenge the player in new ways in each major fight.

One of the things mentioned in the marketing material is that the characters are escaping a war that’s ravaging the land. Does that war factor into the moment-to-moment gameplay, like with you having to avoid (or battle) the combatants in your attempts to survive?

Oh yes it does, potentially to a large degree. We’re experimenting with some styles for engaging in combat, before you’re even on the fight screen. Styles like stealth to avoid minor battles as a whole, or even direct combat to catch your enemy off guard.

Still a concept in its early stages, but the idea of being able to avoid fights as a whole might benefit the story of escapism.

Is there a pacifist option here, like in Undertale? The talk of not succumbing to violence makes it seem like it’d be fitting…

Better Life does have a similar route, but not completely pacifist. As some fights and kills are inevitable, primarily to convey a feeling of hopelessness to the player, and progress the story building up on these inevitable kills.

Either way, the story and writing are a hugely important parts of a game like this, and it’s clearly been a big focus here too. How did you create the world and characters for Better Life?

Two main inspirations, my own country Syria, and the American wild west. Starting with Syria, I love going reference hunting, looking for little neighbourhoods with overgrown greenery between the destruction the war had left, and all the little stories a destroyed car and a building’s rubbles tell. These little details separate good world design from great world design.

Now for the wild west, I just have a passion for it. Most of my personal art is about cowboys on adventures in vast beautiful sceneries. An example of that in Better Life is a gang in Snowy Hills called Alvord, named after the 1899 wild west gang by the name “Alvord Sitles”, as a reference to it!

The characters also take inspiration from the wild west, especially in their personalities and accent!

How serious is the story and dialogue overall? Is it a mostly sombre experience with little in the way of brevity? A mix of darker and more light hearted moments or something else entirely?

The story has a mix of both worlds, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but can be very impactful when needed.

What are some of your favourite characters so far?

HIGH VOLTAGE (yes in all caps) is one that I love! Just the name being a reference to a song by my favourite band Linkin Park makes him a favourite, and his boss fight music is hands down my personal favourite track in the game so far.

High Voltage Concept

High Voltage is one of the team’s favourite characters so far

Another character I like is Lucent, the protagonist of Better Life. He goes through some changes during the story and grows a lot as a leader and a brother.


Lucent is another dev favourite

Lucent Concept Sketch

A sketch showing design concepts for Lucent

One last character is Akurai Nagasaki, she’s actually an original character belonging to Beajichi, when she posted her art on our discord server, I liked it so much that I asked for consent to have her be a Better Life character! She’s a celebrity reporter in the Better Life universe.

Onto art now. How did you decide on the art style for this game?

I take a lot from my personal style and show it in Better Life’s, especially through the environments. As I mentioned before I’m a big fan of heavy textures in visual art and background design. And in a war-torn world, they serve it well!

And what was your inspiration here? You say pop art was a big one, but are there any others?

I never had any pixel art experience prior to Better Life, so I spent the first month or so studying the giants of pixel art such as Eastward and Celeste, both greatly helped shape the style of Better Life.

Pixel art aside, Jocelin Carmes’s art has always been a blessing to my eyes, especially in his use of colour (and textures).

Better Life Menu Screen

The graphics were inspired by indie success stories like Eastward and Celeste

How did you come up with the character designs for Better Life?

Some designs are inspired by other characters, for example Aurora’s design is primarily inspired by Taiga from Toradora. HIGH VOLTAGE’s is inspired by steampunk style settings and worlds. While designs like Lucent’s and Akiro’s are just me sketching on a paper.


Aurora’s design is inspired by Taiga from Toradora

Let’s discuss the music now. How did you create the soundtrack for this game?

I will leave you with Iridescent Games’ composer Zeonim for the next 3 questions, so cya in 3 questions!

Hey, I’m Zeonim, composer of Iridescent Games and Better Life. Without getting into the technical bits, I would say I used personal experiences as a way to reflect on my music. A simple example of this is with Snowy Hills, the first area of the game, since I live in Canada it was pretty easy to capture that feeling of the freezing cold. When it’s not as applicable I try to put myself into the characters’ shoes, which adds a hidden aspect to the song that you don’t see without context of the game.

Did any other games and media inspire you here?

I take a lot of inspiration from a lot of games, but I’ve narrowed down two of my biggest inspirations: Celeste, as the music’s melodies are beautiful with every note being intentionally and carefully placed. Rainworld is another good one. I take a lot of inspiration from how the composer beautifully mixes soundscapes with textured sounds.

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What are some of your favourite songs in the game so far?

The Better Life soundtrack is so diverse, so it’s hard to pick but I would say HIGH VOLTAGE’s is one of my favourites. For context HIGH VOLTAGE is this huge boss battle and the first hard battle in the game. Everything about it screams electricity with big booming synths and harsh drums.

Back to Kamel!

Still, onto the release plans now. What are your plans for this game’s Kickstarter campaign?

So, there’s this one time Thor from Pirate Software mentioned that in Kickstarter campaigns, we put our goal relatively low, to hit it in the first 24 hours of launch. The media immediately picks that up, “A game closed a Kickstarter campaign in 24 hours” everyone wants to talk about that! Even if the goal is relatively low.

YouTube player

Another thing is marketing and audience (every indie developer’s fear), we won’t launch the campaign until we have enough audience to back it up! So hopefully we can manage that as well.

What would the incentives for donating be? What sort of perks would backers get here?

We have a wide variety of rewards from stickers, pins, clothing to even in-game rewards planned! Obviously for physical rewards, the factor of worldwide shipping and production costs come into play so we don’t have anything confirmed as of now.

Are there any planned stretch goals? Like for major new features, or extra story chapters or things?

Most of our stretch goals focus on optional content, and potentially extra animated cutscenes. Regardless of the Kickstarter outcome, we’re releasing the best version of this game we could! So, story chapters are going to stay the same.

What’s your backup plan if the campaign doesn’t work out? Would you self-fund the rest of the game’s development?

100%, although Kickstarter would make everything that much easier, as it’s not only a funding platform but a marketing one as well. But we’ll finish this game with the best of our abilities regardless of the campaign’s outcome.

Regardless, assuming everything gets done, what next? What’s your release strategy for Better Life?

Game development is extremely unpredictable, and predicting a release date is almost always inaccurate in an early stage such as ours. But we’re aiming for mid-late 2026, pretty far from now but we’re aiming for a hyper polished game with enough easter eggs and references to fuel a 2-part series of “Every reference and easter egg in Better Life”

Do you plan to release it on consoles like the Nintendo Switch?

Yes! We’ve heard news of Godot collaborating with Nintendo (still not sure how accurate that is), but we’ll try to port it to any major platform we can to the best of our abilities!

What other games will the team at Iridescent Games work on if this one does well?

We’ve thought of a potential sequel to Better Life, but don’t take my words, as we’re still actively developing Better Life and we still have a long road ahead of us! So, anything could happen and many things could change in this long bumpy journey of game development.

Finally, what advice would you give someone looking to get started in game development?

Tell a story! Game development is just an interactive way to tell a story, combining many forms of art in one big package. I’m telling the story of children escaping war and my medium is a video game!

Make a game for yourself, make a game that speaks about you as a person, have it be a window to your ideas and thoughts.

And finally, just have fun, really don’t stress over numbers, polish and perfectionism all that much (even though I’m guilty of that myself).

I would like to thank Gaming Reinvented for the interview! Really well put together questions and had me thinking for a good minute.

Thanks to you too! It’s always fun to chat with creators about their projects, and we always end up learning far more about them in the process.

But yeah, for practical advice, avoiding perfectionism is definitely one of the best ones. Because here’s the thing:

Technology moves on. Culture moves on. The world in general moves on.

And your project will be expected to move with it. So, if you’re perfectionist enough to keep it in development hell for 14 years, people will expect you to have kept up with 14 years’ worth of industry changes.

Or perhaps even more than that. Since the longer your work stays in development, the more impressive the community expects it’ll be too. Hence you can’t just make a decent game, or even a good one. It has to be a genre defining masterpiece, or you’ll annoy everyone around you.

It’s why Duke Nukem Forever flopped, why Beyond Good & Evil 2 is likely never leaving the drawing board, and why Star Citizen is probably going to be in development forevermore.

Still, thanks your wise words, and thanks for the interview. It was interesting to read about your game and studio, and we’re excited to see where it goes in future.

But what do you think? Did you enjoy the interview? What are your thoughts on Better Life as a game based on the screenshots and information included here?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, on social media, or on our Discord server today!

Iridescent Games/Better Life on Social Media