Interview: MasterSwordRemix of Undertale Yellow

Determination, meet Justice

Undertale Yellow

Undertale fan games have become pretty commonplace at this point; that’s an indisputable fact. Considering the unbelievably large fanbase that Toby Fox’s hit PC game has amassed, along with the generous affection given by fans to each of the game’s characters, it’s no surprise that people are creating their own stories in an attempt to expand the Universe in their own way. Unfortunately, while a lot of people may give it the old college try, most fan projects don’t amount to much. Every once in a while, however, a fan game will rise up to the occasion, delivering a genuinely fun and wholesome gaming experience – Undertale Yellow just so happens to be one of those games.

Set up as a prequel to the original Undertale, Undertale Yellow explores the backstory of the yellow Soul’s owner before they are ultimately struck down and have their Soul taken from them. From what I have seen from the newly-released demo, Undertale Yellow has shown itself to hold quite a bit of potential,  following a story that is far-removed from that of the original Undertale while still nicely fitting within the pre-established boundaries of the Undertale universe.

Hey PoorPlayer was recently given the opportunity to sit down with MasterSwordRemix, the project head of Undertale Yellow, to talk a about the game’s development process so far, and maybe even a bit about what we can expect from it in the future. Ready to see what this fan game is all about? Of course you are!

HPP: For those unaware, could you briefly explain what Undertale Yellow is?

MasterSwordRemix: Undertale Yellow is a prequel fan game that tells the story of the yellow Soul’s journey through the Underground. It has new characters, music, and even settings. It aims to be a true Undertale prequel and give the same kind of experience to the player.

HPP: Where did the idea for Undertale Yellow come from?

MasterSwordRemix: Undertale has inspired many to create amazing things and it is no different here. After playing through Undertale for the first time I was lying in my bed when the idea almost randomly popped into my head. The pieces seemed to line up perfectly so I got to work as soon as I could.

HPP: Why the yellow Soul?

MasterSwordRemix: They were the most interesting to me. Justice is a very good trait to have story telling wise as it could go quite a few ways with how the character (or player) defines the act of “justice”. Another factor is that the yellow Soul presumably got the farthest next to Frisk. It’s debatable but that’s what we’re going with.

HPP: When did you first begin working on Undertale Yellow? How has the development process been so far?

MasterSwordRemix: I got the idea at the end of January, gathered a small team, then started development on February 4th. It’s been a ride to say the least. It’s been really fun for the most part but everyone goes through a little trouble now and then, that’s just game development.

HPP: Undertale Yellow deviates from the original Undertale storyline very early on. Has creating an entirely unique story within the confines of the Undertale universe as a 3rd-party developer been difficult?

MasterSwordRemix: While it is somewhat limiting to what we can get away with, it isn’t too bad. The journeys of the children are very ambiguous so we have a lot of room to move there. The biggest issues are using UT characters like Flowey. We have to strictly stick to the lore to not create any plot holes but luckily, we have experts on the team to avoid those potential missteps.

HPP: Has it been difficult creating a game about the yellow Soul, ultimately knowing where it ends up in Undertale?

MasterSwordRemix: Not at all. As I said we have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the all around journey. As for the ending, there’s a lot that could play into that. We know how the character has to end up but how they end up that way could be from anything.

HPP: Undertale Yellow is, obviously, based on Undertale, but has the game drawn inspiration from anything else?

MasterSwordRemix: All of us as individuals have inspirations for our styles of work but Undertale is the main inspiration and has to be or we’ll lose it’s feeling. Personally, The Legend of Zelda series has inspired me in my music composition but Undertale is always the main focus.

HPP: Is it important for those playing Undertale Yellow to have beaten the original Undertale first?

MasterSwordRemix: While not completely necessary, it is recommended. Our game, being a prequel, does spoil some things from the original along with a bit more difficulty, at least for the first area compared to Undertale. The game doesn’t ease you into things as much, teaching you all the mechanics up front. If you haven’t played Undertale it isn’t hard learn but we pretty much assume the player has already played Undertale in some fashion.

HPP: The Undertale Yellow demo’s story branched out into different paths based on the player’s actions, as it did in the original Undertale. Does this mean that players can expect “True Pacifist”, “Neutral”, and “Genocide” routes in Undertale Yellow?

MasterSwordRemix: Most definitely. With our game we want the routes to be a bit more exclusive then they were in Undertale. Stuff like getting an item in genocide that you couldn’t get in neutral or pacifist. I know Undertale had exclusives but we want explore that aspect a little more if we can. We also want to improve the genocide route most of all.

HPP: Is Undertale creator Toby Fox aware of Undertale Yellow? If so, has he said anything to you about it?

MasterSwordRemix: As far as I know he doesn’t. Back in February I sent him an email to get permission to start. Of course the game was nothing back then so he probably didn’t think about it much. I assume he knows about the game because it’s been getting around lately, but he hasn’t said anything as of yet.

HPP: What has been the best part about developing Undertale Yellow so far?

MasterSwordRemix: Overall it’s been the fans, especially the ones that were with us up until release. People that will follow you and put trust in you despite not knowing much is humbling. As for me personally, the music is a giant plus. Before this game I never made anything for a video game (anything usable or good anyway). This game has really helped me grow in that aspect. Also I started to write dialogue and text when our main writer got busy. I never have written witty dialogue or important things until this game so finding a new love for something was really nice.

HPP: What has been the biggest challenge?

MasterSwordRemix: The occasional drama and some personal self-doubt has probably been the hardest. When you’ve got three pages filled with bugs and issues and thousands of eager fans waiting it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, if it wasn’t for my amazing team I could have never gotten through these situations. We’re almost like a family at this point.

HPP: How has the Undertale fan community responded to Undertale Yellow so far?

MasterSwordRemix: It’s been incredible. I was nervous to say the least but pretty much everyone seems to love the game and our ideas. Of course there’s the occasional constructive criticism but you need that or else you wont know how to improve for the full release. From the Youtube Let’s Plays to the awesome fan art, it has totally been worth the struggle.

HPP: Undertale already has a large amount of fan-made spinoff games. What would you say most helps Undertale Yellow stand out from other Undertale fan games?

MasterSwordRemix: I think it comes down to originality and the unexpected. When you look at Undertale fan games you mostly see the same game rehashed or just single battles with no real weight to it. Of course I’m not putting those kinds of games on blast because I respect all developers put in the time and effort. While I don’t think that our game is as good as Undertale, I think it comes close to matching all of its qualities which is no easy feat. When you have a good new soundtrack, good writing, interesting new characters, and so fourth, it can really pull people in that are missing the days of playing Undertale for the first time.

We here at Hey Poor Player would like to thank MasterSwordRemix for taking the time to sit down with us and answer some questions. If you are interested in checking out the Undertale Yellow demo for yourself, you can do so right here!

Starting out with nothing more than a Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Kenny has happily been gaming for almost his entire life. Easily-excitable and a bit on the chatty side, Kenny has always been eager to share gaming-related thoughts, opinions, and news with others and has been doing so on Hey Poor Player since 2014 and has previously worked with both PKMNcast and SCATcast. Although his taste in gaming spreads across a wide number of companies and consoles, Kenny holds a particular fondness for Nintendo handheld consoles. He is also very proud of his amiibo collection. You can also find him on Twitter @SuperBayleef talking about video games and general nonsense. Some of his favorite games include Tetris Attack, Pokémon Black Version 2, The World Ends With You, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, Yo-kai Watch, Donkey Kong Country 2, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Kirby's Dreamland 3, Mega Man X, and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (among many others).

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