Review Fix Exclusive: Inside ‘Invisible Hand’

Review Fix chats with game developer Benjamin Martin who discusses his upcoming game, “The Invisible Hand.” Taking us through the original concept and development, Martin gives us an inside look at a pretty nifty indie game.

About The Invisible Hand:

The Invisible Hand is a game about traders, and their world. At first glance, it is only about numbers, but in the end, it is about much more.

In a world where computers can do most of the analytic work, you will live the life of a trader, and try to profit off the numbers spewed by the machine to get the best of what the world has to offer.

Whether you just follow the missions given by your supervisor or go rogue and put people to their knees for your own profit, it is up to you to make money for the well-being of the company and your own.

For More On The Game, Click Here.

Review Fix: When did the initial idea for this game come to you?

Benjamin Martin: It was a year ago, we were talking about games with friends, and I had the idea of a game about traders, where the player would be asked to meet financial goals, and to deal with the social consequences of his actions.

This lead to the premises of The Invisible Hand, and this is still our core idea for how the game will play.

Review Fix: This game would be awesome on the 3DS or Vita. Any chance at a port?

Martin: We are working with Unity, so porting to 3DS or Vita is technically possible, but we are focusing on PC right now. We will consider porting to other platforms after the release on PC. The game would definitely be great on those platforms, or on tablet. Most controls are mouse-based, so they would easily translate to touchscreens.

Review Fix: What games inspired this one?

Martin: I really enjoyed The Stanley Parable and its ability to express a lot about games through very simple mechanics. It’s part of the inspiration for The Invisible Hand, as I want this game to express feelings and ideas through the in-game market’s mechanics. Paper’s Please is also a great game in that area, and has a lot of believable details with very simple graphics. It inspired the workday-based flow of the game, where you start during morning, and have an Evaluation at the end of the day when markets are closing.

Review Fix: What do you play for fun when you’re not developing?

Martin: I love games that break boundaries between gameplay and narrative. For example, Paper’s Please makes you play the role of a customs officer, and makes you a part of family-crushing decisions by just putting a stamp over someone’s passport. Hideo Kojima also does this a lot in the Metal Gear Solid series, where for example you can wait for a week for an aged boss to die of old age, instead of beating him.

Review Fix: What has development been like?

Martin: We are two people working hard on this, and we both have day-jobs, so we are working on The Invisible Hand during our spare time. Development is not as fast as it could be, but we are planning to release a demo in the months to come. Fortunately, some wonderful people are helping us ! A graphic artist took notice of our Facebook page and is lending us a hand, and a friend of ours will make a website soon.

Review Fix: With all the competition on the mobile market and in the indies now, how difficult was it for you guys to try and make something that stood out?

Martin: Our game stands out because of our experimental concept. We wanted to make a game that feels unique from the very first impression, and that has a strong emotional impact on the player. This is a double-edged sword, because the experimental gameplay can make it hard for players to understand what the game is about. But for those who understand it, it will be a unique experience.

Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy this game the most?

Martin: People who enjoy trader movies or documentary (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short…), and players who love experimental games, such as Paper’s Please.
We are working hard on making the game accessible to everyone, even if they have no knowledge of the financial world.

Review Fix: Bottom line, why must someone play this game?

Martin: It is a unique experience that will make the players understand how their day to day life can be affected by an anonymous worker, playing with numbers behind his desk.

Review Fix: How do you want this game to be remembered?

Martin: I would like this game to be remembered as the first in a long series ! If we have enough success with this, we will definitely keep on making games.

Review Fix: What are your goals for this game?

Martin: We hope that the players will like it. As it is our first game, and as it is based on an experimental concept, we want to see how players will react to it, to see if we are on the right track.

Review Fix: What’s next?

Martin: Probably another game. I would like to keep on making games that parody real jobs and situations, because I think it can really be cathartic, and express a lot of things about the world.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 8131 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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