Inside ‘A Princess to Save Me’

Video games have been prominent within our society for decades, though as society comes closer to gender equality gaming isn’t only for or about men. One couple from Seattle created “A Princess to Save Me,” a video game designed to break the pattern of the typical storyline of a damsel in distress and a prince to rescue her.

Sandra Lokishina, the mastermind of “A Princess to Save Me” alongside Aundrey Lokishina, her husband, moved to the U.S. from Russia for Aundrey’s job opportunity three years ago and began worked on creating the game for one year.

Inspired by societal issues and stereotypical gaming plots, the Lokishina duo sprung into action and created a new, feministic plot.

For more information on the game, click here. 

WaveWire: I hear an accent in your videos. Where are you from? How long have you been in the U.S.? Why did you move to the U.S.?

Sandra Lokishina: The accent is Russian, and I’m a bit shy about it. I came to the U.S. about three years ago because my husband got a job in Seattle. I’d just completed my BA in Theater Production and moved. I was on a non-working visa, my English wasn’t so great and my application for a Ph.D. program got rejected.

WaveWire: Why are you interested in making games about social issues?

Lokishina: I think that art, in general, is a very powerful way of addressing social issues. It makes you feel, connects you to the issue on a personal level. Games do even more than that: they make you a protagonist, a hero of the story. They’re also interactive, so you have control over what’s happening (okay, not all of them do, but my perfect game in my perfect world does). You can make choices and face consequences they entail, but at the same time a game gives you second chances that life rarely does. You can actually “redo” stuff, start again, be a different kind of person. I think there’s a lot of potential in this that hasn’t yet been realized. The only game I know that addresses a social issue is “This War of Mine”, that talks about civilians during a war.

I’d love to see more games like that, and I want to be a part of that movement.

WaveWire: Where did you get the idea for the game?

Lokishina: I’ve played plenty of games where a male hero was trying to save a lady (his wife/girlfriend/daughter/a princess that happens to also be one of the above), and I’ve always been curious to hear her side of the story. How does she feel? What kind of person is she?

I’m fairly bad at platformers, so my heroes used to die a lot, and I wondered what happened to a lady when “I” died. Is it “game over” for her as well? Why? It’s my hero who’s dead, not her!

I want to give her a chance, see what she has to say, what she’s capable of.

WaveWire: Why is this game important to you?

Lokishina: It was kind of a two-stepper. I already talked about empowering a damsel part.

The other one is about social acceptance of an empowered damsel.

I had this weird personal experience when I just moved. I was trying to do something with my life here, it was not going that great, and a lot of the people around were like “What are you talking about? Come on, your husband provides for you, have kids, stay at home, you life’s perfect”. I was 21 years old. I ended up getting mad enough to teach myself to code and get a tech job, but that reaction was something I was totally unprepared for. I think a lot of women get that when they try to escape a traditional female role, and that’s another conversation we’d like to have with a player. A “helpless princess” with a sword will get a lot of questions from medieval society.

WaveWire: How long did it take to create the game?

Lokishina: It’s at the stage of prototype right now, and that took a year. If our Kickstarter is successful, we plan to release the game in another year.

WaveWire: You’re asking for money to get an artist to work with you, but isn’t the game already complete with the illustrations?

Lokishina: The graphics you see in the demo are from the RPG maker default pack (RPG maker is a game engine software we use to develop A Princess To Save Me). It’s nice, but it’s very limited and lacks combat animation. We need an artist to create custom characters, locations, animation, and UI.

WaveWire:Who created the soundtrack?

Lokishina: Aundrey did. We both used to create music and play in rock bands. I’m only good for singing, but he can actually compose.

Review Fix: How much time, effort and money did you spend creating this game?

Lokishina:We both work, so we are doing it on the side. It took a year of waking up at 6 a.m. and devoting at least one day on weekends to the game. It’s a lot of fun, though, I’d definitely do it all over again.

WaveWire: What are your plans in the future if this turns out well?

Lokishina: More games, but let’s take it one at a time.

Author: Michelle Yedin

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