Interview with Eevee, the creator of Sicari and K-16
The purpose of this interview is to show and acknowledge the great efforts and dedication that romhackers of SNES games provide. Go click here if you are interested in a German translation of this interview.
Romhacking is the act of manipulating game files in a way to provide a new gaming experience. Some romhacks only change characters or certain graphics, others even provide new gameplay elements.
A very dedicated romhacking community is smwcentral. SMW is short for Super Mario World, this community specifically only creates hacks of Super Mario World (and a few Yoshi’s Island hacks). Some make very small changes, some basically provide a new game.
One of the romhacks I have very much enjoyed because it looks so different from Super Mario World and creates a different gaming experience is Sicari Remastered. And the creator Eevee was so kind to answer me some questions.
How old are you?
23 years old!
How come all your protagonists are female and bosses are (almost) all male?
Not entirely true! Two of the bosses in Sicari Remastered are female, along with three of them in Sicari 2 ^^ There’s no real reason for it, though I do find female characters easier to draw and design.
How did you get in touch with Super Mario World and Lunar Magic?
Many years back when I was a kid, I got into flash games. One of them was a Mario flash game with a level editor. I really enjoyed that, and it inspired me to find more advanced ways of level design, which is how I found Lunar Magic.
What was your inspiration for your Sicari / K-16 universe?
It’s been almost a decade now, so I can’t remember the exact details. But I’ve always preferred trying to use original characters and settings as opposed to preexisting ones, I just feel more comfortable working with them.
What are the main difficulties creating a SMW hack?
Definitely the limitations you have to work with, but that’s also the fun part, because I like to think working around limitations makes ways for more creative solutions to problems. Other than that, might be just a me-thing, but it’s hard to just not have inspiration some days, which can make level design very tricky.
How long does it approximately take you to create a level in Lunar Magic?
Longer than it probably should lol, mainly because of how I work on my levels. I’ll design a small part of a new level, get an idea for some of its layout, and then I’ll often just start working on another one before that last one is finished. Definitely would not recommend doing things this way, but in my case at least, it gives me something to do when there’s no inspiration for level design.
How did you create the concept for Sicari? Did you develop it step by step or did you have a clear vision in mind?
It started off very vague, like, just as an assassin girl who had to redeem herself by slaying a demon. I think a lot of it just naturally developed as I played around with ideas and tried to make it all fit contextually within its own world.
You have already created a game for the robot character in Sicari Remastered, named K-16. And Sicari 2 is already planned, do you plan on expanding your own gaming universe even further?
K-16: Story of Steel is basically a hack that fits in between the events of Sicari Remastered and Sicari 2, and offers a bit of insight into K-16. Maybe one day I’ll remake it lol, since the design is questionable to say the least. I have been working on a Sicari Remastered prequel story, though I don’t claim to be the best writer or anything. Just a fun side project to flesh out the characters some more.
Why K-16, why not M-12 or X-0?
Honestly, the name was very random at first lol, and she was originally called E-62 or something along those lines? Though retroactively, in universe, K-16 is part of her production code, the full name being MLC K-16!
The multilayer backgrounds in Sicari Remastered look amazing. How many graphics did you create yourself for Sicari?
Thank you! I draw all of my own graphics. It’s a bit daunting, but it also means I can keep a somewhat consistent style throughout.
When will the full version of Sicari 2 be completed?
I’m aiming for 2022, but no promises lol.
Can you integrate me as a character into Sicari 2? Alex the SNES game reviewer? Alex the weird interview guy xD ?
Not quite sure where I could fit that in at this point, but maybe in my next hack!
How long does it approximately take you to create a SNES hack?
Sicari and K-16: Story of Steel each took only a year each. Sicari Remastered took 4 years, and assuming I can get Sicari 2 out by next year, the same can be said for that too. I’m taking it a lot slower, but it’s probably better for my health lol.
Do you have any upcoming projects, besides Sicari 2?
After Sicari 2, I’ll probably work on a smaller scale, chill hack before I try another huge project.
Do you play SMW hacks on an emulator or the real thing?
Only on an emulator, sadly, I don’t have a SNES.
Why do you think most SMW hacks are so incredibly hard? And why did you choose to make your games not that hard.
I think hacks tend to vary wildly in difficulty. I personally wouldn’t say mine are easy, but I still do want them to be somewhat accessible to all kinds of players if possible.
What are your favorite SMW hacks?
Too hard of a question for me – since I moderate hacks on SMWC, I’ve played so many at this point lol.
Which resources did you use to learn how to use Lunar Magic?
I don’t recall, but seeing as I used it before I joined SMWC, I believe I probably used old crusty YouTube tutorials lol.
What annoys you about other SMW hacks?
Ghost houses lol. Always the ghost houses.
Do you work on your hacks on your own or do you have some help?
I have a lot of help when it comes to ASM (SMW’s programing language), since I’m not really good at coding at all. Thankfully the site has a lot of resources and friendly people willing to help.
What did you want to do with Lunar Magic but couldn’t?
A lot of my wishes have been implemented through the years, such as an easy layer 3 editor. Also the ability to make huge, open levels. If I had to make another wish though, it would be for more external tools to become integrated I guess, just for simplicity’s sake, but I understand why that isn’t the case.
What was your key thought when creating Sicari? Telling a specific story? Using specific gameplay mechanics…? Creating a certain atmosphere?
I just wanted to make something that would stand out, I think, and that would be personal to me.
Would you take money to create hacks on order? Let’s say someone gives you 100$ or 200$ (or whatever) and wants elements x, y and z to be realised, total playtime about 30mins etc….
I wouldn’t take that money no, since romhacking is already sort of a grey area, and I don’t think it would be within my right to accept that money.
I have definitely heard some music from Lufia and Castlevania in Sicari Remastered, are you a fan?
Never actually played it! For the most part, when choosing music, I wanna see if it fits in with my idea more than anything else, though in my first two hacks, I definitely did prioritise songs I was familiar with lol.
Don’t you think it could be better to use specially composed music for your games, instead of taking music from other games? There are talented people just waiting for such an oppurtunity…
Well, all 4 of my hacks actually have original compositions, made by friends, mainly when it comes to their main themes (on the title screen), though in the case of Sicari 2, it has significantly more original songs, since several of the levels also have their own compositions. I would definitely prefer a 100% original soundtrack, but I would never ask that of anyone.
The gameplay of Sicari is still pretty similar to SMW, was that on purpose or is it hard to implement new gameplay elements with Lunar Magic?
It’s definitely possible to implement new gameplay elements, and people have done it plenty of times, it’s just a matter of having your entire hack work well around that concept. It’s one of the things that’s made Sicari 2 a bit trickier, since its design is based around both characters being able to attack freely at any time.
I love that you actually give the player the option to choose between 2 different characters with different abilities in Sicari Remastered.
Will that be the case in Sicari 2 aswell? Will cooperative playing become an option? Anything else you can tell us?
There won’t be coop, but yup, it’s still based around being able to choose between Sicari and K-16. Sicari can now attack with a dagger at any time, and instead of firing shurikens with a powerup, she will shoot a spread shot of fire!
Will Anna and Ditsy be back in Sicari 2?
Anna is once again playable in Sicari 2, via levels where she flies on a broomstick, shooter style. Ditsy, I’m not sure, though I plan to have his species appear as enemies.
Who exactly is Anna?
Anna is a little witch who came on good terms with Sicari and K-16. She ran away from her family due to being outcast, but she makes the best out of life, and is always happy to help people.
How did K-16 and Sicari get to know each other? It’s not very obvious for an assassin and robot to know one another 🙂
There’s a lot to this story, but to keep it as short as I could, K-16 despite her claims of being a robot, is actually a cyborg. With a human heart and brain. As a human, her father was head of the assassins, but she was killed by a cult, driving her father insane, and prompting him to bring her back with a robotic form. He instantly regretted it, and disowned her. Ashamed of her new existence, K-16 stole Sicari from an orphanage, with the intent to give her father a proper daughter, but when he took his life, K-16 took it upon herself to raise Sicari.
I haven’t finished Sicari Remastered so far – and I must say some levels are amazing, I have really enjoyed the temple level in the first World and the train and sewer levels in world 3. What are your own favorite levels in Sicari Remastered?
I think I’m most happy with maybe Orenji, or a later level, „Central Tower,“ though, I still find it hard to look back on my old designs.
You are showing great knowledge and skills in level design and the creation of sprites and background graphics. Do you actually work in that field? If not, you should!
Nah, I don’t, though I have studied those fields for a bit.
What I missed a little was more towns. These could be used to explain more about the mythology and all the gods of the temples. And of course the characters and their relationship to one another. Maybe even show what the motivations of the bosses are. May you could create more story sections in Sicari 2?
I try not to have lore and such play too hard into my hacks, since I don’t want to confuse players. Or feel like they need to know extra stuff, or invest themselves to understand everything that’s going on. As mentioned before, I am working on a prequel story though, that fleshes out the world a lot more, and gives backgrounds to all of the Sicari Remastered bosses. I incorporate some elements into my hacks (such as how you may have noticed that Sicari is already familiar with who Jerry and Nancy are), but you don’t need to read it or anything!
Thanks and links
Thanks a lot for the nice interview and the great games. I know that they consume a lot of your free time and your work is very much appreciated. Hopefully I can spread some awareness for them. I am looking forward to play Sicari 2 when it’ll finally be released.
All pictures used with permission of Eevee and provided by Eevee.
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