For as long as I’ve been picking up microphones and pretending to be a games podcaster I’ve been covering the games made by the wonderful people at Muha. They were the first people I ever interviewed as a guest for our podcast, the first people to ever give me a video game press code and the first people to start consistently recognising me as someone who wanted to chat to them about games for shows and articles. I consider it a tradition these days when I find my way onto the show floor of any games show to immediately hunt them down and chat to them about where the Thea series is headed next.
So at 2019’s EGX Rezzed I did exactly that, I got to the show floor, I immediately headed downstairs and found them in their slightly cold corner with coasters and cosplay abound, and out came the microphones. But it struck me that something was different this time around. That the three-person team I met the first time I came across Muha Games, was far larger and far more significant than I’ve ever known them to be before. In the last few years before the Thea series has gone from one game on one platform, to one game ported to multiple platforms, a second game in early access with its full release coming soon, as well as a tabletop RPG and a hugely dedicated community behind these games. Whilst they’re still very much independent, the Thea games suddenly felt much less indy to me. In our interview, I asked Mila (the lead writer of the games) if she had any idea that they would become this big when they started working on the first one.
“I often look back at it and remember saying to my partner that I’ll be happy if we make a little bit of money on this and then we can maybe try and do something else. No, we had no idea, and Thea The awakening is still going so well. We’re just always amazed at it, like, you mentioned the switch version that’s been a surprise for us and it’s really nice, [it] is selling really well and the reception is [doing] really well.”
We also talked about the kind of hard work Muha games is currently having to put into Thea 2 and how drastically the game has changed thanks to the community they’ve built around it. “Initially we had patches every couple of days and recently they’ve been more once a week or once every 10 days because we’ve added those bigger features, bigger stuff”.
But Muha games is no longer the three people I once met and whilst their success is brilliant the intensity and labour behind being an indie developer is still very much there.
“it’s kind of at that stage where we are tired because, since the early access release we have been pretty much working non-stop. So I think we want to finish but we want to do it as well as we possibly can so it’s eager anticipation [too}”.
My favourite thing about our latest chat was their approach to the newer developers they’ve bought on board. On the way to our interview, Mila mentioned to me that their team had grown but that they were encouraging the newer members of their team to look after themselves and not risk burning out due to the intensity that game development often comes with. It was wonderfully refreshing to hear of a studio taking this approach in a day and age where we hear reports and horror stories of the biggest games like Fortnite and red dead also take the biggest toll on their developers.
I genuinely can’t wait to see where Muha and Thea go next, they are some of my favourite talents in the industry and watching them grow has been an absolute pleasure. But, now even more so than that, knowing that they’re growing in the right way and that the team they’re building is built on excellent games, good ethics and trust make their story even sweeter.
This interview was taken from a larger chat that you can hear in the latest episode of Games Up Podcast, stay tuned for the full EGX Rezzed special episode.