Exclusive: Dogs, Death, And Fantasy Life
Potion Permit Lead

There’s a slew of charming life sim-type games on the slate for the Nintendo Switch in 2022 and 2023, and Potion Permit is one of the ones we’re most intrigued about.

Published by PQube, with a release date of September 22nd, 2022, Potion Permit is all about tending to the ailments to the people in your village, gathering ingredients from the local woods and ponds, and living a quiet life as the alchemist of Moonbury. You also have a sidekick — your faithful dog, Noxe, who you can pet at any time.

Potion Permit has a gorgeous art style, plenty of heart, and it’s being made by MassHive Media, a studio based in Bandung, Indonesia. We spoke to the team ahead of the upcoming release of the game to find out a little more about what we can expect, including some exclusive new screenshots…

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Nintendo Life: What is the indie game scene like in Indonesia? How does it feel to be representing the country as developers?

MassHive: We have a lot of indie game developers spread around Indonesia and the numbers continue to grow each day from PC to mobile game developers.

Even though not everyone always sees this industry as a good career path, we feel proud and happy with what we’ve done up until now.

You can heal people and befriend them – but what can you improve about yourself in the game?

Players can upgrade their clinic, house, foraging tools, and so much more. They can also personalize their home with some furniture.

However, changing the opinion of the Moonbury community towards the player is the most important thing in our game. 

Can you tell us about some of the residents of Moonbury?

The residents of Moonbury are good people with their own character traits and life goals but since the island is quite isolated, they have a hard time opening up to anything new and unconventional such as the healing methods the player has to offer. 

We finally found what we are passionate about and decided to continue this journey with Potion Permit

What was the team doing before making Potion Permit?

Our team started our journey as a mobile game developer back in 2015. As we tried to shape our identity as a developer, we ended up as a premium game developer with our very first premium title called Azure Saga: Pathfinder. 

We finally found what we are passionate about and decided to continue this journey with Potion Permit. 

What inspirations have you drawn upon while creating the game?

Stardew Valley, Graveyard Keeper, Fantasy Life, and Moonlighter are our biggest inspirations for this game.

What kind of research did you do when you started making the game?

Since we are all gamers ourselves, and thus play games a lot, we tend to share our opinions about certain games with each one of our team members and like to especially discuss what we have struggled with on some level.

We then browse several forums for each of the games we have played and keep and eye out for people who share these feelings. This was the beginning of our research, but it got a lot more serious after that.

What has been the hardest part of making Potion Permit?

Creating goals, vibes, and mechanics which differ from other simulation games is the most difficult things we’ve encountered so far. 

We wanted to differentiate our game from the other games that have inspired us the most, and we subsequently had to create a clear path for Potion Permit. We have had to scrap a lot of ideas along the way until we finally found the ones fit our game best.

How much factual medicine is in the game?

The potions within our games are purely fictitious since we wanted each player to be able to play around with their own ingredients and recipe. 

In Potion Permit anyone can be a good chemist and anything you can find within the world can be used to help the people of Moonbury.  

Can people die?

In early design stages, we came up with several concepts which meant people could die in cases where they were mistreated. However, since we were planning to stick with the casual and cozy feel of the game, we decided to remove those features. 

We couldn’t imagine a town with no one left if they were treated by a bad chemist. This approach would’ve only worked if the people populating the town were randomly generated. 

Which part of the game took you the most time and/or effort – design, art, writing, or something else entirely?

The design and writing processes were by far the hardest thing we’ve had to work on.

We kept going back and forth to improve the game experience and to align them both as best as possible.

Is there anything you’ve learned while making Potion Permit that has made you think, “I’m never doing this particular thing again”?

Finding right timing for the narrative element to enter the game is an important lesson we’ve learned so far. We tried to bring narration into the game before the whole experience and game mechanics were set. However, creating a game with mechanics differing from other simulation games means a lot of experimenting without any guidance. Looking back, implementing narration at this difficult and experimental stage wasn’t a wise choice to make.

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Your game has met with a lot of excitement – what’s that been like for you?

We feel the exact same way and share the same feelings of excitement! We hope everyone will have as much fun with Potion Permit as we do, and we cannot thank everyone enough who’s tried our game so far! 

Embracing something new might be frightening but it is not always a bad thing

Have you added or changed anything about the game following the massive response to it?

We’ve recently made some design changes based on the feedback we received. Noxe, for instance, the main protagonist’s canine companion, will have improved behaviours, and will overall provide more help to the player. Furthermore, some more animations will be added specifically for him. 

What do you hope that players learn from Potion Permit?

Embracing something new might be frightening but it is not always a bad thing.

We hope you are able to learn from the main protagonist who is trying their best to be accepted in the community despite past experiences and that you’ll soon realise that helping other people as a chemist is not only a noble thing to do but incredibly cool and fun at the same time!

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Potion Permit will be out on the Nintendo Switch as both a digital and retail game on September 22nd, 2022. There’s also a Steam demo, if you want to try it out ahead of time!

Is Potion Permit your kind of thing? Tell us in the comments!

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