ZERO Sievert: Believe It Or Not, I'm Not Very Good At My Game

Luca Carbonera is the solo dev behind the upcoming survival simulation sensation, ZERO Sievert, now available in early access on Steam.

During our interview with Luca and George Willard from Modern Wolf, the publisher releasing ZERO Sievert, we asked about the inspiration behind the game, what made it stand out in the eyes of publishers, and just how long both Luca and George managed to survive in it!

How did your adventure with game development start?

LC: My journey started about eight or nine years ago. I found a YouTube video by Shaun Spaulding, and I immediately fell in love with everything behind video games.

What was the inspiration for ZERO Sievert?

LC: I’ve always loved post-apocalyptic games. I spent so many hours on Stalker, Metro, and Escape From Tarkov that I decided to start a hobby project inspired by these games.

Why did you choose to work with GameMaker?

LC: The big thing at the start was how easy it was to create games, even without any programming knowledge.

It’s very immediate and beginner-friendly. I’m really comfortable with it now and I know it well enough to create everything ZERO Sievert needs.

Have you used any other game engines before?

LC: I‘ve never actually used any other engine fully.

I tried a few, but it takes time to learn them, and since Game Maker is great for 2D games, it was easier to stick with.

Is there anything that frustrates you about GameMaker?

LC: I wouldn't say there have been any frustrations. I've been really happy with the process of learning to make games with GameMaker and haven't found any problems yet.

What’s the most challenging part of being an indie game developer?

LC: For me, it’s the art, actually. People really like ZERO Sievert's art style; I think it’s okay. I'm trying to improve every day, but it takes a lot of time.

As for what comes after creating the game, marketing definitely stands out. It’s an essential part of making a game a success, and it’s practically impossible for an indie developer to do it properly - or at least to do it as efficiently as a publisher.

Have you made any other games before?

LC: I haven't released any other games - ZERO Sievert will be my first!

How did Modern Wolf come to be?

GW: Modern Wolf started off in 2019 as a publisher that cares about its partners and supports teams making deep and replayable games.

We’ve always tried to bring vibrancy and interesting themes to classic genres.

Is ZERO Sievert the first game you’ll release under your label?

GW: No - we’ve released multiple games this year alone.

There’s the Early Access launch of Cantata, the sci-fi epic Out There: Oceans of Time, and the Strange Scaffold narrative game, Witch Strandings.

What convinced you ZERO Sievert was the right choice for your company?

GW: Alex, one of our team members, missed multiple meetings because he lost track of time playing the Kickstarter version. He wouldn’t stop going on about it!

When we looked at the project, we knew it was something we’d love to work on because of the style, theme, and the engaging gameplay.

What is the most challenging part of game publishing?

GW: Meeting the different needs and setting expectations can be particularly tricky when you’re working with different studios across multiple different titles.

Just this year, we’ve worked with solo devs like Luca that have integrated production and marketing capabilities.

Making sure that every team gets what they need is at the core of making sure the devs are able to focus on making the best version of their game they can.

What are your plans for the future?

LC: Making other games!

If ZERO Sievert is successful enough to allow me the luxury of being able to devote myself to another game, I’d be very happy.

How long did you manage to survive in ZERO Sievert?

GW: Depends who you ask!

Some of the team have got tens of hours on the hardest start, where you begin with a single pistol, and others get taken out by a rogue wolf a minute into a run.

LC: Believe it or not, I'm not very good at my game!

Even after years of making and playing ZERO Sievert, I often die to the silliest things and the easiest situations, but this I think is a strength of the game. Miss a few shots and even the easiest enemy will kill you in seconds.

Written by Kinga Kwapisz

Kinga Kwapisz is a Marketing Specialist at GameMaker and an avid Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast from Poland. She's constantly on the move, looking for interesting game developers to interview and new indie games to play (especially if they feature cats!).