For developer Davionne Gooden, and his project She Dreams Elsewhere, it’s been a long road. He’s worked on this retro-style RPG for four-and-a-half years at this point, starting back when he was just 18 years old, and he’s admitted it’s been stressful and that sleep has been hard to come by. But the work seems to be paying off between landing a deal with Xbox Game Pass and, honestly, creating something that’s really promising. I was able to link up with him to talk about life as a developer in unprecedented times, and uncover more of this game that completely won me over at PAX East earlier this year.
“I thought I was going to have a pretty chill summer, just keeping my head down working on the game. And then at the start of June, here were all these opportunities, and they all have deadlines every single week,” he told me when I asked about how development is going. While he’s had outside support for aspects such music composition, character art, and PR, everything else falls on him as an independent developer. And in that regard, She Dreams Elsewhere is a sort of sharp reflection of Davionne himself.
If you watch the gameplay clip above, you’ll probably get a sense of his influences; when I played it at PAX East, it evoked feelings of Persona, Earthbound, and dare I say, Undertale. I told Davionne at PAX, “this is 100% my shit!” and we proceeded to share our love for Persona 3, in particular.