How Vampire Survivors became a hit when creator Poncle was ready to give up

For his entire life, Luca Galante wanted to work in game development.

This fascination started early, long before he began work on 2021 smash hit Vampire Survivors; the first line of code he wrote was some HTML to cheat in a PlayStation game. But learning more about game development was not easy growing up.

“I had very limited resources,” he says. “At the time there weren’t any books about programming in the library in Italy. I didn’t have internet until the last two years of high school.”

Nevertheless, he persevered and chose this as his career path, scoring a certification from the Italian Academy of Video Games in 2010. That same year he moved to London in the UK to pursue a career in the industry.

Initially, by his own admission, the budding developer’s hunt for work in the industry was held back by his English abilities.

“I found that it was fine for me to speak English, but I just couldn’t understand recruiters on the phone,” he says. “They would ask me things like my date of birth, and I’d reply with my address or something like that. It definitely wasn’t easy to get a job in the industry.”

So he ended up working in McDonald’s. But the urge to make video games had not disappeared, it became something that dominated his spare time.

“Nothing I did on the side really took off,” he says. “I always tried to make things either too complicated, or I was trying to make things that I didn’t really like much. I just thought that the code would be successful, basically. That was mostly mobile games.”

He continues: “It was definitely a bit of just trying to make something that already exists. A lot of those prototypes were just to test ideas. I like JRPGs, for example, but only like the combat aspect of them. So most of my prototypes were about just combat prototypes for the JRPGs.”

The full article is over on the Barclays Games blog

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