A Home with Good Bones: An Interview with Jes Negrón, Retcon Games

Learn more about an industry veteran game developer's approach to cozy horror in this exclusive interview

A Home with Good Bones: An Interview with Jes Negrón, Retcon Games
Source: Press Kit.

Good Bones is the first title from RETCON Games, a one-person game studio founded by Jes Negrón in 2019. The point-and-click adventure game looks to be a cozy horror tale that delves into serious subjects, such as grief, abuse, and revenge.

Negrón has been in the media development game for a long time, with almost two decades of experience as a writer, editor, producer, and designer of various media, including books and games. She has weathered the storms of these industries, particularly following her departure from Riot Games. Negrón and Melanie McCracken jointly filed a gender-based discrimination class-action lawsuit against Riot in November 2018. However, the resulting funds from that suit combined with Negrón's passion for telling her own stories provided her with the foundation to start up RETCON Games and complete the development of her first solo title.

I had the opportunity to speak with Negrón about her recently launched game, Good Bones, and how she approached the development process.

Still from Good Bones. Source: Press Kit.

SUPERJUMP: Tell us a bit about Retcon Games, the new development company you founded in December 2021. How did you come to start up your own company? What are some of your company’s goals? 

Jes Negrón: I’ve always worked in creative industries and it’s long been a dream of mine to start my own creative endeavor. My goal with RETCON has always been to carve out a place in the industry where underrepresented stories can be told.

SUPERJUMP: How did you decide what to develop for your first game at Retcon? What were some of the gameplay, narrative, and other considerations that led you to create Good Bones? 

Negrón: I wanted to start off with a point-and-click game that set a good bar for the tone I want to hit with the company’s projects. Good Bones is a deeply personal story–it reflects a lot of my background as a Latina and the issues we face in our communities. That’s not a tale that often gets told in games, which means there’s a swath of people out there who love games and never get to see themselves in them. That’s my ultimate goal for RETCON. I want people of all different kinds of backgrounds to see themselves in the games we make.

SUPERJUMP: Tell us about Good Bones. What are the main aspects of the gameplay and story that might interest players? 

Negrón: Good Bones is a cozy, yet haunted point-and-click adventure that puts you in the role of a mother running from her grief right into a creepy old house. Throughout the game, you have to balance your relationship with your also-grieving daughter while investigating the house for clues about past events and the identity of its former residents. It’s an intimate and heartbreaking story, and so far players have really enjoyed getting to the bottom of the mystery.

SUPERJUMP: As both the developer, programmer, and writer for Good Bones, how do you approach the process of merging gameplay, story, and art into a cohesive narrative whole? 

Negrón: I have to give props to my artists, Patricia Navarro and Agatha Hidalgo, who gave the environments and characters of the game life. The gameplay is quiet, thoughtful, and a little unnerving, and they did such an amazing job reflecting those vibes in the visual design. For me, it’s all about that tone. You set a tone as the North Star, and the visuals, the story, and the gameplay all use that as a guide. Action-packed gameplay wouldn’t have fit here, and a grand narrative wouldn’t have fit either. I did a lot of work to measure up gameplay and storytelling decisions against that tone guide, and whatever didn’t fit the vibe, got cut.

Still from Good Bones. Source: Press Kit.

"I have to give props to my artists, Patricia Navarro and Agatha Hidalgo, who gave the environments and characters of the game life. The gameplay is quiet, thoughtful, and a little unnerving, and they did such an amazing job reflecting those vibes in the visual design."

Jes Negrón

SUPERJUMP: What was your process in working with freelance artists and other creatives? How did you set things up to ensure that everyone was on the same page? 

Negrón: Documentation is key. I wrote very detailed briefs for every character and every environment. I had a strong vision and have a lot of practice communicating that vision to my team, and I think that shows. And it helps that the freelancers I worked with were incredibly talented folks who offered me the same respect for my time that I did for theirs. We started off with a working agreement and I think that made all the difference. Everyone knew what was expected of them and we could focus on creating awesome stuff.

SUPERJUMP: Every game developer experiences setbacks while making their games. How did you approach setbacks and/or delays when they came up?

Negrón: You really just have to roll with it. The year I started RETCON was a rough one. I had just lost my job, I was planning my wedding and moving house, and I was on the board of a big festival. I had a lot going on all at once! I really had to learn how to give myself grace. I’m only one person and I couldn’t hold myself to the standard of a fully funded, fully staffed studio. I had to delay a lot. But the game came out, and I didn’t burn myself out in the process because I gave myself that grace, and that was a huge win.

SUPERJUMP: One of the ways that you have been connecting with both fellow developers and players is by making TikToks about your game development process. What has your experience of using TikTok been, and what advice would you give to other game developers looking to use TikTok?

Negrón: TikTok has, surprisingly, been the most effective tool I’ve had at building an audience for my studio and my game. Most of my game wishlists before launch were direct results of TikTok engagement. TikTok has this magic quality of allowing a really personal and intimate connection with your viewer. It allows people to follow the story you’re telling in a way that other social media platforms don’t prioritize. Sure, you’re still one voice in a sea of many, but the design of the platform means that once someone likes your content, they can dive deeper and engage more. It’s easy to hold someone’s attention once you’ve captured it on TikTok, and that’s allowed me to build a small but really loyal group of supporters who are genuinely interested and invested in me and my games.

You can find Good Bones on Steam for $14.99.


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