Pepper Grinder dev on inspiration, the game’s graphics, and more

The newest indie title for the Nintendo Switch, Pepper Grinder, has just been released on the system this week. This game caught the attention of many during Nintendo’s November 2022 Indie World Showcase and has been highly anticipated by fans. After a bit of a delay, the game is finally available for fans to enjoy.

To get a better understanding of the development process behind Pepper Grinder, we sat down for an interview with the game’s developer, Riv Hester. Hester shared insights into the inspirations behind the game, which include classics such as Ecco the Dolphin and popular Nintendo titles. He also discussed how the game’s unique graphics were created and much more.

One of the main challenges in creating Pepper Grinder, according to Hester, was keeping the content fresh without overwhelming himself with work. He aimed to introduce unique mechanics in each stage while ensuring that the game remained manageable to work on. While he had support from others for music and ports, most of the development work fell on his shoulders. Despite this, Hester is proud of the variety and density of content in Pepper Grinder.

When it comes to inspiration, Hester drew from a variety of games and media to build the world of Pepper Grinder. Initially inspired by Dig Dug and Ecco the Dolphin, the game also features elements reminiscent of titles like Donkey Kong Country 2, Super Mario World, and 2D Sonic games. In addition, influences from media such as Tank Girl, Gurren Lagann, and Time Bandits can be seen throughout the game.

The decision to use a pixel art style for the graphics was intentional, with Hester aiming for a loose and painterly approach. By avoiding outlines and utilizing a modern color palette, he was able to create large animated characters and boss fights efficiently. The bright and bubbly tone of the game was also a deliberate choice to step outside his comfort zone artistically.

As Pepper Grinder nears release, Hester expresses relief at finally completing the game after years of development. While the game has been rebuilt from scratch in the last two years, the journey to release has been a long one. Hester is pleased with how the game has turned out and is looking forward to sharing it with players.

In a surprising turn of events, Hester reveals that cosmetic options for customizing Pepper’s appearance were added to the game following player feedback. This feature, which allows players to change Pepper’s hair and cloak colors, was implemented quickly and easily in a patch scheduled for release day.

Looking ahead, Hester is unsure if there will be a sequel to Pepper Grinder or if this will be the only adventure for the plucky pirate. After taking a well-deserved break, he may revisit the world of Pepper Grinder with fresh eyes and see where the journey takes him.

While Hester’s future creative endeavors remain uncertain, he hints at having other ideas in the works. With the lessons learned from Pepper Grinder, he hopes to streamline the development process for his next project. There are many directions he could take creatively, and fans will have to wait and see what comes next.

Pepper Grinder is now available for download on the Nintendo Switch eShop, offering players a chance to explore a beautifully crafted world with fluid controls and engaging gameplay. Be sure to check out this unique indie title and support the hard work and dedication that went into creating it.