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Look at any screenshot, and the life-simulation inspirations for Pixelcount Studio’s Kynseed become readily apparent: Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, et. al. While this Early Access title created by ex-Lionhead Studios developers still has a long time to official release, it’s already racked up more than 200 positive reviews on Steam, thanks to its unique “time actually matters” pitch and its gorgeous pixel art.

Gamasutra sat down with Matt Allen, the production manager for PixelCount, to examine what makes this game tick. Here’s Allen in his own words.

Like many developers, we were always prone to daydreaming about one day starting our own studio and being masters of our own ship. Though at the time, most of our team were still happily at Lionhead, playing table tennis and having too many takeaways. Yet over the years, going it alone was still an idea our thoughts would occasionally return to, like having a song stuck in your head.

The news that Lionhead was closing its doors hit us hard, but it also forced us to think about the future. Amid the heartbreak of the closure, we realized we had an opportunity to pursue that daydream of ours and perhaps even keep some of the Lionhead …read more