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Developer Spotlight:
Interview With Mateusz Skutnik

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Developer Spotlight: <br/> Interview With Mateusz Skutnik

DoraThere are a lot of game developers out there, but few have achieved the cult following and widespread popularity of Mateusz Skutnik. From the post-apocalyptic tale of The Fog Fall to the simple yet oh-so-stylish puzzling of his charming 10 Gnomes games, Mateusz has taken players around the world on memorable point-and-click adventures, to say nothing of his smash-hit ten year series of Submachine games. It's hard to believe he gets any time off at all... just one month after the first Submachine game, he released Submachine Remix, which dramatically expanded upon the original. Since 2005, he's made or been involved in the creation of a staggering amount of free online games, to the point where it isn't officially the New Year until he's released a new installment of his Where Is... ? series to ring it in.

Just lately, he's agreed to work on a very special project for us, an escape game just for JayisGames, but then, he's always working on something special, from comics to tutorials, to special HD versions of the games people love. What's your favourite Mateusz Skutnik game? What was the first one you ever played? Do you like them whimsical... or just a little freaky? What's your favourite thing about them... what makes, for you, a Mateusz game, a Mateusz game?

Click on past the break for a short interview and a sneak peek at his upcoming escape game! And remember, if you've enjoyed any of the many fantastic free games he's released over the years, consider supporting him by purchasing HD versions from his store!

Daymare TownA big focus of your games is usually story and setting. Is there any sort of story genre that you haven't tried yet but have always wanted to? Not really. I'm not looking at genres while writing a story. Often when I write... I don't know what will come out of it. The readers and players determine whether that thing that I did is cute or disturbingly fascinating. That concerns mostly graphics, but story as well. Long story short, I don't know in what genres I operate. I don't know what genres I'm missing here.

Few people actually think about or understand the time, effort, and talent that goes into creating the games they play online for free. What is the process like in creating the average point-and-click adventure you make? 60% is thinking, imagining, writing, going through the game in my head. Another 30% is drawing everything. 5% is programming and the last 5% is all other stuff, like engine integration, implementing sound effects, music, debugging, beta-testing, releasing...

Submachine 5: The RootSubmachine recently released its ninth installment... and has been going on for nine years to boot! Has the series changed direction or vision significantly since you first began, or have you always had a specific storyline in mind? No, of course not. When first one came out I didn't even have a plan for a sequel. But the overwhelming popularity of this game dictated that it turned into series which is now closing to a ten-year run. I have a not-so-clear vision of the entire plot, but creating each installment is shaping the game to its final state. And with that, the overall story as well. I had a rather clear idea about how the series will end by the time Submachine 5 was released, but how we'd get there... I had no clue. Now, after Submachine 9 we know.

Out of all the different settings and storylines you've worked with and created over the years, is there any one in particular that you find the hardest to work with, or the easiest? Something that just "comes to you", while another you might find yourself really puzzling over how to proceed with it? For me there's no such thing as a setting that's hard to work with. I don't struggle with my games, I let them flow, my games are like a river, they take the easiest path to the sea. It's about floating alongside that river. It's kind of hard to explain, but that work that I do while creating games isn't really "a work"... it's more like drawing my comic books. If I don't feel good while creating... I just don't do it.

Covert FrontMost of the Submachine games have a very distinctive approach to puzzle solving and exploration. What's most challenging about coming up with puzzles that fit their environment and are often something the player needs to experiment with to understand, without going overboard to the point where the design gets too obscure? I always had a fixed answer to that question, which is... I don't know. But the more I think about it, the more I know there's more to it. I think that's because I, myself, am an average gamer. I probably wouldn't be able to solve a Submachine game if it wasn't me who made it. So I'm just pushing the puzzle design right out of my reach, and that's that golden spot, not too hard, not too simple, just average enough.

Have you ever thought about creating a game in something other than flash, such as Unity or HTML5? I have, and we did. We, as in Pastel Games. But that didn't go so well for us. However, I'll probably be moving away from flash-based games starting from 2015, I'm thinking about creating a game that I'd be able to put on Steam. But that's distant future, right now I have a series to finish. I can't abandon my players who've been waiting almost 10 years for the resolution in Submachine series (What, pressure? No, no pressure at all...).

Finally, you have a lot of different multipart games you've been working on over the years. Do you have anything new you're thinking about starting, or are you planning to focus on the stories and games you've already got going? No, no new series for now. I'm saving that for something completely different, big and bold and sparkling new that I'd be able to put on Steam and earn a pot of gold. Meanwhile wrapping up the flash-based part of my life, I'm creating HD remakes of my best games, which are available in my store.

Watch for a special escape game created by Mateusz Skutnik just for the JayisGames community coming soon! Here's a sneak peek! Mateusz Skutnik: JiG Escape Preview


shjack180 May 9, 2014 9:16 PM

Aw man, I am looking forward to his game for jig. I had to laugh when he said he was an average gamer, so he makes his submachine games average. If that's the case, I am definitely a below average player. I think I've needed help beating every single game in that series! lol

I hope the Fog Fall and Covert Front series get turned into HD remakes. If they do, I will definitely buy them up. Great series!

Patreon VIP abfdrumz May 9, 2014 11:19 PM

No kidding, shjack180. I still haven't played all of the Submachines, but of those I have, 3 (The Loop) is the only one that I'd consider "average" or below in difficulty. But hey, even Mateusz admits that he might not be able to solve them if he hadn't written them. ;)

CJTressler May 9, 2014 11:42 PM

I can think of no one better suited to make the first JayIsGames escape game than Mateusz Skutnik. There are some designers who, while taking their own approach to the genre of escape games, the screencaps of their games are not always distinguishable as to who made them. Mateusz Skutnik is not one of those designers. His execution of gameplay is unique, as is the overall look of the game. You would not look at a screencap of one of his games and mistake them for a game from someone like hottategoya or tesshi-e. This is, by no means, to intended to take anything away from those other designers. While each is indeed unique, no one could be more appropriate to make your first escape game. Congratulations to both JayIsGames and Mateusz Skutnik!


Will we be able to purchase this game as an offline HD edition too? (Maybe that will help this site out)

Now, about why I like his games. There are many reasons why I like his games. First, the art style is really distinct and well worked. Second, most of his games revolve escaping on a scale more than a room or a house. Sometimes I feel like it is an adventure in his worlds. Third, I feel like the puzzles are more "solvable" than other room escape games (the ones I've seen so far always seem to involve looking for a code, decipering how to use it, and then using it on the right lock). There is a lot to like about his games and I will look forward to this one too.

daymaretown May 10, 2014 7:41 AM replied to shjack180

I also said that I wouldn't be able to solve Submachine. ;)

Patreon Crew Jeff May 10, 2014 9:07 AM replied to AbstractMatter

I can confirm that two versions of the game will be released in a few weeks:
-a standard version
-a HD version

You know we are not here in the search of the profit so the HD version will be free for JiG members (meaning the url will be visible only for the members) plus some pictures in hi-res.


Okay. Looks like you guys are not struggling anymore.

daymaretown May 10, 2014 4:14 PM

Yep, confirming, free HD version will be available, alongside with hi-res printable images, or maybe some wallpapers, what have you.

IIAOPSW May 10, 2014 7:13 PM

When sub10 is done, I would absolutely love a single, bound together "submachine" which is just all the games rolled into 1 file for convenience. Heck if its reasonably prices I might even pay a small amount on steam for it (assuming it comes with some extra paid-for content).

jcfclark May 10, 2014 7:15 PM

It's very wonderful that Mateusz Skutnik is developing a game especially for JIG. I've always enjoyed the "Where is..." games for their style and playfulness. Because I am a below average gamer, I had to abandon the Submachine series after the fourth simply because it seemed that I was beginning to 'cheat' more often than not. Looking forward to what Mateusz Skutnik has in store for JIG!

Patreon Donator Infant Tyrone May 10, 2014 9:03 PM

I don't even feel bad about occasional peeks at the walkthroughs; the thrill of wandering around in the worlds of Covert Front, Daymare Town, and, of course, Submachine, is great enough that I don't feel bad if I can't solve every puzzle. These are some of the best games I've seen online, and I'm happy to buy HD versions to support what is essentially a financial crapshoot for the creator.

Thanks for your great work Mr. Skutnik!


I'm definitely looking forward to this. The Daymare Town series is my favorite. The incredibly ominous feeling it gave me is memorable. Walking through an old, seemingly deserted European village, with the wind blowing through the narrow streets, weird characters popping up in the most unlikeliest of places at times. Like a menacing nightmare that compels you to just keep exploring the next turn. I thought that series was brilliant.

I was pleased and a bit surprised that M.S. commented that he didn't think he would be able to solve his own puzzles had he not been the creator. I'm pretty sure that without the JIG community, I wouldn't have been able to either.

I just visited his Shop and purchased and downloaded Daymare Town 2-3 & 4. I'd like to see the original made available in HD at some point. It's the type of game I could return to after some time passed, and play it all over again.

Thanks for some very enjoyable game play Mr. Skutnik. And thanks JIG for presenting it to us.

Billy Nitro May 11, 2014 9:31 AM


I know that saying someone's name in excitement isn't constructive feedback, but I'll give myself a pass in this case as I have yet to see a game I didn't like by this developer.

daymaretown May 11, 2014 10:25 AM

@Zeke - Daymare Town 1 HD coming up in June ;).

Patreon Donator Infant Tyrone May 11, 2014 11:20 AM

Oh, Daymare Town, Covert Front and Sumachine all have excellent replayability. Like a great book or movie, wandering through a second time lets you see some of the finer details in the art and story. You can identify where the foreshadowing is and notice all kinds of implications that may have slipped by before. This is another great reason to purchase the games. (Also it gives you something wonderful to do if you're downloading a huge software update and don't want to tie up your signal with a game!)

Patreon Donator dsrtrosy May 11, 2014 1:49 PM

I love the idea of a package of Submachine games--which I would buy even without additional content. I'd also love to see more of the games ported to iOS--every time one of our indie developers puts something out there for mobile, I buy it.


I've got a screenshot of one of a character from one of Mateusz's DAYMAREs on the wall of my studio. His illustration and game making is so well crafted and so well matched.

As a film maker working in animation myself I totally appreciate people like Mateusz are a new (perhaps not so new) breed of storyteller.

Thanks for continuing joy Mateusz!!!


I loved playing Covert Front. I have yet to play the submachine series but by the looks of the feedback, i would probably enjoy it. :)


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