We keep coming back to puppetry as a running theme, and that's because, much to my surprise, Citizen Sleeper creator Gareth Damian Martin is a trained puppeteer. When they ran out of time to apply to art college, they chose puppetry instead, which would eventually take them into a career in theatre design, where they learned lots of valuable lessons - one of them being dealing with un-moveable deadlines by planning only what can be done in time. That's how they made Citizen Sleeper in two years, and how they were able to plan a break before launch so they could return refreshed for it. So that's how I find Damian Martin today: refreshed, calm and smiling.
They've got good reason to smile of course: Citizen Sleeper appears to have been a big success. Because of Game Pass, it's being played by many, many more people than Damian Martin's previous game, In Other Waters. But it's been bought by more people too, both on console and on PC, which is obviously gratifying - and it means Damian Martin can comfortably make games for the foreseeable future. And there are more Citizen Sleeper plans they're already working on.
But what really fulfils Damian Martin is the feedback they're getting about the game: the heartfelt messages from people who feel seen by the new sci-fi role-playing game. It's a game that thinks a lot on othering and the idea of belonging, all against the backdrop of a fairly brutal capitalist reality, and clearly it's striking a chord with people. It's also interesting seeing the same themes pop up in Damian Martin's life, as they walk me through the many twists and turns it has taken so far. Growing up in the Orkney islands and playing among ancient burial sites sounds awesome.
Episode 15 is now available to all. Incidentally, the show has been renamed One-to-one in order to differentiate it from the other shows we now publish to the podcast feed: Newscast and Weekly. The name "One-to-one" actually better represents what this in-depth interview series is all about, anyway. The umbrella title for the podcast feed has also changed, moving from The New Eurogamer Podcast to, simply, Eurogamer Podcasts. It makes more sense. Here are some handy links:
I hope you like the new episode - I do - and if you have any questions, please hit me up below.