It's with a heavy heart I update this article to say Fahmi has passed away. He left our world in March '22, only a few months after we recorded this podcast. He was 32 years old.
The story goes that Fahmi was drinking a warm green tea latte one cold rainy night, looking out of his window, when an idea hit him. He felt serenely calm and warm and wondered, 'Why isn't there a game that makes me feel like this?' So an idea began to, ahem, percolate in his mind. An idea about a game in which you serve warm drinks in a cafe late at night, and listen to people tell you their troubles and tales. People who happen to be succubi and orcs and werewolves and vampires, but people with problems just like ours. And lo, Coffee Talk was born.
A lot of love has built around the game in the year since it was released, and really, it's not hard to see why. Coffee Talk is that warm, relaxing hug-of-a-drink Fahmi intended. Low-fi beats lounge along as beautiful pixel-drawn characters sit down to talk to you. There's no stress, there's no rush, there's just you and them, words and lives, and some potent pops of wisdom along the way. It's a perfect game to play during a hurried and cold, and often anxious, time of year such as this.
But as if releasing one game wasn't enough, Fahmi released another in 2020, a smaller one called What Comes After. (Funnily enough, this game was built on Project Heartbreak tech, the game Fahmi is working on now, and we talk a bit about this in the episode.) This is a game about a young lady at her lowest ebb in life and who, one day, drifts off on a train ride home only to wake and find herself in a spirit world. It's from the spirits she meets that Vivi, our lady, rekindles a passion both for herself and the life she still lives. It's a gently moving experience and there's a really touching intention behind it, as you'll discover.
My guest this week, then, is the lovely Indonesian writer and narrative designer Fahmi. You may recognise his name from him having made some of my favourite contributions to those big, multi-people pieces we did on Eurogamer this year. And that is totally a shameless plug to get you to read them.
So! To hear about what it's like developing games on the other side of the world, to hear about new game Project Heartbreak, and to hear about how he ended up adopting dozens of cats, listen to episode five of The New Eurogamer Podcast [since renamed One-to-one] now. It's available in this article and anywhere you listen to podcast (and if you can't find it somewhere, please let me know). Just in case, here are some handy links:
The Podcast goes out every two weeks and supporters get new episodes first. Tomorrow, episode six will look into the life and career of departing Eurogamer editor Oli Welsh, who explains his reasons for leaving as well as what it's been like in the role for so many years. He's a very thoughtful fellow and I heartily recommend a listen. This episode will be available to all on 27th December.
That episode with Oli will be the final episode of 2021, as I'll be taking a brief break to recharge my batteries before the new year. I hope you've enjoyed the Podcast this year. It's been a pleasure relaunching it and I'm already excited about some of the guests I've lined up for 2022. Oh and please do leave me a message below about anything podcast-related, or pop into the the Eurogamer Discord for some real-time talk!