The following is an Interview with José Ginés Picón López, Founder of Valhalla Cats and creator of “The Purring Quest,” a video game featuring cats!
TCT: How did you get the idea to develop a cat video game?
Everything started in the summer of 2013. At that time I was working as a telecommunication engineer in a supercomputing center in Murcia, Spain. In June of that year I received a letter informing me about the closure of the company. Times were tough and full of uncertainty. After a lot of reflecting on my past career and what I wanted to do with my life, I decided to pursue two of my dreams – cats and video games. Valhalla Cats was born, and the “Purring Quest” cat video game was created.
TCT: Tell us about Valhalla Cats and the team behind “The Purring Quest”
Once the company was formed, the next step was to find the right people to form a high-preforming team. After many comings and goings, I managed to assemble a small group of wonderfully talented people (and they’re cat lovers, too!). Ascensión Lopez was the first person to join the team. She is a local illustrator who is in charge of the artistic direction of the video game and the design of its characters. The next pillar of the company is Javier Granados, a professional who has worked for major companies like Disney and Warner. He is responsible for the animations of cats and the effects featured in the game. The music comes from the young and talented Eugene Kutsenko, who is 21 years old. I manage everything else: programming, direction, and communications…
José stresses that one of the core aspects of Valhalla Cats is its social commitment in favor of animals. “I have always felt a special affinity with cats and I grew up surrounded by them. I even managed to convince my mother, who is allergic to cat fur, to adopt a little cat and now they are as thick as thieves. My cat Tika is also an important member of our company as the head of Human Resources. Tika will appear in the video game,” remarks José.
TCT: What is your inspiration?
Helping so many cats is not always easy. Where I live in Spain, spay/neuter programs are not very common (nor inexpensive), so it is very common to see cats on the streets. Unfortunately, most of the time, the lives of stray cats end tragically. “I just cannot continue to ignore their hungry eyes as they search for food in dumpsters. For this reason and from the beginning, I was sure that a share of the company profits would be for animal protection associations,” say José. If all goes as planned, the first animal associations will be chosen to receive donations before the end of the year, as the game will be released.
TCT: Will we see any famous cats in “The Purring Quest”?
We are so excited we will have the participation of some of the internet’s most famous cats such as Nala, Oskar The Blind Cat, and Henri Le Chat Noir among others. But not everything is a bed of roses. We have had a lot of difficulties in getting started, mostly because this project is being entirely funded by my personal savings… so when times get rough, I just think about that cats and am motivated to keep on! My greatest pleasure is knowing that I can both help animals and enjoy what I am doing every day.
TCT: How can readers help out?
- The team is looking to get votes on Greenlight to turn the project into reality and fulfill their dream.
- Visit the trailer to see a video of the cat video game and share it on social media!
- Enter the contest where YOUR cat could be featured in the Purring Quest video game!
- Like and share their Facebook Page.
TCT: We cannot wait for this video game to come out. Just watch how cute the trailer is and I’m sure you’ll be counting down the days too! Best of luck to José and his team!