Northern Ireland man’s video game takes Brexit to a whole new level

A shot from the game
A shot from the game

One Northern Ireland man set to benefit from Brexit is Will Barr, who has created a video game based on the re-establishment of the British Empire.

The satirical, adventure game is available on PS4, X-Box and PC and is the 29-year-old Ballymena man’s first proper foray into the world of console games.

The download only game has been two and a half years in the making and although its inception pre-dates Brexit, the decision to break away from the EU helped shape the development of the story within the game.

Its creator Will Barr said: “It was in the run up to the Scottish referendum that I came up with the idea for the game. I started exploring the idea of Britain going it alone and trying to rebuild its once mighty empire.

“Then Brexit came along and copied our idea,” he joked.

Any similarities are quickly put to bed as Her Majesty’s SPIFFING is set in outer space with Captain Frank Lee English and his Welsh sidekick Aled travelling through the cosmos in search of new planets to claim for the British Empire.

Will Barr, the man behind BillyGoat Entertainment

Will Barr, the man behind BillyGoat Entertainment

Mr Barr, whose first console was a Sega Mastersystem, said the puzzle-based game was an escape from the first person shooter and sports games that dominate today’s consoles.

“It’s inspired by games like The Secret Of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango and TV comedies like Monty Python,” he said.

Mr Barr also referenced Earthworm Jim, created by Lisburn man David Perry, as one of his big inspirations.

The former Ballymena Academy student added: “I’ve vivid memories of being in primary school and coming up with ideas for games.

Her Majesty's SPIFFING poster

Her Majesty's SPIFFING poster

“I studied 3D animation in Swansea and then worked for a TV production company in Belfast as an animator.”

Mr Barr went out on his own when he founded BillyGoat Entertainment in 2010. It began life as a 3D animation studio, producing a variety of animated TV adverts broadcast in Ireland.

In 2011, with support from Northern Ireland Screen, the company focused its attention on video game development.

Within a relatively short space of time BillyGoat grew from a one man operation into a compact yet exceptionally motivated collection of individuals.

Of the new game he said: “It seems to be doing alright going by the charts, but we’ll wait to see when the royalties come in.

“It’s the first console game we’ve done and certainly the most expensive project we’ve undertaken.”