Deported indie overcomes adversity to get debut game on Steam

Deported indie overcomes adversity to get debut game on Steam
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

May 22nd 2014 at 2:15PM

Sam Smolders releases Victim of Xen on Valve's digital store after facing off huge personal challenges

An indie game developer deported out of the US at the age of 18 has had his first game released on Steam.

Develop reported on Sam Smolders’ story in March last year, in which he revealed he was kicked out of the country he grew up in just before he turned 18 due to alleged improperly filed immigration documents. Despite being able to return for brief periods at first, after a few visits he was blocked from visiting the US completely. Later efforts to enter the country also did not go as planned.

Despite leaving for Belgium when was deported, a country where he had no money, no home and didn't speak the language, Smolders began working in local production factories to make ends meet while developing his first game, RPG title Victim of Xen. The title was eventually released by Big Fish on its own online games platform.

More than a year later, his game has now also been released on Steam and other digital stores under his new company Smolders LLC, based in Arizona – the town where he grew up. Though he said he still needs legal documentation to lawfully fly on an aeroplane.

“Victim of Xen is meant to be fun. It's my first ever game project, and I didn't have a budget for it, so I tried to keep it as simple as possible,” he told Develop.

“Victim of Xen's quirky story and cast centre around the character, Will, and his journey to reverse a magical spell cast by Xen, the royal witch that cast a spell on him, turning him into a girl.”

Last year Smolders told us he had ambitious plans for his future, and said making games was “all I really want to do, I want to contribute to this amazing industry”.

“I have a few visions of ten years from now that really depend on those outcomes," he said at the time.

"If they take off well, if people are interested enough and buy enough copies of this, I can remove some of these limitations."

For now though when asked again about his future plans, he said coyly: “full steam ahead”.

You can read our full interview with Sam Smolders form last year here, in which he explains his fascinating journey into game development.