|Straight to Video Games||
Check out this sneak peek of Superlumina - First Contact on Norwegian IGN.
We got the chance to talk with Catharina and Marianne from Sarepta Studio about their upcoming game Shadow Puppeteer. Find out more about the development, their attention to gameplay and when you will be able to buy the game!
Steve: Shadow Puppeteer is a co-op, puzzle, adventure game, where a boy and his shadow must work together by manipulating light and darkness. That sounds like a really good premise for a game to us. What more can you tell us about the story?
Catharina: The story is about a man called the Shadow Puppeteer who steals shadows. The boy and the shadow need to travel together to stop him. The game starts with the Shadow Puppeteer, who uses a device which makes the shadows of people come to life. He then steals these shadows to harness their power. The boy awakes as he does this, and is able to save his own shadow. Now the boy and the shadow are the only ones left, and must go after the shadow puppeteer.
Steve: And in co-op one player plays as the boy and the other as his shadow?
Steve: With a "swap-function" if you have no friends?
Catharina: That is right. And an AI taking over the simple controls of the other character like running and jumping.
Steve: The gameplay trailer for Shadow Puppeteer looks great! How far along are you in the development of the game?
Marianne: Thank you! We have completed the main production, and are now in the process of polishing the game. We expect to complete production early next year, 1Q.
Steve: Have you set a release date yet?
Catharina: Not yet, but it will be in 2014.
Steve: Why did you choose Xbox as your preferred (exclusive?) distribution platform?
Marianne: We originally aimed at Xbox because the players we were intending the game for fit into that group. But so much has changed since we started development, so we are examining all options now.
Steve: Mobile/tablet and pc as well? And what have changed? The game, the audience or the market?
Catharina: We are looking at Playstation, Wii U and Steam also. Not mobile though.
Marianne: The market has changed. There is a big difference in how indie games are viewed these days.
Steve: Will you release both on Xbox 360 and the new Xbox One?
Marianne: We are looking into all our options, and haven't decided on this yet.
Steve: A game has many elements; gameplay, story, music, game design, graphics etc. Which has been the most important to you in creating Shadow Puppeteer?
Marianne: That would depend on who you ask on the team. We try to keep in mind all aspects, because they all uniquely contribute to the gaming experience. But I think maybe we are a bit more focused on gameplay.
Steve: What has been the biggest hurdles so far, in creating the game?
Marianne: That is an excellent question. Getting the balance in the gameplay right. Tweaking the difficulty and giving both players the right degree of challenge.
Steve: Getting your game noticed is very hard, even with an amazing game. Most indies usually tries to go to conventions etc, write a blog, publish on social media and cross their fingers. But the probability of getting major exposure is still quite low... How do you plan to tell the world about Shadow Puppeteer?
Marianne: Subliminal messages in Coca Cola ads? No, sorry, just kidding. I'm afraid we can't reveal the details of our marketing plan... The best way to get shadow puppeteer related news these days is to follow our Facebook page. In addition to the web page, Facebook, and Twitter, we've been attending various conventions: Most recently GDC and NGC.
Steve: Sarepta Studio seem to be mainly occupied with 3D-visualization (at least according to your website...). Is everyone at Sarepta involved with the game making or are you a select circle?
Catharina: Our current website is mostly for the B2B part of the company. The company is kind of divided in half where 7-8 people are in the Shadow Puppeteer team. But we draw a lot of inspiration and creativity from each other. There is not really a noticeable split in the company even though they have different focus.
Steve: So you are making a Xbox (and other consoles, plus pc) game with 7-8 people? That's awesome!
Catharina: Hehe, it is an awesome team.
Marianne: Thank you. One thing we have never lacked is ambition.
Steve: You are also a active part of the Hamar Game Collective. How did HGC come about and how has it influenced, and helped, the Hamar based game creators so far?
Marianne: The HGC is the natural result of working in close proximity to the other game creators in Hamar, and a desire to create a community. So far the HGC has been most visible as the local host of Global Game Jam.
Catharina: The gaming community in Hamar has been very good for a long time thanks to Hedmark Kunnskapspark, Hedmark University College and the companies that have decided to work in Hamar.
Steve: Growing up, what games did you play?
Marianne: For me, top 5 are: Mario 1 & 3, Tomb Raider, Spyro the dragon, Jak & Daxter.
Catharina: The Final Fantasy and Zelda games.
Steve: And how do they influence what you make today?
Marianne: Well designed gameplay, exploration, the importance of engaging the players in the characters and the world. We often use examples from game experiences when we discuss how to solve challenges in Shadow Puppeteer.
Steve: Finally, please recommend a hidden gem of a game!
Marianne: Old or new?
Steve: Whenever! Big or small.
Catharina: Legend of dragoon.
Marianne: Bugs Bunny & Taz: Time Busters (old PS1 title). Difficult question, though.
Steve: Thank you so much for talking to us and best of luck with Shadow Puppeteer. We can't wait to try it!
Marianne: Thank you so much for inviting us to this interview, and best of luck with the development of Superlumina!