I participated in Guerrilla’s live stream last week, and played through the Relic Ruins that I’ve designed for Horizon Forbidden West. I was joined by Guerrilla community manager Annie Lee and the Horizon fan community over Twitch, who asked me very interesting questions. It was so much fun to publicly talk about the design process, the challenges and the little Easter eggs that I’ve put in the game during the past four years of development. I hope you enjoy this playthrough and the behind-the-scenes commentary as much as I did giving it.
I participated the Global Game Jam for the third year in a row. This years theme – “what do we do now?” – lead to my idea of how people react to unexpected events when playing games on a computer. Like error messages, crashes and annoying spyware that occur in the middle of a game. So together with my amazing team members, the talented Rocco Wouters, Esmeralda Massaut and Bernard de Mare, we build this typical RPG/platformer that soon turns into a so-called Error Message Manager, because of all the on-screen errors that will occur when playing the game. The reactions of the audience at the end of the 48 hours were hilarious, thinking they actually crashed our machine when playing. Some where genuinely sorry for breaking something, others just laughed out loud.
Just a quick update to let you know that the When We Were One portfolio page is updated with a gameplay video of the Desert City level and download links to the game’s visualization, prototype and the actual Desert City demo. The version that is online right now still suffers from quite horrible performance issues, that’s why you need quite a bad ass PC to play it.
However, with the help of our friend Steff, Max and I found the culprit that is causing the framedrops in the game. We are working on a fix right now, so expect a new version of the level to be online by the end of next week. I will update this post to inform you when that has happened.
I have always been intrigued by games with focus on mood and atmosphere, like Journey (by Thatgamecompany) and Limbo (by Playdead). I knew that I wanted to work on games like these when I grow up. But since I’ll probably never grow up, I gave it a chance to do it right now, for the last year of my study program.
The whole idea behind When We Were One came into existence after seeing the movie Gravity in the local cinema. I was intrigued by the way the movie uses both visuals and audio to show big contrasts in mood and atmosphere. Since the movie is set in space, there are moments where you hear (almost) no sounds at all. The protagonist can enter an exploding space station in the next scene, resulting in an ocean of bombastic sounds. This way, audio really helps to complement the contrast between very wide and open spaces (alone, hovering in space) and very narrow claustrophobic spaces (alone in the broken space station). After seeing the movie, I knew I wanted to make a game based on multiple storylines (what they call a “mosaic story” in film making terms) where each storyline is a contrast in atmosphere compared to the other. The individual storylines are intertwined somehow and together, they should tell a bigger story. Kind of like the movies Babel and Cloud Atlas do, for example.