• Josy

PLAY Portraits: Totally not a Game Studio

On the first day of the PLAY Festival we met the team of a game called "Grave Call". It's a assymetrical coop-game which makes the communication between the two players the most important thing of the game. The not so usual part is: to start the game, one player needs to get in a coffin and plays a person that is getting burried alive. After we had the chance to test Grace Call at the PLAY, we had a few questions for the developer team.

RTP: Was "Grave Call" the first project you worked on?

Totally not a game studio: It was the fist big project during our studies. It lasted about two months. We constantly worked on the project and before that we just worked on it once a week . So it was the first project in our studies that was actually full time. It was very different from before and I think we all did very good.

RTP: In which parts of the developement did you take part?

TNAGS: We graduated from our studies last year in Upsala. We all had diffrent minors but we are all from the major “Game Design”. So we are programmers oder designers. In the project itself we all took diffrent roles. For example some of us did the graphical design, we had one team memeber that was responsible for the audio design and the programming, another task was to programm everything that had to do with the map.

Which experiences did you take from the project? Is there anything that you would like to share with other young developers, that are getting started with their own project?

TNAGS: Yeah, if you´re starting out in your free time, then you should definetly use unity as an engine. Because it’s really easy to use. It’s a programm where you can build up your game inside the programm. There are also so many tutorials on youtube for it, which are showing you how to do it. And from there you can get the coding part and the design part only in one package. Thats really good and easy to use. 

And I think personally, one thing that i learned most from this project, is that it’s so much easier when you have a clear picture of what everything is going to be like, because sometimes you have a really passionate idea, that one thing that you want to have – and you think “I dont know what the game is going to be, but we need this one thing” - But if you take some time in preproduction than you can figure out more aspects of what the game is actually going to be. It would be a lot easier to continue making the game then.

Furthermore I would say, don’t be afraid to take risks. Doing something you're not really feeling comfortable with will help you in the long run. So when you're working on somehting that you don’t really know a lot about, it will help you grow within your competences.

Are there other games or things that inspired you within your work?

TNAGS: So from the very beginning we decided as a group that we wanted to do a asymmetrical coop game with very diffrent playsides and we had a few concepts for it. We once had a pitch meeting and we pitched the concepts to one of the supervisors and nothing really stuck. As we were packing up from the meeting one of the guys in the group went: " I have one more idea. I want to put someone in a box." And the teacher was instantly hooked and this idea really stucked. After this meeting we were able to evolve the idea more and more.

Beside this, there are definilty a lot of movies where you get buried alive or trapped somewhere.

RTP: I can immediatly think of "Buried alive" with Ryan Reynolds.

TNAGS: Yes, exactly. But ironically, we learned from watching the movie more about what not to with the game. For example in the movie all of a sudden there is a random shaking and sand was coming into the box and then there is a part where there are snakes down in the box - so that are things that we cannot do. But the rest was more internally for us. We were playing around with strange ideas for what to do.

RTP: Are there already projects for the future?

TNAGS: Well, we can already say, that we want to do something else with Grave Call. We don´t really know yet, what it is going to be. It ́s not exactly a game that you can sell to anybody online. It´s also not an arcade game. We have a lot ideas, and one would be: how can we turn this into something that you can use in VR? Because than you could actually play with two diffrent people in two diffrent locations and stil get this immersive experience that you get when you are in a box.

RTP: What experiences do you take home from the PLAY Festival?

TNAGS: "I think we are all really loving the vibe here. The size of the event is perfect for an exhibition like that. I really love that all the games here are fitting to one theme, the monsters. I think they did so well, it ́s a great event.

Also, some of the other developers were already here. It ́s really fun to talk to people here at the festival. Also it´s very interesting, that even though the whole place is sticking to one theme, we all had diffrent focusses in our games and diffrent ideas. But still, everything is fitting and also different at the same time. And we get the feeling that every game is built by different kinds of inspirations. Also everyone is friendly and excited to play these games here.

Another point is, everyone is really passionated here since there is such a big diversity of games here. This pulls a lot of interesting conversaitons. For example our game is about death so we had some really interesting interactions with people coming here and that is also really giving for us as well.

We realized that we actually made a game, that some people find a meaning in. For whatever that meaning is. They talk to us about death and sense of life, because obviously it´s a coffin, it´s a symbol for death to the most people. And that talks were very important for us.

RTP: Thank you for your time!