Exclusive Interview: Laureline Denis-Venuat Talks Shattered–Tale of the Forgotten King
French gaming studio Redlock Studio launched their Kickstarter for Shattered – Tale of the Forgotten King this past November. The writer/scenarist of this project, Laureline Denis-Venuat, joined us for an interview to talk about this exciting new single player 2D/3D platformer action game. But first, check out the awesome trailer.
What is the history of Redlock Studios?
Redlock Studio is firstly a group of friends, willing to make their old childhood stories come true. Some of them went to concept art or 3D schools in Lyon, France, and met other strange people to share their tales with, until we finally got a full team of apprentice wizard… Developers!
What was the vision of Shattered when you started creating this game and how has that changed?
At the beginning, Shattered was only going to be a mobile game. We wanted it to be an introduction to the future games we were planning to make: a small tale fully in 2D, with only one ending etc. But soon, we started to grow an entire team and realized that we wanted to say way too many things for just a short mobile game. So we restarted with all our ideas at the same time (the 3D switch, the over expansive lore, the epic boss fights, etc.), and tried to find a way to make it all happen. The 2.5D/3D switch was definitely the most challenging, but we’re pretty happy with the result!
How many people are working on Shattered?
We are currently 15 people on the project.
What is the story behind Shattered?
In Shattered, you wake up as the Wanderer: a character who can’t talk and has no memories of what happened before. You’re told that there was once a mighty King ruling over Hypnos, the land you’re discovering, but suddenly disappeared and let the realms fall into chaos and darkness. As he left, ancient entities came into the world and started to fight, crushing everything around them, until Hypnos was shattered in three separated pieces and almost all of its citizen were killed. You then have to figure out what happened with the King and the Demiurges, these terrible creatures, but the main problem is that the only one who can answer all of your questions is the King himself.
Tell us about how the game works. What features are there?
All the levels are split into an exploration phase in 2.5D and one or several boss fights in 3D. That’s making it an action/adventure platformer, with some RPG components with a craft system. It allows the player to adapt their skills and stuff according to their preferences, so that you can go for a stealthy character or a heavy beast, as you wish. That makes two main challenges in the game: defeating the Demiurges and their tremendous power, and finding enough lore hints to bring back the truth about Hypnos.
The game certainly has a distinctive art style. Why did you choose this over a more traditional art style?
We have several inspirations game-wise: Journey, Legacy of Kain, Dark Souls, Shadow of the Colossus. But also great artists like Peter Mohrbacher or Miyazaki and Tite Kubo. We wanted to offer refined oneiric visuals, quite childish for some creatures. With that style we’re trying to express a certain melancholy while emphasizing the very dark topic we’re dealing with, and the progressive evolution of the narrative maturity.
Are you targeting any specific audience in particular?
Fans of games like Dark Souls, Journey, Shadow of the Colossus should definitely like Shattered – but we also aim for the RPG lovers, tabletop RPGs included. The lore and narrative is so important in Shattered that we think it can be attractive even for people who don’t like platformers or big boss fights so much!
Do you feel that there is a larger audience for indie games than there has been previously?
Tricky question. Thanks to the success of the first big indies like Super Meat Boy, FEZ or Braid, independent games are definitely more easily noticed by the large audience. The gaming news media also give more attention to them: Some journalists are now specialized in indie development and such, and even publishers like Square Enix are setting up initiatives to help those projects, with the Square Enix Collective for instance (that we’re a part of, as well as games like Black The Fall, The Turing Test and Goetia by fellow Frenchies, Sushee.) That doesn’t mean that it’s really easier to produce an independent game, but I think people are definitely more aware of this being an important part of the gaming culture.
What can we expect to see from the full game that we haven’t seen in the Alpha?
Lots of things actually! Almost nothing is shown about the craft system, but it’s a huge feature in Shattered. You’ll have to decide carefully how you want to upgrade your skills and how you use your resources to be able to face every situation. You’ll also have a bunch of different skills to learn and train when you fight, a lot on NPC’s to meet and talk to, and several side quests influencing the different endings you can get!
We thank Laureline for taking the time to talk with us and wish her and the entire Redlock Studio team the best of luck.
NOTE: A few days ago, Shattered was 100% funded and now looking to push to reach their stretch goals. Shattered currently is in their final three days of the Kickstarter campaign. Be sure to check them out HERE.