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Woven The Game – Interview

The following is an interview where the questions are asked by Dakota Barrett and answers produced by Dominic de Graaf.

Who are you and what do you do?

We are three Dutch guys who all have a passion for games. We know each other from work. Matthijs and Dominic both run a game company together called Alterego Games. Matthijs and Dominic have been successfully making computer and tabletop games for more than 3 years. Two and a half years ago they met Vincent, a freelancer who has a company called Digital Forest and has been in the running as a game developer for over 16 years. We really got along an were doing projects together for two years. We all have our own expertise which we try to combine optimally in Woven.

Matthijs: Psychologist and storywriter. Working on Woven’s story, narration, game design and community management.

Dominic: Programmer, game designer,  user experience designer. Working on the main programming of Woven, special effects and user experience.

Vincent: Programmer, visual designer, game designer. Working on 3D modeling, level design and gameplay.

What is Woven?

Woven is a story driven 3D points & Click Adventure game where you join Stuffy and Glitch on their adventure. Stuffy is a stuffed animal elephant and Glitch is a robot firefly. Glitch has lost most of the memories of his past and only remembers some dark and dangerous things. He was broken and thrown away, ending up in this wondrous world made of wool and leather, where he was found by Stuffy. They become friends and decide to travel together. Together they can do so much more then either could do alone! The game is relaxing, and story driven. You have to solve puzzles en will meet lots of special creatures. They game also has a dark side, which will become more clear as the story unravels. Not trying to give away much… there are metal creatures, endangering the woven world.

What led to the idea of this pair of stuffed animal and machine, Stuffy and Glitch respectively?  What do they have to offer to the cast of video game duos like Banjo and Kazooie, Ratchet and Clank, and so many more?

We felt that Stuffy was all alone in his beautifully knitting world, he needed a friend, so we introduced Glitch to the world. However, we did not want to make their (beginning) friendship easy, and we loved the idea of a contrast. On one hand a silly, naïve but very friendly stuffed animal, on the other a very smart and “know it all” robot. It felt right from the start.

The yarn aesthetic has become a unique style in games like Little Big Planet, Unravel, and a few Nintendo titles.  Why is is that you chose this art style for Woven?

The idea to design this art style for Woven, actually originated from the main game mechanic of being able to attach/remove body parts. It seemed gruesome to do this with being from flesh and blood. Having torn off enough body parts of plushies in his time(By accident off-course!), Vincent quickly came with the idea to create being made out of fabrics. Without realizing that this idea would creep up on us everything we made another visual/gameplay design decision. We eventually realized that creating a world full with fabrics would vibrate with creativity and would speak to the players imagination. That we loved, so we stuck with it. Happy with it ever since. 

Woven is narrated in rhyme by Nola Klop giving the game a bit of a nursery rhyme feel in sound in addition to its bright and colorful visuals.  What led to this decision and how does it help tell the story of Stuffy and Glitch’s adventure?

A year ago we developed a game in an internal Gamejam, which featured voice-actors for all the in-game characters. We loved this, it added intensity to the story and made the play testers feel much more engaged into the story. Having decided that we would always prefer this over writted dialogue alone.
Instead of having speaking plushies, we felt that having a narrator would greatly add to the atmosphere of the world. Matthijs then shouted that we wanted rhyme, which Dominic & Vince instantly agreed on.

You’re on Kickstarter now with the hopes of getting Woven funded.  There are hundreds of game projects that appear on Kickstarter every month.  What is it that sets Woven apart from the rest? 

We have developed a 3D Point & Click adventure game, fully narrated in rhyme. A rare thing to see on Kickstarter nowadays, or ever.

With the yarn aesthetic, the rhyming narration, and the storybook like gameplay, many might see Woven as a children’s game.  If children are your target audience do you expect to be able to raise the funds necessary from them and their parents?

Woven is not a children’s game. It is a game for everybody, just like the very popular Dreamworks & Pixar animated movies. The story will become more mature later on in the game, but our focus lies in making the game available for 12+. Like Shrek & Kung-fu Panda, the popular animation movies these days. Great fun for children and adults alike.

Is it challenging to sell the concept of Woven to adults?

Just like with most Kickstarters or projects, it is a struggle to find the right way to sell your concept to your target audience. Our Kickstarter campaign has been a real learning curve for us on how we can sell Woven to our audience.

Being able to put together parts of different creatures to create your own version of Stuffy to overcome obstacles is an interesting concept.  How did this idea come about and what are some of the possibilities for it within Woven?

The customization of Stuffy to overcome obstacles are based on a game that Vincent made 15 years ago. In this game you could combine creatures to make a super creature. Their limbs would have their own abilities, by combining the body-parts you could combine abilities. This mechanic is the core gameplay in woven.

The possibilities with this mechanic are endless imagine a flying elephant, and a hopping & bouncing rhino!

There’s a pre-alpha demo out now which people can find on Steam here.  What can players expect to experience within the demo and what will the full game offer in contrast to the current experience?

The pre-alpha demo can be seen as a tutorial level of the game, it introduces the main characters and (some of) the main game mechanics to the players. The full game will offer many more environments, animals, exciting puzzles and secrets to discover. Stuffy & Glitchs’s journey is far from over!

There’s a core team of three behind Woven, Vincent, Dominic, and Matthijs.  Care to tell us a bit about who you three are, your roles in regards to Woven, and how the team came to be?

We are three Dutch guys who all have a passion for games. We know each other from work. Matthijs and Dominic both run a game company together called Alterego Games. Two and a half years ago they met (me) Vincent, a freelancer who has a company called Digital Forest. We really got along an were doing projects together for two years. We  and all have our own expertise which we try to combine optimally in Woven.

Matthijs: Psychologist and storywriter. Working on Woven’s story, narration, game design and community management.

Dominic: Programmer, game designer,  user experience designer. Working on the main programming of Woven, special effects and user experience.

Vincent: Programmer, visual designer, game designer. Working on 3D modeling, level design and gameplay.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about Woven and the team?

Yes, please support us if you can! We have a long way to go and need all the help we can get, especially from our fans!

People can help by spreading the word about Woven, on Facebook or to anyone you think would enjoy it. And of course supporting us with our Kickstarter campaign by pledging. So far the reactions we get are extremely positive, but we don’t have enough exposure yet. This will help us most to make Woven a reality!

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Dakota B.

Dakota Barrett is an indie game developer and journalist. His goals are to create high quality experiences and supports those that do as well.

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