Creators of innovative title, G.
By this point in time you’re probably bored of the developer interviews; so we decided to do something new with developers Soma Games. These guys are the brains (and the brawn) behind the incredibly fascinating “G”, a unique space-focused game released a few days ago. I won’t classify the game into a genre, because I might be corrected later on. What you need to know is that the game is unlike any other in the App Store as of now; so check any gameplay videos you might find, and if it interests you I suggest you take the leap of faith. Soma Games aren’t your regular newcomers. They may seem like New Recruits, but since their debut I’m convinced that they’ve surpassed the Lieutenants of the industry. Displaying potent mixes of great voice over work, artwork like no other, and an attention to detail that is to be applauded; we really, really need to pay attention to Soma Games.
First step? Check out what Chris Skaggs, founder of Soma Games, has listed as his Top 5 of Everything. This is Part I of two parts of the interview.
Congratulations on your new game guys! Though not as many people have heard about “G” as they have Car Jack Streets or Assassin’s Creed, it has garnered attention none-the-less with its visuals and airtight gameplay. First things first, before we get into the Top Fives of Everything, which sort of consumers do you think “G” will appeal to? Why?
- G will ring for people who drink fewer than 5 Red Bulls a day. It’s not all RushRushRush like a hyped up shooter nor is it TapSwipeRepeat like some puzzle games. G is a thinker and the person who wants a game with more depth and more thought than most will appreciate what we’re all about here. Everything in the game, from the music to the art to the voiceovers is designed to set a certain mood – one that’s vaguely mysterious and anxious, but is also patient and chill. We were really lucky to work with Nate Fox on the music, the atmosphere of G is something that is too rarely seen in games...we’re trying to do something with a lot more meat and his music has done a ton to set that mood that we wanted to achieve.
With that in mind, what are the Top Five features of G that you cannot find anywhere else in the App Store?
- Depth: I’m not the first or only person to say this, but to be honest I haven’t scoured the App Store to confirm if it’s true or not. G is a game that has a complex story, professional character acting and a lot of levels. You’ll spend hours playing G and even when you finish it, finding the perfect path on each level gives it a lot of replay value. Plus – the player needs to get a gold medal on all 49 story levels to unlock a secret 50th level...all in all we put a lot of heart and soul into G and I think it shows.
- Beautiful artwork: I know other games are good looking, so we’re not totally unique in that regard, but real beauty is definitely a rarity. I believe that this world we live in is first lovely and only then functional. There is so much beauty around us if we only stop to look and Soma Games has a core principle that everything we do needs to reflect that reality and be beautiful to look at. Nat Iwata is our game artist and he has done fantastic digitally hand painted scenes that were the first things people noticed about G. It just looks rich and wonderful.
- Context: G is the first of three iPhone games that we’ll be releasing and those three are all prequels to a console game we’ll develop next. (Xbox/PC if we can get through all the hoops). We’re really telling a big story here and G is only one part of it. When we’re done this story will roll out in four games, our website, and at least one graphic novel (ok...an online comic book...). All of this comes together to tell a very detailed and complicated story over several media. So G has ‘connections.’
- Heart: Connected to number 3 above, we didn’t built G to get rich...although that wouldn’t be bad. :) A lot of time and thought has gone into building a company that has real heart in the way we operate as well as what we are producing. For us at Soma Games this is the chance to really work in a dream that has been building for three and a half years, and we think that will show through in each game we make.
- Kevin: Somewhere in the game is a cameo of a character that was a direct inspiration for the game – Kevin from 3-2-1 Penguins. But Kevin is just a part of something we really want to do going forward and that’s to recognize and celebrate the cultural context we’re living in. I know lots of games include little Easter eggs like this...but ours are better!
Though G is a fresh and innovative title to play, there must have been influences that made you decide to go in the direction that you did, or the approach that you took. What would you say are you Top Five influences while creating the game?
- Artwork: For the artwork we really leaned into Frank Schoonover, Maxfield Parish and Alfonse Muncha. I love the Art Nouveau thing and it felt perfect with the SteamPunk theme we wanted to use.
- Spaced Penguin: (see Kevin...). This game that can still be found on the Big Idea website is probably my favorite Flash game ever. (http://www.bigideafun.com/penguins/arcade/spaced_penguin/). I used to play that game and spend a loooong time trying to get some giant million mile orbit going. I’d say that game was the clearest inspiration for G as far as the mechanics go.
- Myst: That goes back a long way but that game and all of its sequels loom large in my mind in what a game should look and feel like. The mystery, the details, the attention to detail...I can only hope to follow in those big ol’ footsteps.
- Epic: This is a little tiny book by John Eldredge that talks about life being best understood as a story as opposed to a math problem and that concept is a central inspiration to Soma Games. The games I really love are the ones that create a story that I can dig into and get lost in. Cool graphics or some new game mechanic will keep me interested for a while, but it wears off. I don’t go back to those games when they are done. I do go back to the games where the story catches my eye.
- Half-Life: That might sound a little strange, but going back to number 4 – it’s pretty hard to tell a story with a video game. The medium just isn’t well suited to the purpose. But those guys at Valve do a brilliant job of getting me wrapped up in what Gordon Freeman is doing and of stretching out the mystery. I STILL don’t know why I’m stuck in City 17 and I’m highly motivated to find out...that’s awesome story telling.
Part II of the interview has been published, please click here.
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