Game News Tunic: between respect for Zelda and copy, its creators express themselves
Andrew Shouldice’s beautiful story has what all independent developers aspire to. Coming from a small Canadian town, the designer didn’t expect his little game to attract much attention. After positive feedback from the press and gamers, Tunic is preparing for its arrival on PlayStation machines. We spoke with Andrew Shouldice and Kevin Regamy at Finji studio to get back to the highlights of their game’s development, the freedom to create independents, but also the difference between tribute and copying.
The interview with Andrew Shouldice and Kevin Regamy took place on May 20, 2022. It took place via a Teams videoconference.
- The Ad Who Tunic All
- The freedom to lose players frightens AAA
- References from Zelda to Fez for familiar enjoyment
- A productive relationship with Microsoft
The Ad Who Tunic All
E3 2018, Microsoft Theater. Phil Spencer recently announced the development of Halo Infinite as well as the acquisition of four independent studios. About thirty minutes from the end of the show, a trailer for Cuphead’s DLC was aired. The audience applauded, the lights turned off. With that a little fox appeared on the giant screen waking up on a beach.. This is the TUNIC. To the audience, the Finji studio artists had a race in their hearts. Andrew Shouldice and Kevin Regamy, each of the game’s creator and audio director, won’t miss a crumb. “It’s amazing. It’s unclear when the trailer will be shown during the event. So we waited, every time the screen went blank, we would think if it was time”Recalls Andrew Shouldice. He continues: “Then it happens and you watch this trailer that you and the whole crew are working on all this time. And suddenly it was over”.
When the spotlight returns, Phil Spencer will be on stage to talk about this title from a developer based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “Phil Spencer came over and talked about my hometown. I don’t know, I don’t think anyone knew it was going to happen”Laughed the young designer. A little attention given by the big boss of the Xbox that the developer will never forget. “I sent Phil a thank you after saying it was a great opportunity, “thank you so much and thank you for giving a little spotlight on Halifax, that’s even better“. He replied”let us know if you need anything“.
Everything about E3 2018 is so beautiful. There’s Chris Charla who comes in and says “we’re all looking forward to seeing Tunic”. Many people from Xbox sent us kind words, encouragement and trust. I think that’s probably the first time we’ve really been in thick action and talking about the game being more promising not only for our own ideas, but also for this partnership with Microsoft. Kevin Regamy, Audio Director at Tunic
The freedom to lose players frightens AAA
It has been said many times that being independent creates an experience that is appropriate for us, rather than an experience that is appropriate for the publisher.. This is a point of view defended by Andrew Shouldice, convinced that his game would be very different if it were designed in an AAA studio. “The more interesting question is whether the players can disappear or not. Tunic is a game where you feel like you’re in a world you don’t understand, where you’re wandering around, where you’re avoiding in a way that might not have been planned.“explained the designer. He added:”those things are cool but … a bigger budget game can reduce some points. If there is a text showing on the screen that says you need to go here, I wonder if that will compromise the experience. No time to mention it for Tunic, the experience was perfectly in line with expectations”Says the author. “For the most part, we try to be very careful and detect anything as a sensitive point.”Replied Kevin Regamy, the audio manager.
The game also has an original glyph-based language, dreamed up by Andrew and developed by Kevin, making it difficult to progress through the adventure. “Andrew ends up introducing a little more complexity to the language of the game to slow down the more skilled players. In the end, I did most of the proofreading in the final game: the manual, the panels, the NPC dialogues… so if you find anything that doesn’t match somewhere, it’s my fault and I apologize!”Introduced the audio director.
The tunic is a game where you throw up and feel like everything is too big for you and you don’t fit. We have the freedom, as a small team, to take risks like this. Kevin Regamy, Audio Director at Tunic
References from Zelda to Fez for familiar enjoyment
Of course, whether in the aspect of the hero, the design of the game manual or the universe as a whole, The tunic is reminiscent of a The Legends of Zelda. Andrew Shouldice prefers to say he was inspired by the sense of exploration seen in the Nintendo title. “What is it? What does this mean? Does it matter? Is it dangerous? Every time a player asks one of these questions, it excites me. That kind of feeling, you know, that you get a Zelda, that I really want to get. Fez also provides this kind of sensations“. He added:”People make comparisons to Dark Souls when it comes to fighting, but I think that feeling of “I’m small and weak in a big world that wasn’t made for me” is also present in games.”.
However, care must be taken, if inspirations are also visible, not to alter the respect of a copy. “This is a dangerous point. I think looking at something and assimilating it into something personal happens naturally in any creative process. If you are inspired and create something, then it can be your own work. It’s a story of purposesaid Andrew Shouldice
People want things that are familiar to them, that’s for sure. If people crave things that look and sound like they played when they were young, you need to understand what the emotional response actions produce to make it possible in the modern context. Shaping something that feels like something you remember about connections and feelings. Andrew Shouldice, creator of Tunic
If I go back and listen to the games I played when I was a kid, relatively newer games like Age of Empires, the game isn’t very good. I think people have memories of how they feel and what they think that are very different from what it looks like. Kevin Regamy, Audio Director at Tunic
The music in the game is designed to retain the visual style and atmosphere of nostalgia in the software. That is a synthetic and approximate style was chosen to create the ambient sound. “We continue to work on a variety of sounds taking advantage of modern technology, while trying to achieve a round view of the sounds themselves, i.e. for the most part there is no sudden onset, no grainy texture. , no abrasive frequency. This allows the sound design to be more matched to the same rotation of the world surrounding the player.”By Kevin Regamy.
A productive relationship with Microsoft
We’ll have to wait for the Tunic launch trailer to know its availability on Game Pass. Better later than left, some say. “It was great to surprise the players. Being able to tell all the people who are so interested in the game that on launch day they are already there because it’s Xbox Game Pass fun!exclaimed Andrew Shouldice. He continues: “the Game Pass allows you to try out games. I love Halo, I love Forza, right there next to the titles there’s this thing on this little little team, and it’s great.”. He concludes: “Microsoft trusts us. They knew what we were doing. They told us “it’s cool, take your time, play a good game“.
The tunic is available on Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One and PC. It will arrive on PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles on September 27, 2022. The game created by Andrew Shouldice is more accessible with Game Pass.