1. Ever wanted to live inside a watercolor painting? If the answer is “yes,” “maybe” or “what are you even talking about” then Shrug Island is the game for you.

    Though it initially began its life as an animated short, it has since transitioned into a game that allows you to explore a puzzle-based world that perpetually looks like the most beautiful sunset. After spending hours zoning out to meditative screenshots, we got the lowdown from Igor Noronha, Shrug Island advisor and founder of Amazu, the company putting out the game.

    Why did you decide to transition from film to game?

    Years back, a diverse worldwide audience to the film returned with very personal stories after viewing. It gave Alina Constantin [Shrug Island creator] a feeling that the Shrug universe had potential for more open tales, beyond exclusive festival and internet shorts viewers. Though Shrug Island is an interconnected world, it’s made up of beings with very different personalities. When writing a second story with more conflict, she felt the best audience experience would be to be able to play them. To use these different personalities and notice first hand the consequences of each facet of interconnection.

    Shrug Island is a bit of an activist story that tries to stay light through its minimalism, playfulness and magic. Alina’s media transition is inspired by the work of Games for Change. She believes the best way to initiate engaged discussion is to create positive personal experiences, that people are a part of the shaping. Also, she loves music jams and surprise moments of resonance. So, that went in as well.

    How mapped out is the world you’ve created? 

    The logic of the world is very mapped out; the reason the Shrug beings are what they are, what’s possible within their connection to the island, the world’s humor, power, and limitations. The foundation of this is disclosed as the player is welcomed into Chapter One, other aspects, the game reveals to the player along the way. Yet others will stay hidden to ensure depth of the world. This is to allow the story of the island to grow differently in each player’s experience of it. However, the interactive language of the world and dialogue of its inhabitants — the specifics of going through the Island’s narrative — is far from linear or fixed. It is purposely left very open to the sensibilities of the technical developers, as well as guest artists and backers to ensure they have space to make Shrug Island into their world.

    Why do you think kids were so attracted to Shrug Island when it debuted as a film?

    The oddness of the hand drawn characters definitely appealed to them. They were warm, strange and colorful, and [also] the fact that the characters changed shape really caught their interest. There’s something about the mixture of foreign and familiar that kids felt curious about, and we really saw kids identify with a much broader scope of identities than basic stylized realism.

    How did you translate that to the game?

    Though the island’s logic stops the Shrugs from flying throughout most of the game — because the ocean is at low tide — there are several other transformations they happen within the world. When you play the game, changing the shape of things comes from your communication with either the nature or the people. The responses the game gives are usually a bit comical, even in dramatic moments, The rhythm of gameplay is paced to have you dancing between dreamlike ease and unusual surprise.

  2. polygondotcom:

    Camouflaj’s Republique hits iTunes App Store on Dec. 19

    The debut title from developer Camouflaj, Kickstarter-backed stealth adventure Republique, will be released through the iTunes App Store on Dec. 19, the developer announced today. The release will consist of the first pilot episode of the game, titled “Exordium,” priced at $4.99.

    The first episode is one of five planned for Republique. Camouflaj says it expects to ship subsequent episodes every two to three months, with the full game featuring about 10 to 15 hours of gameplay. The game’s second episode is the farthest along, Camouflaj said, but founder Ryan Payton told Polygon that all of the Republique's forthcoming chapters are in various stages of completion.

    (Link to the full story)

    View on Kickstarter