If you had a fan who hadn’t watched the recent Nintendo Direct Mini at the end of last month, you might have slept in the wrong presentation. Comfortably pushed into the show was Bran, a visually striking story about the lost fawn and wolf cub. This is a wonderfully rare and collaborative adventure.
Despite the popularity of It Takes Two and its Hazelight predecessor Brothers: A, it’s not just an optional addendum to the single-player experience, but a couch or online co-op as a key gameplay element (Blanc has both). There are few games that focus on). The story of two sons and escape.
So it’s probably understandable that Blanc wasn’t born of a known game studio or of a studio explicitly working on creating a game. Instead, it’s the job of the French agency Casus Ludi, a small company that explicitly designs interactive experiences such as interactive documentaries, board games and other types of media.
Prior to Blanc, Casus Ludi had never made a big video game before, but some of its members were working on a small game. Its CEO, Florent de Grissac, was responsible for organizing multiple game jams in France when invited to the 2018 jams in Quebec City. De Grissac headed to Quebec City in a team of six, including designer Rémi Gourrierec and artist Raphaël Beuchot.
What is the theme of game jam? The worst situation.
The snow scene outside inspired de Grissac and his colleagues to answer the question of what would happen when the storm ended, and each answer turned to Bran: lost in the storm and working? Must be a joint adventure starring a wolf cub and a deer cub together to reunite with their family.
Bran is clearly non-violent. According to De Grissac, Casus Ludi focuses on projects that “provide discussion and awareness on a variety of subjects,” especially social issues. In the case of Bran, Casus Ludi wanted to create a “no violence or hostility” “a positive experience of empathy and cooperation.”
“We all feel that video games are full [violence] Already, “says Degrisac. “No more needed. We are confident that video games are a real medium with all the possibilities to tell every story. Some stories are told a lot, so add to this is not necesary to.”
Beneficially, making a non-violent game also helps to make it stand out, he adds, even though he admits that there are many other non-violent games. increase. However, Blanc remains unique in many other respects. His art style uses hand-painted art digitally incorporated into 3D and has a black-and-white comic atmosphere that nods to Beuchot and Gourrierec’s respective backgrounds in comic art and writing. Beuchot can inspire many of his cartoons, but the background is at least partly influenced by the countryside as a kid, but he makes Blanc in his own style. I’m not sure why it was triggered.
Blanc screen [Nintendo Direct, June 2022]
Another unique element of Bran is the lack of text. Its story and gameplay are not entirely verbal. For some time Casus Ludi wanted to create Blanc without text, both as a storytelling device and for ease of localization. However, removing the text altogether may seem to make the game more accessible rather than less accessible, but it’s a big accessibility issue when the team tries to design an in-game menu. I encountered it.
“We need several channels to communicate with the player, so we can’t really remove the text from the menu or everything,” explains deGrissac. Gourrierec adds that it usually includes text, sound, and visual indicators to ensure that the player understands what to do with the menu at a particular moment. However, deleting one of these three, in this case the text, turned out to be too confusing.
Still, the story itself is completely silent and designed to be understandable and accessible to anyone who has never played a video game before. This is a thematically appropriate goal for teams that have never created a video game as a unit. De Grissac says he appreciates the support he received from Gearbox Publishing to bring Blanc to the world, especially given his inexperience.
However, the Casus Ludi team (about 6 people and many freelancers) isn’t sure if they will stick to the video game even after the Blanc is over. Sure, it might work better, but de Grissac is a freelancer game maker career that Blanc’s success has joined them for their efforts, rather than driving Casus Ludi to the heights of video games. He adds that it is much more important to help strengthen.
Bran heading to Nintendo Switch and PC in February is instead a work of passion, interest and art. According to De Grissac, the team has created games that people across generations can “play with their loved ones and loved ones,” especially as the first introduction to video games, or playing with parents, grandparents, and children. He said he wanted it. .. In fact, the trio agrees that meeting many people who have never played the game before playing Blanc is a marker for the success of the project.
“I think the biggest win is playing with my daughter and mother,” says Beuchot. “I can’t wait to do that.”
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN.She can be found on twitter @duckvalentine..