When Cornelia Geppert, the inventive director on Sea of Solitude, first sat all the way down to design the sport’s monsters, she centered on particular feelings. The sport, which launched final month, is a few younger lady named Kay dealing with her private demons, which have was actual monstrous creatures. Geppert says that, with a black pen in hand, she “imagined the pure feeling of desperation, anger, [and] confusion” she needed the monsters to signify, however nothing a lot got here out of the method. She ended up with a web page stuffed with black scratches.
Then Geppert tried a distinct tack: she began to consider how the creatures would relate to particular characters. One of many monsters is supposed to signify Kay’s mom, as an example, who spent years attempting to maintain a small household collectively, usually to her detriment. Within the recreation, she seems as an enormous octopus-like creature lined in black fur and tentacles — excellent for holding on to issues. “Each design has such underlying meanings,” says Geppert.
The artwork type of Sea of Solitude performs a very essential function within the recreation. It’s a narrative that offers with heavy matters like despair and psychological well being, nevertheless it additionally makes an attempt to visualise these intangible ideas. Kay isn’t exploring the true world; as a substitute, it’s a type of dreamscape the place she’s consistently confronted with points from her previous. The sport takes place in a sunken, destroyed metropolis based mostly on Geppert’s hometown of Berlin. As you discover, you come throughout every kind of creatures that should signify varied members of Kay’s household and different essential folks from her life.
Geppert says that the look of Sea of Solitude was outlined pretty early in growth. The director has a background in creating artwork for comics, and he or she needed a equally flat search for the sport however translated right into a 3D world. One of many challenges, although, got here with the colours and the distinction between mild and darkish. Not solely is Sea of Solitude a darkish recreation thematically, nevertheless it will also be visually darkish as nicely. Typically, Kay will discover herself shrouded in shadows or topic to darkish clouds blanketing town with rain. Virtually each character — Kay included — is rendered in an unnaturally pure shade of black with glowing purple eyes.
However Sea of Solitude will also be brilliant and colourful at instances. The sunken metropolis options clear blue waters, beautiful hazy sunsets, and crisp mountain snowscapes. Discovering that stability between the 2 extremes was a giant a part of the event course of. Actually, early variations of the sport featured a a lot darker opening sequence, which was finally modified to succeed in that equilibrium. “We began refining it to have stability between sunny climate and creepy climate,” says Geppert. “It was essential to us to provide the participant sufficient optimistic vibes in between to not drag them unintentionally down.”
That stability was significantly difficult when it got here to the monsters. Initially, they’re extremely scary, with towering types that mix animals with people. However they’re additionally meant to evoke actual folks from Kay’s life. Geppert says she needed them to look horrifying at first, however to really feel more and more approachable the extra you get to know them. Actually, she says that development is finally the message of your entire recreation.
“Folks with psychological well being points can appear overwhelming or intimidating at first after they speak in confidence to you, or simply lash out unintentionally due to their struggling,” Geppert explains. “Meaning they first seem scary. That’s what I needed to signify with the scary monster designs. However in Sea of Solitude, similar as in actual life, if you strategy them and work together with them, you quickly notice that they don’t seem to be scary in any respect however want help and understanding. They’re no monsters in any respect.”
For extra on the artwork and design of Sea of Solitude, try the choice of idea artwork under.