Interview – Seasons After Fall
I recently had the great pleasure to talk to William David, co-founder of Swing Swing Submarine, the developers of the gorgeous upcoming title Seasons After Fall. William and I talk about the game’s current developmental status, games that have inspired and informed it and the challenges that the team has faced throughout development. Read on to get the full details.
So firstly, congratulations on the development of Seasons After Fall so far, the game is looking fantastic at this stage. We’ll have a number of readers who’ve not yet heard of the game, so can you please share with us what Seasons After Fall is about?
William David: Hi everybody!
Seasons after Fall is an exploration game in which the players explores a gorgeous 2D graphical world, accompanied by an enchanting soundtrack recorded by a live string quartet. In this world, you are a wild fox embarked upon a perilous adventure, with mystical powers that allow you to manipulate the life of the forest through dynamically changing the seasons. Powers that allow you to modify the environment by summoning one of the four seasons, whenever and wherever you want.
How did the project begin and was there anything that served as an inspiration for the game, in either the gameplay or concept?
Seasons after Fall will be our third game release, but it is the first project we worked on when we created Swing Swing Submarine. We started working on it in 2009 and we had to freeze its development at the end of 2010 because we needed more time, more experience and also more money to create it properly. This game version is in the works since 2014.
Guillaume (programmer and co-founder of Swing Swing Submarine) wanted to make a game based on the string theory. It was a little bit too complex for me so I proposed to keep the “playing with dimensions” idea and use the seasons to make it more accessible. At this time, we wanted to make something similar to Soul Reaver (PS1) with a lot of exploration and puzzles, just like in an old Tomb Raider (PS1) game. Well, Seasons after Fall is not really about dimensions any more, but more about bringing the power of seasons in one world, but the intention is still the same : create an adventure / exploration game and play with the seasons.
How large is the team working on the game, and what sort of experience do members of the team bring to the game?
Today, we are 6 people working on Seasons after Fall. By the end of the development, we’ll probably grow to 8 people.
Guillaume and I met at Ubisoft in various projects. We both created the company and the game intentions.
Benoit, another programmer, also worked at Ubisoft on Rayman Origins and Raymans Legends. We asked him to join the team because of his expertise in 2D modern games, 2D tools and also because we wanted to ear his voice as a father of 3 kids.
Géraud, the artist, is more an illustrator than a game artist. We really wanted to work with him to create a game that could be as beautiful as a concept art.
Simon, the animator, joined the team in 2015. He already worked on many gorgeous 2D games at Ankama and The Game Bakers. He’s also an amazing comics artist.
Morusque, the composer, worked on all our games and many more. From chiptune to orchestral scores, nothing is impossible with Yann.
How does your experience working on Tetrobot and Blocks That Matter inform the development of Seasons After Fall?
As I already told you, Seasons after Fall was the very first project of Swing Swing Submarine, but it was too ambitious for a team of 2 people.
Making Blocks That Matter and Tetrobot and Co. helped us to understand what we really wanted to do with Seasons after Fall, how we wanted to do it and with which team.
Of course, it’s also thanks to our previous game that we were able to earn some money to make Seasons after Fall and talk with a trusted publisher.
When we were at Ubisoft, I worked on a team of 20 people or more. I don’t think I knew how to make a game before creating Swing Swing Submarine with Guillaume.
So, in a certain way, Blocks That Matter and Tetrobot and Co. helped us know how to make Seasons after Fall.
How has the transition been having previously worked with a mega-publisher like Ubisoft to now being a part of a smaller, more intimate setting with Swing Swing Submarine?
Because we had difficulties making the first version of Seasons after Fall during a year, before creating Blocks That Matter, I think we can say that the transition has taken us one year. It’s mostly a change of mindset. When we were making the first version of Seasons after Fall, I don’t think we were doing the right choices in term of technology, design, animation etc… But we couldn’t know. We had to experience failure in the first time to understand what were our limitations and how to use our skills properly. It was very positive and it helped us make Blocks That Matter, that’s for sure.
You’ve spoken about the challenges you’ve faced since the project began in 2009. What have been some of the more uplifting moments in the development of the game so far?
Signing with our publisher, Focus Home Interactive, has been a relief. But I think we still have to live uplifting moments.
When the game will be 100% complete, before its release, this will probably be one of the best moment of my life.
The next beautiful moment I hope we will be able to create is a live concert of the soundtrack of Seasons after Fall. I’ll do my best to create this moment, cause I really love the score that Morusque wrote.
Has there been any external feedback that you’ve received so far, whether from press or fans, that has informed some of the development choices you’ve made since?
Of course, every feedback is useful. It helps us understand what we are doing and how we should be doing it in a better way.
Positive feedbacks help us be motivated. Most of time, people love the visual aspect of the game.
Negative feedbacks help us understand what we are doing, what we want to achieve and how to do it.
But we don’t react to feedbacks by trying to make everyone happy about the game. That’s not how feedbacks work.
What is the targeted release window for Seasons After Fall and what platforms will it be launching on?
Seasons after Fall is planned to be released in 2016, on Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4 and ONE.
We don’t have a more precise release window right now, but I hope the game will be release in the first half of 2016.
If fans are looking to learn a little bit more about Seasons After Fall, where might they be best to go, and how can they keep track of future updates?
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