Independent development in Australia has been going from strength to strength over the past few years and the PAX AUS Indie Showcase serves to highlight some of the fantastic work being put out by local developers. Player2.net.au caught up with developers awarded a spot in the PAX AUS 2017 Indie Showcase to get a sneak peek at what attendees can look forward to.
PAX AUS 2017 Indie Showcase – The Gardens Between
PC & Mac
Founded in 2009, Melbourne-based studio The Voxel Agents have been hard at work for almost a decade creating quality mobile experiences. Best known for their staggeringly successful Train Conductor series, The Voxel Agents are now flexing their creative muscles and moving to new genres and platforms with The Gardens Between, a puzzle adventure game releasing in early 2018 for the PC and Mac. Player2 spoke to founding member Matt Clark to discuss The Gardens Between and what PAX AUS 2017 attendees can look forward to at their booth.
Stephen del Prado: Hi Matt, thanks for speaking with Player2! As a studio with many awards under its belt, is it still exciting to have your work recognised in the Indie Showcase?
Matthew Clark: It’s always great to have your work recognised as something special. Often with creative endeavours you’re so close you can’t see it the same way as everyone else – receiving that recognition, and being able to showcase the game allows us to see the game through the fresh eyes.
SDP: The Gardens Between is a departure from The Voxel Agent’s successful Train Conductor series. Has the shift in genre been a difficult one?
MC: It’s definitely a genre shift. We’ve had a lot to learn regarding story-telling and building a narrative driven game. Working with the right people has helped with that immensely. We couldn’t have done it without our amazing writer Brooke Maggs and our immensely talented artist Jon Swanson. In some ways, it’s not too much of a departure – we always set out to make games for everyone, not just your traditional gamers, and The Gardens Between is exactly that!
SDP: What are some of the inspirations behind The Gardens Between?
MC: The original prototype that we built waaaaay back in 2012 was based on that scene from Minority Report where Tom Cruise is scrubbing backwards and forwards through the visions of the pre-cogs. We made a few small prototype games based around that concept of scrubbing in time, and then put it on hold while we built Puzzle Retreat and Train Conductor World, but we always wanted to come back to the concept. In 2015 we started work on The Gardens Between, and it’s become the game that you see today.
SDP: The soundtrack by Tim Shiel is well highlighted by the ‘ambient slow trailers’ put together to promote The Gardens Between. How did this collaboration come about and can we expect more tracks in the final game?
MC: We were introduced to Tim Shiel at Melbourne International Games Week 2013 where he picked up an award for the beautiful music & sound design in the game Duet. He has a rich history creating beautiful music for games, and we’re working closely with him to have an album that we can launch when the game comes out. There might even be some vinyl which I’m super excited about.
SDP: What sort of experience can PAX AUS attendees look forward to at your booth?
MC: At previous shows we’ve tried to show more of the narrative in the game, but at PAX AUS it’s all about the cool gameplay that makes playing the game super fun. So we’re showing a bunch of our favourite gardens in the game that we feel really highlights the gameplay and controlling-time mechanic.
The Gardens Between can be experienced by attendees to PAXAUS 2017 in the Indie Showcase section of the Indie Pavilion from October 27th to 29th.
It was whilst toiling away in the bowels of the now mythical Australian Gamer forums that Stephen’s attempts at writing were recognised by then up-and-coming Matt ‘Hewso’ Hewson as “not terrible”. Since then he has contributed to such sites as The Age’s now defunct Screen Play, the now-long retired Black Panel and currently serves under Editor-in-Chief Hewso for Player2.net.au, at least until the pattern of decline obvious in his previous engagements is picked up on by Hewso and he is exiled from games journalism forever.
Writes on Yugambeh land.