Game director Anjin Anhut speaks with GamingBolt about Studio Fizbin’s upcoming adventure title.
Minute of Islands immediately grabs attention the moment you look at it, thanks to its strikingly beautiful hand-drawn art style, but even beyond that, this narrative adventure title is doing some very interesting stuff. Using its setting and the players’ urge to explore it to tell a story that tells both grand and personal tales, it has the potential to deliver an experience that sticks with you. Hoping to learn more about the game, we recently sent across some of our questions about it to the development team at Studio Fizbin. The questions below were answered by game director Anjin Anhut.
"The main drive behind the look is our team and art director Tim Gaedke, who is a published comic book artist and insists on Minute of Islands looking like a hand-drawn comic book illustration each and every frame."
The thing that most people will immediately notice about Minute of Islands at first glance is its beautiful hand-drawn aesthetic. Can you talk us through the process of how you settled on that style, and if there were any other works you may have taken inspiration from?
The main drive behind the look is our team and art director Tim Gaedke, who is a published comic book artist and insists on Minute of Islands looking like a hand-drawn comic book illustration each and every frame. His art direction is mostly inspired by French and Franco-Belgian comic books, such as Tin Tin or the works of Moebius. But all members of our 2D art and animation team bring in their own inspirations and ideas, to make the game look as dense and playful as it does.
Exploring unique landscapes in a game with an art style as gorgeous as this one’s is a prospect that is inherently exciting- is that something that you’re looking to leverage? Can players expect a lot of diversity in terms of the locations they visit?
Yes, absolutely. We will stay on this archipelago, with all its romantic and nautic imagery, but the game is very anachronistic in its environments, it goes into really dark sci-fi territory and is peppered with strange psychedelic visions.
"The player will constantly discover new functions of the Omni Switch, but these functions are directly tied to the environmental puzzles, not to an upgrade system."
Can you briefly talk to us about Mo’s Omni-Switch, and how that is going to work in terms of puzzles and platforming?
Mo’s Omni Switch is an interface device designed to allow her to interact with the strange and eerie, sometimes dangerous, giant machines and technological underbellies of the islands. It’s the only such device ever made for human hands, a gift from the giants to the one human who befriended them.
The giants never took into account that humans might use their technology one day, so it doesn’t resemble anything players would expect. Players need to figure out how these machines work, how and when to connect the Omni Switch and how to traverse huge engine-like landscapes without floors, walls and ceilings.
Is the Omni-Switch something that players will be able to upgrade throughout the game?
Not directly. The player will constantly discover new functions of the Omni Switch, but these functions are directly tied to the environmental puzzles, not to an upgrade system.
Will there be other tools or weapons that players will be able to use besides the Omni-Switch?
No. It’s just you, the islands, the secrets below and the Omni Switch.
Is there any combat in the game, or is this focused purely on puzzles and platforming?
Just puzzles, platforming, and exploration.
"It’s an epic story used to tackle very personal subjects and heavy themes. So, yeah, we hope to deliver on both fronts with Minute of Islands."
Minute of Islands’ narrative setup seems like it will enable a personal story as one that touches some large-scale arcs- would you say that’s an accurate assumption? Does the game lean more toward one side of those two in terms of storytelling?
It’s an epic story used to tackle very personal subjects and heavy themes. So, yeah, we hope to deliver on both fronts with Minute of Islands.
About how long will an average playthrough of Minute of Islands be?
The story is tightly told and we hope for players to stay within the emotional space of the game for the whole time, finishing it without interruption. This has lead us to create a narrative adventure, rich in content, that players can mainline and finish in around four hours.
As an indie developer, what are your thoughts on the Switch, which has quickly become a haven for indie games?
The game will launch on all consoles and on steam, so players can pick their favourite platform to visit the islands. The game will look great on big displays, but personally I will be playing on Switch. The flow of the game and string of tiny discoveries will make it perfect for sinking into your couch with the device in your hand.