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#IWOCon Dev Talk - Unbound: Worlds Apart

Explore beautiful, hand-crafted Metroidvanian worlds by conjuring different magic portals. Each portal gives you unique abilities to solve puzzles, outsmart abominable creatures, and unravel mysteries.

In development since 2016, Unbound: Worlds Apart is being crafted by a small team based out of Bucharest, Romania. Armed with previous experience in the mainstream game development industry, these passionate devs decided to join forces to try their hand in the indie game scene. Play the demo and wishlist on Steam today.

Q: How hard is it for you to survive as an indie?

I get this question a lot from both friends or family members. I would say it's difficult, because you don't have a stable source of income. This is not that different from a regular technology startup. You build a product that you hope it will be very good and it will generate revenue so you can keep doing what you love. But in the end it's like a business, especially if you work with other people. During our work on Unbound, we lived out of our savings from other jobs or other games, from crowdfunding, grants and investments.


Q: Looking back, how has your project changed/evolved since the idea was first conceived?

We have been working on Unbound since 2016 and it all started with a puzzle game with changing between worlds mechanics. However the concept was already been done by other games and we felt that maybe if we show it in a different way would be much more interesting. So the idea of changing only inside a bubble came after I watched a video of a band called Architects, they had like a portal thing behind them showing different stuff, so that's how we been inspired. We prototyped the idea and we really like it how it felt. After that we started thinking, what else can you do to make this portal we thought that every portals should affect the character or the environment in different ways. In time we felt that it's not 100% puzzle anymore and it has lots and lots of platforming elements so we started to add abilities unlock different areas in Metroidvania style add boss fights, expand the story and so on. Pff..I wouldn't suggest doing this, it was really time consuming,

lots and lots of iterations until we settled down with the vision.

Q: How did you design the gameplay mechanics of your game?

Because we have a game with different portals, we have to find an interesting portal that can affect character abilities, monsters or the environment. Once we chose the portal, I usually put in the notebook or in MS Paint different ideas, on how this portal can interact with the rest of the world. On the left you have the character (A) and on the right you have the objective(B). The question is always, how can the player reach from A to B by opening the portal at least one time?. And you add elements, doors monsters, hazards and so on to block the player's path. After that I take some of the ideas from the notebook and integrate them in the engine with different boxes, and new ideas come to mind. After that you play the level for many many times and tweak a lot until it feels right. Then you ask some players to play the level without art and watch them play. During this time you check their reactions, emotions and take a decision from there. Sometimes you watch them play and new ideas come and you go back and change stuff. It's really tedious but you feel very motivated after someone plays the game.


Q: What games have acted as a source of inspiration for your project?

There are lots of games that inspired us. For me I got inspired from games like Braid, The Swapper, Portal, Diablo 2, Gris, Limbo, Hollow Knight and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Inmost. Olga was inspired artistically from Rayman Legends, Ori, the Blind Forest and Hollow Kinght. Andrei was more into platforming so he likes games like Hollow Knight, Super Meat Boy, Guacamelee, both Ori, and Metroid.

Q: What do you do when run out of ideas or lose motivation?

I believe that everyone is different and will react in different ways. If I feel that I'm out of ideas or lose motivation, I try to disconnect for a few days from the game, or maybe work on different aspects of the game which are more straightforward... like solving some bugs or polishing different parts. I also try to do more activities which are not game related, like watching movies or TV shows, reading some books, hiking, working in the garden, or going for a walk. I also ask people to play some sections of the game and see how they react. Going to conventions really helps to boost the moral because you meet new people, see their reaction to your game and so on.



Wishlist IWOCon 2020 here.

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