Assistant Producer Amy Scott - from UK based game developer Spiral House - took some time out of her busy schedule to discuss the teams development history and their latest upcoming adventure title Troll And I scheduled for released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Spiral House started out in 1999, with the first game we worked on, ‘Silver’. It was a multi-character based RPG where the player could swap characters at the click of a button. We also worked on games such as: Motorstorm, Alone in the Dark, Little Big Planet, Eyepet and most recently PlayStation Vita Pets. We started out with two founders Bobby Earl (Technical Director) and Kevin Oxland (Creative Director). We currently have 16 members of in-house staff and are based in Liverpool, UK. Our defining moment is yet to come!
The team at Spiral House are certainly game heads, obviously, but they play various types of games from racing games to RPGs. The most recent and more popular games are Bloodborne, Witcher 3, Ori and the Blind Forest and past recent games are Dragon Age Inquisition, Last of Us, Tomb Raider etc.
In some respects, they do play the types of game we are developing. I think most of us here play RPG's, online MMO's and action adventures, so we are influenced by them to some degree
The [PlayStation] Vita is a great piece of kit, capable of great things for such a small device. We really enjoyed working with Sony on PlayStation Vita Pets and because Pets had a story and an adventure, it gave us a taste of what we love doing, and that's creating great stories and adventures.
We've had experience creating fur in EyePet, prior to Pets, so when we came to Troll, we had a good knowledge base to rewrite all of our fur tech especially for Troll. Aside from that, the team has had many, many years of experience making games, from the Commodore 64 up to present day consoles, and all of that experience has gone into making Troll And I what it is.
We have a plan for crowdfunding all set out and ready to go. However, we have not decided yet if crowdfunding is the route that we are going to take. We should have more information [regarding that] soon.
We wanted to create something of quality and something that stood out in its own right. However, we couldn’t do a tale such as Troll and I as an entire ‘normal sized’ game in the timeframe we have due to our team size. So to retain the quality, we decided upon an episodic approach with the design and story being designed with that in mind from the ground up, rather than breaking up a whole game into pieces. Each episode works on its own and as part of a greater whole. The development has been a refreshing change actually, because even though we have the entire story arc written, we can really focus on each episode in lots of detail before moving onto the next.
Trolls have always been a big presence (excuse the pun) in Scandinavian folklore, even before ‘Trollhunter’. We wanted to go back to the multi-character based RPG of Silver, due to its popularity, and create a dual protagonist game with two very strong characters in their own right. At the time of Troll And I’s conception our Creative Director - Kevin Oxland - had an idea for a story about a Troll community living in Scandinavia, and a billionaire man who has a bit too much time and money on his hands who wants to catch a troll for his collection of rare animals. It was both of these of these ideas came together to make the story of Troll And I.
Yes, you can switch control at any time at the press of a button, but you can also give instructions to the other character too, like 'follow' and 'help' using a command wheel. We prototyped various control mechanisms and we briefly considered a simultaneous dual approach, but we felt it didn't work with the type of game we wanted to make. Our game has a combat element to it and using that control system in a combat scenario just wouldn't work at all.
Yes, it is very much a conscious decision to use post WWII props in our concepts. Here is a screenshot of a WWII siren in game, for example, that is a pivotal element to the game-play.
There are firearms in the game, but Otto is only a 15 year old boy, brought up in a small village. He had never held a firearm before, and at this point in the game, he has to do with what he can find and craft himself. A large part of the combat is melee based, but equally large is the stealth aspect of the combat. Many scenarios require a more sneaky take down of enemies, and for this there are long ranged spears as well as the cut-throat method. Enemies too will be equipped with crossbows etc and Otto’s crafting abilities will increase as the game progresses, meaning the weapon choices will greatly improve.
I'd first like to thank Amy for taking the time out to answer my questions. If you are interested in Troll And I - you can find more information on the official website TrollAndI.com or follow @SpiralHouse through Twitter.
Be sure to look out for more news regarding Troll And I on Crash Landed in the near future.
Are you interested in Troll And I or have questions for Spiral House? Let us know in the comments below.
Spiral House is a small gaming development studio located in Liverpool, UK. Established in 1999 the developers first entry into gaming was the PC and Dreamcast title Silver.
The studio has since worked on a myriad of original titles for PlayStation including such titles as LittleBigPlanet and most recently PlayStation Vita Pets.
The newly announced Troll And I, was first announced through the Square Enix Collective initiative.