The Gamerheads Podcast

Inside the Creation of Isles of Sea and Sky with Cicada Games' Jason Newman

January 26, 2024 Gamerheads Podcast Network
The Gamerheads Podcast
Inside the Creation of Isles of Sea and Sky with Cicada Games' Jason Newman
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to another episode of The Gamerheads Podcast. Ever been enchanted by the elegant dance of design and storytelling in gaming? Jason Newman of Cicada Games takes us through the creation of Isles of Sea and Sky, an open-world puzzle adventure that's as captivating as it is challenging. From his NES-fueled childhood to clinching a finalist spot for Excellence in Design at the 2024 Independent Games Festival, Jason's journey unfolds like a blueprint for indie game success.

We talk about the delicate art of puzzle-making—how do you craft a game that hooks both puzzle experts and newcomers? Jason discusses his approach, the team's focus on intriguing designs, and the importance of playtesting. The game's environmental storytelling and mythology also take the spotlight, where players unravel the narrative through exploration and interpretation, a method that fuels fan theories and solidifies community bonds.

It's clear that the dedication of indie developers like Jason is a testament to the vibrant, ever-evolving gaming landscape. Be sure to wishlist Isles of Sea and Sky and follow Cicada Games online.

Wishlist Isles of Sea and Sky: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1233070/Isles_of_Sea_and_Sky/

Follow Cicada Games on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CicadaGames

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Music:
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Speaker 1:

This episode of Gamer Heads is brought to you by Magic Mind, the healthy energy drink that will help you take your creativity to a new level. Hi, I'm Celia Schilling from Yacht Club Games. Hey, this is James from Mega Cat Studios. Hey, this is Matt AK Stormer-Geddon from Reignite Screen Snark and the Fun and Games podcast. This is Stephanie from the Boss Rush podcast and the Boss Rush Network. Hey, this is Mark and Keon from Bonta-Affold. Hey, this is Sebastian with theproteonerreportcom and the Single Player Experience podcast. Hi, this is Chris, mike and Garrett from Daylight Basement Studio. Hey, this is BaronJ67 from Level 1 Gaming.

Speaker 2:

Hey, this is.

Speaker 1:

Todd Mitchell from Code Right Play Salutations. This is Mike Carroll from Stroll Art. Hey, this is Jeff Moonen from Fun and Games podcast. Hey, this is Patrick from the Backlog Odyssey. Hey, this is Rune from Runeic Codes. Hi, this is Andrew from Spalato Birds. Hi everyone.

Speaker 2:

Jill Grote here from the Indie and Former hey, this is Brimstone and you're listening to Roger Reichart on the GamerHeads podcast.

Speaker 1:

And welcome to another episode of the GamerHeads podcast. My name is Roger. This week I have a very special guest. I have Jason Newman. He is from Siketa Games and we're going to be talking about the game Isles of the Sea and Sky. Jason, thank you so much for joining me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no problem. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know we talked a little bit off the air, but I wanted to say this on air too Congratulations on the nomination for the 2024 Independent Games Festival. Finalists in Excellence in Design. How exciting is that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's totally insane. I can't believe it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's hard to believe.

Speaker 2:

And I'm super stoked about it and it's amazing to be in the category with the other games that are in there are amazing. And then also to me it's like to me it's the best category, not trying to, like you know, to land on the horn, but I think the you know, the game design aspect, like really drilling in on that, is one of my passions and I think people who have played the game can tell that. So it's like it feels really incredible to be recognized for that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and we'll get more into the game itself, but before we do, I would like to know a little bit more about you, like, what got you into games in the first place? And, yeah, how did you get into this crazy industry of game design?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I grew up in California actually, and Craig and Dan, who are Craig's the composer for the game and Dan is my producer, he's helping me with everything outside of the game and I'm and play testing and things like that, and then I'm doing the programming and the art and the game design. So we actually all grew up on the same street together. Really, yeah, absolutely insane. Craig and Dan are brothers and we grew up across the street from each other and we just spent all our time as kids like playing outside and then like playing video games, and even back then when I was a kid, I used to make up games for them to play. So I feel like it was sort of destiny that I would get into game development at some point. But, yeah, so eventually, like yeah, I grew up with, like you know, the NES.

Speaker 2:

My parents had an Atari and I vaguely remember like watching them, but I was too young to actually play. I don't think they would let me play. But then when we had an NES, I was like old enough to start playing games and that's when I just like I was just obsessed. And Super Mario 3, that was like a huge deal for me back then and I remember, like we didn't have, how old are you? I'm almost 40 years old. I'm 47.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, so you know exactly what I'm talking about when I say it. Like we didn't have the internet, we didn't have like the only way that you found out about new games and things like that was word of mouth or magazines print stuff like that. So we saw that that freaking Nintendo advertisement movie, the Wizard.

Speaker 1:

Do you remember that? Yes, yes.

Speaker 2:

And I saw that movie and then, and after we finished watching it, I said to my cousin I was like, is that a real game, Super Mario 3? And she was like I think so. And we went to the app store and there it was, and then we rented it and now it's like my favorite game at that point. So then eventually I got it. But, yeah, just what a crazy time, right, how you could just discover unbelievable games just like by accident. And but, yeah, anyway, from there was, like you know, Super Nintendo, N64, PlayStation 1. I was obsessed with all of those. And then we got a. My family got a computer at some point and that was just like the end of it.

Speaker 2:

I just, yeah, just dove into computers so much and I was playing all kinds of PC games like Command and Conquer, Red Alert. I think that was my first foray into game development in a way, because I found out that you could modify the game with this text file and so I really got into that. So it was sort of like a dipping my toe into game modding, you know, yeah, yeah. Then after that it was Warcraft 3, the world editor that they had, for that was like the most amazing game tool that I've ever seen and I made so many awesome maps with that and custom games, and then RPG maker and then game maker, and then after that I went to university and I ended up studying computer science.

Speaker 2:

So then, you know, after that I just at first I was just doing, you know, games as a hobby. But then you know someone earlier we were chatting how, after I had been working on this game, I was at Sea and Sky as like a hobby project for a couple years. I was like questioning, like what am I doing? I'm spending so much time on this, like is this a hobby or not? And so I sent it out to a bunch of friends and I was just ready to be like okay, if they hate it, then I'm just going to trash this and then just like start working on something else. Or, if you know, if they love it, then maybe I'll, you know, think about doing this like more seriously. And yeah, the feedback was just like so overwhelmingly positive that I was like, all right, I have to. I have to like make this into a real game. Yeah, yeah, I just dove in to this game after that. Anyway, sorry to go way off the rails, but yeah no, that's awesome.

Speaker 2:

It was the journey from my childhood until starting on this project.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, and it's, and it's fun because I can see a lot of influences from a lot of the games you know, from NES times and Superianus, right, like I can see a lot of the retro influence in the game and we can talk more about that. But your journey, I mean it's really funny because, like I know other, you know indie developers too and a lot, and you know some of my friends, same thing. I was like do I just put this down? Do I work on something new? Like, and it's that moment where it's like you have so much sunk cost into something. It's like this. Is it Like I either keep going with this or I'm going to move on to something else? And I'm glad that you moved on with this because this is awesome. This is a really cool game.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. But yeah, you have, I think, a really powerful, yeah Sort of ability or skill to have and to practice as a, as an indie game dev. Is that ability to cut your losses? I think sometimes people get too stuck on, like already invested so much time in this project and I need to To finish it, but then they're, you know, they're gonna get burnt out because they don't actually like it. Maybe it's not actually fun, you know. So that's an important skill. So it's good to hear that your Friends, you know, went through the same thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. Well, tell us about the game Isles of Sea and Sky, what I know it's a puzzle game can tell us more about, about the game itself.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So it's a puzzle adventure games that in this like world of islands, and it's like a very mysterious game because you don't really know what's going on or who you are, who the main character is. There's no text or dialogue in the game, so it's a very visual Game where you explore and you figure out things on your own. Like in the beginning of the game, you just wash the shore on this beach and and you just start messing around and trying to figure out. You know what to do and what's going on, and then it's it's yeah, so it has this, you know, zelda vibe, the Zelda aesthetic or a classic Zelda aesthetic, and so it's got this open-world layout like those kinds of games right, and so that's what makes it really unique and interesting, I think, compared to other puzzle games, is that the puzzles are laid out in this world that you can explore, and so it's kind of an open world and you can do puzzles in different orders or skip puzzles, things like that, whereas like a traditional puzzle game, if you get stuck on a puzzle, then that's pretty much like the end of the game For you.

Speaker 2:

This you can be like I can't figure this out, I'm just gonna come back later or Something like that. There's a Metroidvania aspect to it as well with that, where you'll encounter things that you don't necessarily know what to do with them yet, or you You're blocked off or something, and then you get an item later, or like a power-up, and then You'll remember like, oh, I saw a thing before and you can go back and then open up a whole new area, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I think that's interesting because that's actually one of the things I wanted to ask about was the open-worldness of of the puzzles, and you can choose however you want to approach or whatever puzzle you want to approach, like when you are Designing that. How do you approach designing a game where it is an open-world puzzle game and how do you ensure that players can still complete them in any order, but, yes, they'll be able to progress through the game?

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So there's a bunch of stuff in the game that's like incremental progress, like, for instance, there are gems that you can collect on each island and you want to bring those to this, this God that's on each island and and the they require six gems there's.

Speaker 2:

There's more than six and they're spread out like in different ways so that it's very open as as far as how does. How will a player collect that like minimum of six, yeah, and then so the much more difficult puzzles might be gated off in some way. Or, basically, a More like casual player that just wants to Progress through the game, they can just get those six and then just like go to the God and see what happens and keep going and then, like more completionist players will Try to go through, you know, those harder and harder puzzles. So I think that's important. An important thing about it is that sort of like there isn't just, you know, like one item that you have to get, there's several, and then the ways that you can get them are more open. So creates like a really flexible Experience, I think, and flexible difficulty.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's interesting. So I mean, how, how much? How challenging is that, though? Because that's one of the things that you say in your, in your game, and, like one of the the features in the game Is that it's both for novices and for experts. You know how do you balance creating Puzzles, then, that are both accessible for beginners and engaging, for you know, the experts that want that more challenge.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it is difficult but it's in some ways it's easier, because I think a traditional puzzle game that has levels it's much more difficult to make fun for everybody because you have to compromise on difficulty. And, yeah, you either have to make like a really hard puzzle game that's only for you know very hardcore people, or you have to make a game that, in my opinion, is almost too easy For a lot of your sort of like target audience, because you're gonna turn off. You know so many people because they'll get stuck or something. And also, like, designing this game has been a wild experience of like learning how People perceive things. It's really interesting.

Speaker 2:

Um, people's perception varies wildly from person to person and even moment to moment where it'll be like. So one benefit of this sort of open world puzzle design is that, um, lots of times people will become stuck on something that they already know how to do and it's, it's in their head but they've just sort of like forgotten or their brain is Is just missing it in that moment, right, and then, they'll just like leave and come back and it just like refreshes your brain and you're just like, oh, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so another aspect of that is that, like it's it's so different how Sometimes people who are like really Extremely good at puzzles will get stuck on something that that, like a casual player, will just breeze through and and vice versa, like the, the puzzle expert, obviously will like solve so much more and so much faster. But there's just like Everyone has these moments where You're just not getting something, and so that's why I think, rather than like compromising on one difficulty level, I'm providing a bunch of content, a bunch of puzzles that you can do in various orders and like another. Another important thing about that, I think, is that, like Interesting puzzles are better than hard puzzles, hmm. So I think like really People who are really into puzzle games appreciate that so, even if the puzzle is, like trivial.

Speaker 2:

If there are some like you know, really like entertaining a ha moment or something they like, they really love that, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So it doesn't have to be like they're not gonna be like bored with the, with the easy puzzles, yeah, yeah, and you know Completionist people I think they enjoy, you know collecting everything.

Speaker 2:

So there's not too much worry there, except for, like trying to make the puzzles fun and interesting, like I was just saying, and and not tedious.

Speaker 2:

And then for the casual players, I just try to create like a Very a clear path, as much as possible Without text or dialogue, yeah, which is another challenge, but try to like communicate with them and all the visual tools that I have, you know what is the the goal and what is the path of least resistance, and Usually they'll figure it out and and I think you know it's sort of up to them how much they want to get and how hard they want to push on something. So, yeah, and then I think, finally, like the most important thing is probably the testing and the iteration. It's like I was saying, people's perceptions are so wildly different that I have to see people play the game. So I always send builds to Craig and Dan and then I ask them to record themselves playing and then I watch it, and then we do the same with our community, and it's just so useful to see different people's thought process, thought process. I asked them to, like you know, think aloud while they're playing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I was mentioning earlier before we were recording that like I have a secret that like keeps me going.

Speaker 2:

You know, that keeps me excited about the project and helps sustain me, like not get burned out and things like that.

Speaker 2:

Because I was saying that working on a game, especially a big, multi-year project, you're down in the trenches and you just have no concept of, like, what you're doing and if you're making progress and you know, like what even is this thing that you're working on, and the only way to like not get burnt out is to take a step back and try to like grasp the whole thing and see what progress you've made and to think about that.

Speaker 2:

And so one of the huge benefits of this kind of testing that I'm doing is that it gives me that satisfaction, because I get to see somebody enjoying my game. Yeah, and so when I've been working on some part of the game for like a few months and I just feel totally like exhausted and I don't even know what I'm doing anymore, and then I get to see them play it, it's like this crazy awesome experience. Not only does it help, you know, like sort of like refresh my enthusiasm, but it also, you know, I get like this huge list of things that I see that need to be tweaked and improved or fixed, and you have this like sort of boost of excitement and a big list of stuff to do, and so it just like totally refreshes you and it just makes the game so much better getting all this input from different, different people with different, you know, perceptions and things like that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so you mentioned in that fund this fascinating when you said that sometimes people that like the really challenging puzzles, like it's stuck on the easy puzzles. Do you think it's because they're expecting them to be more complicated and they're overthink some of the puzzles? Do you think that's? That's the issue.

Speaker 2:

Sure that happens, but I think it's like it could be many, any number of issues. But yeah, there are. There are times when and I think that's a matter of perception to where they, your brain, does all kinds of plays, all kinds of tricks on you, right, and our brains are really good at like sort of like assuming things and jumping to conclusions, so, and that helps a lot, like in in nature or in the real world or whatever right. But then, like, my job as a puzzle designer is to sort of, you know, take advantage of that to to trick you, you know, yeah, and so, yeah, sometimes I think people are expecting something different than than reality.

Speaker 2:

Or there's something that I've heard a lot of people in the puzzle game world calling puzzle blindness, where for some reason, like maybe you're just working on the same puzzle for so long or you're like you've been playing this puzzle game for for for so long that eventually your brain just like gives up and is like not not helping you at all, and so I think that goes back to my thing about the open world thing. Being able to leave and come back to refresh your brain is a huge deal, and the fact that a big part of this game is exploration. So it's not just like you have to just go to some other puzzle that you also find boring or something. It's like you can, you know, go to another island and go try to find secrets, go explore the overworld, things like that.

Speaker 1:

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Speaker 1:

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Speaker 1:

How challenging is it? Like? Well, I guess my first question. I'll ask this first question first and then I'll ask my second one. My first question is like so you mentioned how there's no text in the game, right? So it's all like visuals, everything's visual. Do you when, when somebody approaches a puzzle, do they know like, oh, this is an easier puzzle or this is more going to be more challenging, or is it they have to dig into it and say, oh, this is, this is more challenging than I thought it was going to be like. And then, and then, on top of that, I'm going to ask my second one how do you, when you have an open world and you allow them to do puzzles like this, how do you scaffold, like the learning, like, hey, you learned this in this puzzle and you're going to apply something similar to that in the next puzzle that you, that you're tackling?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so yeah, that's great, great question. Okay, as far as the first part, can you repeat it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, sorry. I asked two questions around. I'm so sorry. The first one was how do you, how do you like, when they walk into a puzzle, do they know it's going to be a complicated one, or do they know it's going to be one?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so definitely, it seems from my observations that a lot of players, after they've played through the game a bit and let's say they're sort of like maybe they're midway through the first big island or maybe they've gotten past that island, I think people start to get a really good sense of the game, where I don't know how to describe it, but you know, just to sort of like a more natural understanding of the game and and at that point it seems like people are better at determining if a puzzle is worth their time or how difficult it's going to be Sometimes some of the puzzles are like just absolutely insane. You go into a room and there's, just like you know, 30 objects or something that not really that much, but you know yeah, yeah just this room just litter with stuff and people immediately are like holy shit.

Speaker 2:

you know this is going to be a challenge.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And in those rooms there. I think there's like a good indicator in this game is that there will be like multiple rewards in a room. A lot of the puzzles have multiple parts. Okay, so like multi stage. Some of the puzzles are like there's an easy reward and you can solve for that, but if you can figure out a few more steps in addition to that solution, there's a secondary reward for, you know, the more hardcore puzzle people and completionists.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there will be an indicator that I think people pick up on over time. And then another option is that there's like multiple puzzles on one screen, and that's another instinct that people learn over time. Playing the game is like at first they'll be like there's two or three rewards. The first time people experience that they're like trying to solve for all of them at once, yeah, yeah. And then they have to do this isn't working, and then they go okay, I need to just focus on this one thing first. Let me try to get that yeah, and then so it becomes more natural over time that that way of thinking.

Speaker 2:

Another thing is that some of the most hard, some of the most difficult puzzles in the game are gated off with these star gates. The stars are like the basic sort of collectible, much like Mario 64. Sure, so you, you'll collect a bunch of stars and then you're on an island and then there's you have like five stars and then there's a gate that says like 35 stars and you're like, okay, there's no way that I can, I'm not going to mess with that. Yeah, yeah, yeah and then yeah. So the second part of the question about you know like, how do you teach the players, how do you scaffold all this kind of information?

Speaker 2:

and stuff and that has been one of the funnest things to me, I think, like it's such a fun aspect of game design to me, this sort of like there's so many parts of it like visual communication and, you know, making like a really smooth player experience. So one thing that I use like this phrase is pretty common in game design, I think which is that rule of three, where you want to show something three times to really like drive it home. So I try to do that when I can when I'm introducing a new mechanic. Well, let me, let me like start at the beginning. First of all, the first time I'm introducing a mechanic, I set it up so that the player literally cannot do anything to progress without doing this interaction. So they see it for themselves and it sounds like, you know, annoying and tedious or something. But the alternative is, you know some text, heavy dialogue or something and nobody wants that nobody like you know, those written tutorials suck man.

Speaker 2:

Yes, no matter how boring it is that like I'm like, you have to push this block into this pit, then you can walk over the pit, no matter how boring it seems, people actually enjoy it. Not only do they find it way better than the text tutorials but which aren't in the game, but they but that I think people actually find it enjoyable and satisfying and it also it makes you like remember it way more because you're the one that discovered it when you're reading text. My God dude, I just skipped through all that and then I never pay attention and even if I did read something like, I'll probably forget it because I didn't do it myself. So that will be the first introduction to a mechanic is like you literally can't go on to the next area or enter this area without experimenting with. Like I'll put a block in a room with you know things that it can interact with so the player can experiment. They're safe to experiment.

Speaker 2:

That's important too. You can't like punish players when they're trying to learn something new. So the game hopefully, like I want to maintain that sort of like player, game, developer trust relationship throughout the whole game where they feel like I'm not going to get like cheated by some weird you know bullshit where the developer's laughing at me or something. So they can, you know, try out different things, see what works. The game is not punishing at all because it has infinite undo and you can reset the room, things like that. So once they get that first one sorry, I'm just rambling on and on- this is fantastic.

Speaker 1:

Okay, great.

Speaker 2:

Good to hear it. So once they get through that first interaction, they're going to have options. The games like any area that you enter in this game that has that's sort of a larger area will start to branch out very quickly depending on your play style. So if you're more casual and not trying to like collect everything, then the path will be more a bit more linear and clear, but there's still always options.

Speaker 2:

But so once the path starts branching out, I try to include that mechanic that was just introduced in a couple of different places that you have to do it again to progress in those directions, but it will be with a new twist, so that not only is it interesting and fun, but it's also teaching a new aspect of the mechanic. And then after that the player will have opened up more options for like more serious puzzles. And then that's when I'll start getting weird with some mechanics. And then that's when you have to really start to like experiment or, you know, come to that like aha moment that, oh, there's like a little trick to this thing that I didn't think about.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that because I think that's what to me, I think that's what makes a good puzzle game is having the player feel as though, like they solved it right, but oh, this is what the designer wanted me to do, right. It's more like, oh, I used my intelligence to solve this puzzle right. And I love that chat where it's like the idea of doing things three times but then also not having the text because you're right. To me that is so like, overdone and kind of boring too sometimes, right, like, because it's like, yeah, okay, I get the tutorial, I'm not going to read it. And then you're like wait, what am I? What was I doing? Like, what was I supposed to be paying attention to that? I love that. That it's you know. And again, it encourages the player of like you are the one that solved that right. Even though it might be simple, you did it yourself and you'll remember it more. I love that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely the players. Like you know, satisfaction and joy is like is my motivation with doing this, you know, and seeing watching people play the game and I love seeing their reactions. So I really try to aim for that with, like you know, little, not only like trying to keep the player experience very smooth and enjoyable, but also like little twists and surprises that are like pleasant surprises, not unpleasant. And yeah, I have a friend who he made a game called Princess Castle Quest which you should check out. It's very cool.

Speaker 2:

Also, another like Soko Bonn kind of style game with all kinds of things like portals and things like you know, very similar stuff, and he said something like you know his goal as a puzzle designer is to make the player feel like a genius. So, yeah, it's just what you were saying and I think yeah, I think a lot of puzzle games don't like focus on that and it feels like sometimes maybe the puzzle designer is thinks it's like a competition or maybe maybe they're not considering that enough the player experience and then they're just thinking from their end like this is a logical progression of difficulty from my perspective, and I think a lot of people have gotten turned off of puzzle games because of that, where things become tedious or frustrating and there's just no options, and I think most normal people are just like hey, I'm done. You know I'm not going to put all the time and energy into like figuring this out, but yeah, I think that's important.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that. Another thing that you mentioned is how there is no text like in there's a narrative but there's no text based storytelling elements. How do you make sure the players like grasp the narrative that you're trying to tell without the traditional text based storytelling elements?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so one thing is that, like, first of all, so I want to tell a story and I want, like I think it's interesting to do it in a puzzle game, because a lot of puzzle games don't really have story elements. But at the same time, I don't really mind if people don't care about the story, because, like, for instance, you know, we're talking about the games that we grew up playing and whatnot, and I played a lot of Diablo 2. That was one of my favorite games, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Something that.

Speaker 2:

I love about that game is that it is story and lore rich, but it's it's sort of optional, you know, like yeah, if you want to dive into a game where you're just like this huge ripped barbarian just shredding through zombies and shit like you can just do that and you don't have to talk to anybody you can just run out into the field and start killing things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah yeah, I love that. I want to create games like that. I mean, I haven't made like an RPG or anything yet so I mean maybe I would change my mind about that in an RPG. I don't know, but it works for this game, where I like the fact that the story can be in the background if the player doesn't care about it. They can just focus on the puzzles and collecting items, making progress and they can skip the cutscenes.

Speaker 2:

A lot of the story elements are like visual clues and things scattered around the island, so you can sort of build this narrative in your mind, so they can just be like I don't care about that, that's fine with me. So I think that's an important aspect of telling a story that doesn't have dialogue or text. Is that accepting that it can be part of the background? And another thing is that I actually I do like games to where that are like lower rich and things like that, but then don't necessarily have tons of exposition in the game and then the community outside of the game has a bunch of like fan theories and you know research that they've done and things like that. I love that and I hope that that happens with this game. I think there's plenty of room for some cool fan theories and research for people to figure out, you know, details of this story.

Speaker 2:

The third thing that's important to the storytelling in this game is that it's inspired by, like the fact that every culture around the world and throughout history has had creation myths and these sort of like super common myths and legends that were created to like sort of help us understand the universe and the world around us, like before science existed, right, yeah, I think that that aspect of it I'm hoping is like so sort of like primordial and fundamental to all humans to the point that I think a lot of people will understand the basic like concept of the story, because it's one of those just sort of like super ancient, primal kind of stories that that every culture has. So I'm hoping there will be, you know, a basic understanding from that. That helps without, you know, not needing dialogue, because these kind of stories like go across language barriers. So, yeah, there's also there's some extra story stuff too that's like more for the 100% players. So if you complete the game with a basic run through, then there is a sort of like basic ending If you, if you complete it with 100% there's there's more that's added on to the ending cut scenes.

Speaker 2:

You get to see like a bit more of the of the story, and then there's also some other areas in the game that only more hardcore completionists will be able to access that show a little bit more of the story as well. So I'm hoping that that people who are like really into the game and want to know the story will will feel like rewarded by that, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I love that. That was going to be one of my questions like what is the? You know what is in it for the people that want to complete 100%. So you answered that. I love that. The other thing I love, too, that you said that about the whole, like the, the myth, you know the, the creation myths right behind it. I'm sure that, too, is like in part of the puzzle, like that you're describing, but I love about that is the shared experiences that people have, and then it's the oral traditions, right, that they tell each other like, oh, did you experience this? And you just like like to me, like that is just magical and that sounds like that's the stuff that you're capturing in this game as well, and I, and I love that.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. Yeah, it's, it's. I can't wait to see what people make of it and, honestly, you know, like I was saying, I don't mind if people don't care about the story, I don't mind if. If there's people that hate the story, just don't send me death threats. I guess that's only but only ask, but, like, but I do hope that there will be some people that are like, really, really enjoy it and I think it should be at least understandable on a basic level to a lot of people.

Speaker 2:

And yeah, that that's something that was super inspiring to me was how, you know, I was like looking into all these different creation myths, different cultures, and it's just amazing how there's so many commonalities, because it's basically just humans, we're all. We're all basically the same. We have, you know, the same ways of thinking and interpreting the worlds around us and things like that. And it's amazing how that comes through in all of these stories where, to the point, where there are, you know, there are people who study these kinds of myths and things like that, and they have like character, archetypes that are so common that they actually have like names that it's like oh, several stories have this character and these are like cultures that never even crossed paths like they could be different places or different times.

Speaker 2:

Sure, and it's just amazing how it's so it made me think that you know, like people say, that culture. It made me think that that culture actually, like, unites us, doesn't divide us because we have the sort of like ultimately very similar ways of thinking on like a very basic level. Yeah, that was something that really blew my mind and inspired me on the story for this game.

Speaker 1:

Nice. What aspects do you think players are going to find most intriguing or more or most surprising when they're playing Isles of Sien's guy?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question and I'm really excited to to find that out once people start playing it. And I think there's this full of like little surprises and twists that I think people are going to love. Like, for instance, in the on the first island, like the first time you you find the, the giant sea turtle is always like a people are always like excited about that and there's things like that in the game. But as far as like a big well, what one big thing. That has surprised people a lot.

Speaker 2:

That we've seen from like when the demo was out and watching people play, test and stuff and a huge number of people who we convinced to give the game a chance but who thought that they hated puzzle games and then, like before they knew it, they're like an hour into the game and they're just like All right, what am I going to do next? They're like so into it so that that feels great. And it's also, I think, like a huge surprise to those people that are skeptical or think that they don't like puzzle games. I think it's just that they haven't found the right presentation yet. So I think that will be one thing that people will probably talk about, if the game was talked about at all. I hope it is, but yeah.

Speaker 2:

I think a lot of people will talk about how they're like oh, I actually enjoyed that game and it's a puzzle game. The other thing is, I mean, there's lots of stuff in the game that hasn't been revealed yet. Um, that's like just weird and interesting mechanics and stuff and puzzles that I think people will be like. Um, I don't know, maybe people will be surprised at how many surprises there are or something. But uh, yeah, it's not necessarily like huge plot twists or anything like that, but just like you know, this variety of interesting things to see and do.

Speaker 1:

Nice, nice, um, so I know it's coming to steam and I and we talked that. You know, ideally you would like to also bring into consoles too. Do you have a and this might not be a fair question to you, but do you have an estimated release window when you're thinking that, uh, that at least maybe an early access might be available?

Speaker 2:

Uh, well, my um marketing uh lady that we uh we hired a marketing consultant um to uh help us out on like planning the release and stuff, Um. So she said don't talk about the release date yet, but Fair, fair, that's a fair statement. Yeah, and we've already like made that mistake like eight times.

Speaker 2:

Um and it's always just other developers. My tip to you is never say anything about a date like not even a big, and because you're going to be wrong and all, all your players are going to say I got a tattoo of that date, what the hell man? Um, but I can say, though, um, as far as um well, so I can't say it like a window, but, um, yeah, remind me again, um, okay, so you're. You asked if I could say the release date window. Um, what else were you asking about?

Speaker 1:

Oh no, I mean, I think I think the other thing is like I'll put a link in for the, the wish list, right, the steam page, but I know that you said also, ideally you'd like to bring this to consoles as well, like, and that's probably something that you're thinking about too- yeah, um, so, yeah, I think, uh, yeah, I mean I guess I can say that, um, that that's my, that's my dream to, to bring it to all the consoles.

Speaker 2:

And I'm not supposed to like talk um in details about that, because that's another thing.

Speaker 2:

That's like, um, first of all, I've never, I've never done any console porting, so that's going to be a new thing for me. And, um, yeah, it's very involved and there can be all kinds of roadblocks and crazy stuff. So, um, yes, I, I, um, I want to bring it to consoles, um, and I can show you this, like these mysterious boxes back here which, um may or may not contain some kind of hardware, um, but, uh, yes, I, I, uh, we, we will have, we will have an official date announcement for the PC launch and then, um, after that, um, we will have announcements about consoles, um, later down the line, when that's happening, and then, um, before that, there's obviously going to be need to be like there's going to be like a big update after release, because you always have like tons of bugs and crazy stuff that there's no amount of testing that can find until you know 10,000 people are playing your game, um, so, but then beyond that, there's definitely content updates planned as well, that um add new areas to the game and things like that.

Speaker 2:

So we'll see how all that goes and how it all aligns, um, but yeah, so first, uh, first things first is the PC launch date announcement. I can say we'll be coming soon, okay.

Speaker 1:

Okay, okay, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Sorry, I can't see more, but no, no, I, I uh.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I appreciate that. Um, I'll put a link, though, in the show notes for folks that they can wishlist the game. Um, how can people follow you then on social media? Um, I know that you guys have Twitter.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, um, sure they can follow me. Or um Siketa games, um, which is my studio. What even is my Twitter tag for that? I guess it's just Siketa Siketa game. Sorry, I don't know. That's okay. Yeah, it's just Siketa games um Twitter, um, and then, yeah, mine is. Uh, you can link it up if you want.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, sure.

Speaker 2:

That's my personal one, um, you know, not official opinions of the studio, but my spicy hot ticks on the game industry, you know, nice yeah. And then, uh, we have a website Um, siketa softcom, um nice. Should have like links for for anything.

Speaker 1:

Nice, and I'll put both of those. I'll put all that into the show notes as well. Great.

Speaker 2:

Jason.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely, jason, it was really fun talking with you and I can't wait to play Isles of the Sea and Sky. Uh, I am super excited for this game and uh, again, congratulations for the nomination. That is amazing and folks go add them, go wish list this game and uh, follow them as well on on social media. Um, again, thank you, jason, so much for for taking time at your schedule and meeting with me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you so much for the kind words. Thanks for having me and, um, I'd love to come back and chat with you again after the game.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. You're always welcome back anytime. If you want to talk about game design, we can talk about that too. Absolutely, yeah, just hit me up Um yeah, cause.

Speaker 2:

uh, yeah, I'm going to be super busy uh next few months so yeah, yeah, uh.

Speaker 1:

Listeners, thank you so much for giving us a listen. Leave us a review to let us know what you think of the show and again, follow Jason and follow the game and wish list the game. Everybody, stay safe and game on and I'll talk to you next week. Bye, bye.

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