Behind the Scenes with the Developers of Seasons after Fall
There are lots of perks to doing what I do as an indie writer, but undeniably, one of the best is having the opportunity to review games and get to know their developers. One such game I reviewed recently was the stunning Seasons after Fall.
Set in a beautiful forest, Seasons after Fall tells the story of a little fox which is being used as a vessel for a tiny magical seed that needs the foxes help to find the Guardians of the Seasons so that it can absorb the power of the seasons in order to restore them.
After reviewing the game, I caught up with its developers to get some behind the scenes info on what I reckon will be my favorite game of the year.
ESpalding: Hello there! Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk to you. I know who you are, but could you please start off by telling the readers a little bit about yourselves?
Swing Swing Submarine: Hi, we are Swing Swing Submarine, a small game dev studio based in southern France. We are a core team of 6 people, and we work with more people when we need some help to create our games. Before releasing the relaxing Seasons after Fall, we created two challenging puzzle games: Blocks That Matter (2011) and Tetrobot and Co. (2013). All our games are available on Steam (and consoles or touch devices for some titles).
ES: Where did the initial concept for Seasons after Fall come from?
SSS: The concept of Seasons after Fall has been created by Guillaume and me when we started Swing Swing Submarine. It's the reunion of Guillaume's idea of making a game about dimensions (like Soul Reaver was) and my own idea of making an accessible game about nature. Dimensions + Nature: that's how we decided to make a game based on Seasons. In 2009 and 2010, we created the first prototypes of what will later become, from 2014 to 2016, Seasons after Fall.
ES: I absolutely love the concept of the game but what is the reason behind your choice of setting and characters? Is nature something you enjoy?
SSS: Oh, we love a lot of things. It's easy to forget, but nature is an important part of everyone's life, right? So yes, we love nature. But we don't think Seasons after Fall is a game about nature in the sense of animals, forests, plants. The game theme is related to nature in a more human point of view: time, changes, growing up.
ES: Oh wow! I didn't see it from that point of view, but now you mention it I can see where you are coming from.
The hand-painted style of graphics in the game are stunning, what made you decide to go with this kind of design?
SSS: When we were working on our first game, Blocks That Matter, we fell in love with Geraud Soulié's concept art, and we decided to hire him for our second and for Seasons after Fall also. We created specific tools so we can keep it's art style intact into the game so that it could be a living painting. All environments have been drawn four times! That was quite a challenge for a small team.
ES: The audio for the game is provided by a string quartet. How much input did you have in the development of the soundtrack? Did you write the score? Why was a classical track chosen over something a little more modern sounding?
SSS: Just like we let Géraud Soulié manage the art, we let Yann van der Cruyssen managed the sound and music parts. Yann is really good at making electronic music, and chiptunes too, but for this score he wanted to work with a string quartet. The music is used as a way to support the action or create emotions (sometimes weird emotions) during specific events, like entering a new place, solving a puzzle. Music is not used to motivate the player but to create a story. We recorded almost 60 tracks. 44 tracks of them have been included in the final game.
ES: The game was released on September 2nd. Now that people have had time to play it, what has been the general reception to Seasons after Fall?
SSS: Player reviews are 95% positive on Steam, and press reviews are most of the time positive with an average 8/10. These are just numbers, pleasant numbers. What's most important for us is that the game can finally be played by everyone. We hope a lot of people will like Seasons after Fall and understand what the game is really about.
ES: Lastly, for a bit of fun, Seasons after Fall is all based on the seasons and how they affect the environment. So what is your favorite season and why? My favorite is Autumn as I love the natural autumn colors and the smells of nature changing.
SSS: Wow, that's a difficult question. Of course, what's interesting with nature and seasons is that it always changed. "How can we say that there are only four seasons when the world around us is constantly changing?" is a catchphrase we used to print on our game flyers. Now, I have to admit; Winter is my favorite season. Nothing is better than walking in the snow, playing board games and drinking tea inside when it's cold outside.
ES: Thank you once again for giving me the opportunity to chat to you about your latest game. I would like to wish you all the best for this game and any yet to come.
Seasons after Fall is now available to download from Steam for PC only. If this chat with the games developer has whetted your appetite, check out this trailer and then go and grab yourself a copy!