Game releases are coming thick and fast these days, and it’s hard to find enough time to keep up with every blockbuster let alone keep track of every game on the horizon. One game that might have slipped under your radar is Troll and I – the third-person action-adventure game set in 1950s Scandinavia from developer Spiral House (who assisted on titles such as Little Big Planet and Motorstorm) and publisher Maximum Games (Alekhine’s Gun and Loading Human).
Troll and I puts you in the shoes of Otto, a teenage boy who is forced to flee his village after hunters destroy it while searching for a mythical troll rumoured to inhabit the region. Otto discovers the elusive troll by sheer happenstance while on the run, and the two become friends and embark on a journey to find their way back home. Both protagonists are playable with the game supporting local split screen co-op. Each character has their own unique abilities in both combat and exploration, and the pair must work together in order to successfully avoid the threat of the hunters. However, humans aren’t the only threat the two will come to face, with an orc army spilling into Earth due to a fracture in the world.
Ahead of Troll and I’s Australian release on March 24, we spoke to Kevin Oxland, the game’s creative director, to find out a little more about the title.
DYEGB: Is Troll – its existence or appearance – inspired by any Nordic folklore or myth? Or is it purely the work of the creative minds at Spiral House?
KO: It is a purely fictional work and comes from the minds at Spiral House. However, we all know Trolls live in Scandinavia right? It isn’t set in a specific location in Scandinavia either, but we used that backdrop and theme for the game. The Scandinavian terrain is very rugged, with lots of hills and mountains so we used that in the gameplay, and in the story. Troll and Otto do a lot of climbing and traverse a lot of rock. One of Troll’s unique abilities is to lift and help Otto get to places he wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
DYEGB: How long has the game been in development?
KO: It’s been in development for approximately two and half years.
DYEGB: The game’s narrative appears to focus heavily on the relationship between Otto and the Troll. Was this influenced or inspired by similar titles such as Fumito Ueda’s works (Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian), where relationships play a key role in both the story and gameplay?
KO: The narrative is focused on the relationship, and we extended that into the gameplay too and when you play it, you’ll see it’s very different from the games you mention, in that you can control both characters at any point in time. There isn’t a dominant one and you, as the player, must guide them both through the game… they both need each other equally.
In 1950s Scandinavia dreads were all the rage
DYEGB: How big is the game’s open world? Will transition from one area to another be seamless (no loading screens), or will each area be a separate section of the game world (such as in Shadow of Mordor)?
KO: It’s not an open world game so each area does load, although we tried to keep this as seamless as possible. The game has a linear storyline, but you can track back through the scenes at various points and it feels more open world that it actually is.
DYEGB: Can you give us any information on the origin of the orcs that break up through the surface?
KO: It’s part of the back story, in that Trolls have been in our world for many, many millennia. They came from a mystical, other world and they’re essentially hiding in the mountains. Something happens in the game that disrupts their balance and stealthy existence, and it causes fractures to split open and expose that world. The creatures from that world begin to spill out into ours.
DYEGB: Will players be able to complete side-quests throughout the world?
KO: No, it’s very narrative driven, i.e. in a third person action adventure style. There are collectables to collect and the player can explore the world further rather than simply staying on the beaten path, and you can discover a lot more about the hunters in the game if you search for it.
Jamaican me angry man!
DYEGB: How many weapons variants will Otto have access to?
KO: The weapons come in two variations, both melee and ranged weapons. Ranged weapons consist of around six different types of spear, which you have to craft, and have varying strengths and abilities. There is a few more melee weapon types, around ten or so, and again, most of them need crafting so you have to keep on top of it because they have durability and can break.
DYEGB: There has been mention of a crafting system, can you explain this system?
KO: Yes… you have to hunt boar and collect items to craft weapons. As mentioned before, weapons have durability and will break, so weapon binding becomes a very valuable item in the game. If there is one tip I can give you, pick up as much binding as you can find J
DYEGB: Troll and I is set during the 1950s in Scandinavia. How much research was done to ensure that the world is as authentic as possible? What typifies this time period for you guys?
KO: When discussing the idea, we didn’t want modern technology to get in the way, like mobile phones and the military with sophisticated equipment etc. or anything like that. So setting it in the 50s avoided all of those things to some degree. We also liked the idea of the world coming down off a second world war and the hard times would show. The main antagonist is a wealthy business man and he takes advantage of the world’s austerity to make his money, so that was the direction we came at it. All the objects and clothes etc. were modelled and based around that time period too, so everything was thought about in that respect.
DYEGB: Will the PS4 version of Troll and I have any PS4 Pro benefits (such as 4K resolution etc)? And will any versions support HDR?
KO: There are no specific enhancements, apart from whatever natural benefit the Pro gives the player.
Run Otto run!
DYEGB: You’ve confirmed that the game will have local (couch) co-op. Are there any plans will to support any form of online co-op in the future?
KO: No, we currently have no plans to cater for online at the present time, but we’ll see how things progress from here.
DYEGB: Are you intending to release any post-launch content, such as additional story DLC?
KO: No, there are no plans to do that at the time of writing.
DYEGB: Is there any reason why you chose not to give Troll a proper name?
KO: We did give Troll a proper name, but we took it out. In fact, we came up with many names for him, but none of them felt right, and it actually felt a bit weird calling him by a name. The word ‘Troll’ felt much better. It just worked.
DYEGB: If you could name Troll, what would you call it?
KO: That would be telling 😉
DYEGB: Both Troll and Otto have dreadlocks, do any of the development team have dreadlocks? Our Editor-in-Chief Kieran Stockton used to rock a ripping set of dreads.
KO: No, none of the team has dreads, but they look very cool. Otto (and Troll) live pretty much in the wilderness, and not somewhere you would get a local hairdresser, so we thought about that when we designed the characters. We also wanted some parity between the two characters and this was one of the ways we did that.
Troll and I launches in Australia on March 24 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. A Nintendo Switch release is coming later in 2017.