It’s a bold and exciting look into an old decaying world, a place of tinkering tykes and time lost ladies- but what makes the creative team behind ClockWork… well, tick? I caught up with Vishal Gumber, the Managing Director of Gamesoft, the publisher behind the upcoming steampunk-inspired 2D side-scrolling puzzler to find out.
DYEGB: It is always amazing to see Aussies working in game development. How many of you are there in the team? Your website says 14, is that all of you? How did you come together?
VG: A team of 25 talented people came together at different points throughout the development of ClockWork. The initial team of 14 on our website had worked on non-commercial projects in the past, and grouped together to bring ClockWork to life. Through both networking, and scouting for talent, the team grew over time.
DYEGB: You mention you are an experienced development team. What history do you all have? What previous projects do you hail from?
VG: We received help from experienced developers who gave us guidance and useful advice throughout development. From small indie contract work to larger scale games as well as personal projects.
DYEGB: Superb steampunk aesthetic, what inspired you to take on such an established and often controversial look for the game?
VG: We never really regarded the aesthetic in that sense, we had an idea for how the gameplay behaved and built a setting around it. The characters in the world are very much centered around time and ticking away at their work, their lack of concern with time passing and rotting away was the driving factor for this look.
2D steampunk goodness
DYEGB: Looking at screenshots and gameplay footage, I can’t help but see some inspiration drawn from the Oddworld series and the bleak outlook for those that live in the world. Is this true? Otherwise, what inspired you to create the ClockTower and its crumbling society?
VG: We took inspirations from numerous titles for this game, but the bleak outlook that characters have in this world is very much the reality of ClockWork. The theme of time being so core to the game, we wanted the world to represent the effects of time on a city built on crooked stilts.
DYEGB: Is it intimidating working with time manipulation as a mechanic, after games like BRAID have set people’s expectations so high?
VG: A large part of our intention was to create a world around the mechanic. Whilst we naturally knew Braid, our focus was on different aspects of how time could be portrayed as opposed to other titles, intertwining it with the game’s narrative.
DYEGB: What drew you to the idea of creating the game’s characters and world in 2D? With so many tools available to create 3D assets easier than ever, why opt for what many might consider ‘the harder’ option?
VG: During production, our team was established around 2D artists, and whilst the possibility for a 2.5D version of the game was explored, our skillset and art direction was more suited towards a complete 2D art style. We also felt the 2D aesthetic would match the time mechanic better.
DYEGB: The art in the game is so rich – It looks like a digital painting! Who is the creative force behind it? What have they done in the past?
VG: Our art direction was very much based around the concept art produced by Arianne Elliott earlier in development. Her illustrations played a huge role in developing the mood that our artists developed. The other team members who brought this image into the game worked on graphic design, illustrations and as freelance artists in the past.
The game promises to be time well spent… sorry, I’ll show myself out
DYEGB: Who on Earth came up with ‘The Hour’? It’s unsettling to say the least. Or was it a true collaborative effort to bring that lumbering creep to life?
VG: The idea for the Hour originally came from Arianne. Being one of the first ideas of what an antagonist for the game could look like, it was then with a collaborative effort of our artists and programmers that brought the big creature into the game environment.
DYEGB: The game very much looks like it is coming together nicely. Have you encountered anything so far that you would describe as truly challenging from a development perspective? From an art aspect? Is there anything on your roadmap you are yet to get to that the team are collectively nervous about?
VG: Animation was one of the biggest challenges we had to overcome. Trying to make the mechanical character movements look smooth enough was something we always found difficult. While we anxiously wait for the game to release, but being developers we know that many areas of the game could benefit with more focus and we hope to polish it as much as possible before the big launch.
DYEGB: Finally – How much oil does a mechanical child need to stay in great shape and not make too much noise when working to save the world?
VG: About 10 L.
To learn more about ClockWork, check out the game’s website here