Passion is a large part of what creates an indie gaming studio and Flying Turtle Software appears to have more than enough to spare. The people behind the Portugal-based developer don’t have much in terms of capital. In fact, artist Paulo Silva points out that the six-person team works independently from home, in lieu of a physical studio.
What the team has is a strong love of gaming and an intense desire to become successful in that world, something they hope will show in their first PC title, A Walk in the Dark.
Flying Turtle Software first got into game design through the mobile market. Specifically, they designed Samarium Wars for Windows Phone 7. A top-down space shooter, Samarium Wars was relatively small in scale. Following a successful 2010 launch, the team started to think bigger. Aiming for a downloadable PC title, the crew started up on A Walk in the Dark.
A Walk in the Dark tells the story of Arielle and her cat, Bast. The precocious cat soon runs off into the forest and loses his owner. Bast runs back upon hearing Arielle call out for him, but a mysterious spirit soon abducts Arielle further into the forest. Hoping to reunite with his owner, Bast begins a treacherous journey.
Silva notes that A Walk in the Dark began as a weekend prototype that quickly grew into a full-scale project. The game’s shadowy art style, free running gameplay, and intense difficulty were inspired by several different sources. “Visually, we were inspired by the film noir style and by games like Limbo and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet,” said Silva. “Gameplay-wise we are inspired by N+ and Super Meat Boy, but we wanted to twist the rules a bit and decided to play with gravity.”
Playing with gravity, in fact, is one of the core mechanics that players can expect to see in A Walk in the Dark. It’s an aspect of the game that Silva hopes players will find simple to use. “The cat himself has very few mechanics,” explains Silva. “But we explore three different ways to invert gravity. Some will be familiar to those who played VVVVVV, some will be new. We wanted to keep the control system simple and instead give depth to the levels. We polished the controls so you won’t feel that the game is limiting you, so that you can be as agile as a cat. This means that we can increase the challenge and create some really interesting situations.”
While A Walk in the Dark has been in development for over a year, the game’s soundtrack has been completed. Cody Cook, a composer from Austin, TX, has wrapped up ten tracks for the games, filled with melancholic piano melodies. Silva reveals that the delays in development led to the soundtrack being released early, before praising Cook’s musical style. “When we were developing the game visuals and ambiance, we felt the need for some cinematic music,” said Silva. “We found Cody’s website and his music felt like a perfect match. The music is really important in setting the mood. Combined with the visuals, I think it brings a really unique experience.”
A Walk in the Dark represents a major transition for Flying Turtle Software. Silva cites many differences between PC development and mobile development, with the biggest differences being the size, scope, and amount of content that goes into a PC title. Conviction counts when making the jump to PC, according to Silva. “Developing a bigger game means that you have to really believe in it, since you will spend a lot of time developing it. After more than a year of developing, we know all the features and the bugs by heart, but we keep going.”
Flying Turtle Software wasn’t ready to disclose a release date for A Walk in the Dark, but Silva notes that after more than a year of development, the big day is inching closer. Look for it to hit PC soon. In the meantime, check out composer Cody Cook’s soundtrack for the game on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, and Rhapsody.
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