Interview with Exiin, Developer of Ary and the Secret of Seasons
We interviewed Sebastien Le Touze about Exiin’s upcoming game: Ary and the Secret of Seasons. An Action Platformer in which the main character can create spheres that contain one of the four seasons and then uses these to her advantage to traverse the world and fight enemies. They recently showed their game at Gamescom 2017 and received a lot of praise and even the Award for Best Unity Game.
Here’s a small teaser of the game so you can get a feel for this gorgeous game:
How did you decide on the main character? Was it always intended to be a girl?
I wanted to have a girl in it, even though I was warned to be careful as it could be difficult marketing wise. In earlier drafts she looked more feminine with long robes and long hair, but in the end we went with an androgynous look for her as that would make it easier to sell. In the beginning of the game you’ll get to see her in original form though.
Where did the idea for the story* and character come from?
We built the story around the gameplay, not the other way around. We have this seasonal sphere element that’s never been done before and we really wanted this to be the selling point. The Story is just used to drive the exponential increase of Ary’s powers.
*The world of Valdi is divided into four regions, each of these regions has a specific climate relative to one of the four seasons. 1000 years ago, the balance and peace of Valdi was threatened by an evil mage. The mage was eventually defeated by a legendary warrior. The legendary warrior then sealed the mage inside the tomb placed in the very heart of the dome of seasons. To protect this dome, the guardians of seasons were formed. Each guardian owns a medallion that provides them with the power to control one season.
For generations, the guardians passed their knowledge from father to son. Unfortunately, a tragic accident took the life of the son of the current guardian of winter. Ary, the younger daughter taking her dead brother’s place, finds herself propelled in an adventure that she would never have imagined. For the first time in centuries, a girl has become the new guardian of winter.
How much of a focus is there on combat? Is it as important as the other element like puzzle solving and exploration?
Yes, it’s still important to the game although we are not yet 100% satisfied with how it plays at the moment. The game will use all 3 methods of gameplay equilly, all involving the seasonal spheres. How you use the spheres will also determine how much of a challenge the enemies pose, as the goblins for example might be “paralyzed” by overheating in summer with their thick coats on (until you knock their clothes of at least) and then you’d have to switch to a winter-sphere to have them paralyzed by the cold (when they aren’t clothed).*
*I’ve seen this in action and it’s an interesting approach. Though the Goblin creatures in question will not be in the final game.
How long will it take to beat Ary and the Secret of Seasons?
We’re aiming at a 10 to 15 hour core experience. But it will depend on how much of a completionist you are: we will have many hidden chests that you can only reach if you solve puzzles or use your spheres wisely during platforming. The demo we have now only takes me about 10-20 minutes but I saw people playing it for more than half an hour so it also depends on your playstyle. The first part of the game will mostly be story-driven as Ary needs to acquire all her powers then it opens up to allow more exploration.
Do you see Ary as a potential series or is it a one-of game?
It’s always been planned as a series. And it’s an interesting time to start with a new series as we’re currently seeing a trend of Publishers looking for new IPs to replace their existing ones. The ones that are known in the market are getting stale and after having so many sequels it’s time for a breath of fresh air in the gaming world. As for the next installments, we already have 3 other drafts in the works for a possible sequel or prequel. One will likely be about an older Ary, when she’s 18 and another could be about when she’s like 6 years old and it’s her brother who has the seasonal power of winter only.
So much for part one of our interview where we talked about the game itself, in the next part we’ll speak more about the development, possible platforms and marketing.