Interviews

This War Of Mine: The Little Ones Q&A

Rating: 5.00/5 (2 Votes)

This War of Mine the critically acclaimed and globally lauded title by 11 Bit Studios has finally made its way to the Xbox One with exclusive content. A war survival game by name but at it's core it is an emotionally driven story told from the perspective of the civilians caught in the middle of a civil war. We were lucky enough to grab 11 Bit Studios for a quick Q&A.

TheAshCohen09: What message were you as a team of developers trying to get across when making the game? What message are you trying to tell the audience?

War can happen anytime, anywhere. And when it happens, it doesn't matter what nationality you are, what religion you believe, what matters is that you're on your own to survive. What do you do save yourself and the ones you want to protect? Also, on a side note, when we were seeing how games are growing up as a storytelling form, we figured out that games can cover all kinds of topic, they don't need to be only about fun and entertainment, they can also tackle serious topics as long as the gameplay is engaging and you know that stories you create are meant for mature gamers. That being said - games form a mature form of art, just as much as movies.

ImmortalTanz: Was it easy going from mobile to console for the game?

Keep in mind the basic version was released on PC, then there was the mobile version. But it wasn't an easy task. It's always a challenge to make controls and everything to work on consoles as fluently as they do on PC. The game needs to work fluently as you engage in it and the control scheme on gamepad has to be natural as you go step by step into the story. So our big goal was to make everything work natural for the console player. I believe we've made it right.

oBIGBASHo: What made you want to use the perspective of a child and what challenges did this present?

That was the last missing puzzle on the board. We wanted to complete the picture of civilians in a city under siege. We had some ideas to add children to the game when making the basic game, but we had to finish that one as it's been designed. We didn't want to deliver an undercooked feature, so we took our time to design all the mechanics behind children properly. The biggest challenge would be to come up with proper design pillars and that was a brilliant job made by Michal (creative director) and Przemek (art director). These guys figured out how to make children appear in the game and still be natural persons, like in reality. Not a burden, not a resource, but just kids. So you need to protect them, take care of them, but they can help you too, they can cheer you up like no one else and if you have a child, then you know they can really make a parent feel better. We wanted to make player feel responsible for kids in natural way, not forced to do so. I'm certain it works well in the game. I mean - you play from a perspective of a parent when controlling adult civilians, and you play from a perspective of a kid when controlling children.

OrgasmWord: How different was it developing a game from the perspective of a child compared from that of an adult?

We had to make it coherent, remember about every single aspect - how the kids move (so we've made a mocap session with children), how they talk, how they react, what they want to do (kids want to have fun no matter what; of course they may go depressed if you don't take care) to stay as close to reality as possible. And remember what we focused most is capturing emotions, so even how the characters move had to be in one line with it.

Steve: You have recently announced that you are using models based on your own children. Why did you decide to do this?

All the characters in the game are based on us so we wanted to make it no different with children. We wanted models to give a natural feel. So we scanned our children, use their photos and their moves during the mocap session to have the most realistic look and behaviour of kids in the game.

Steve: When playing as a child will the game be rebalanced?

You play as entire group. But we didn't have to re-balance. We had to balance new mechanics properly. Like I mentioned - kids look at world with their own eyes and for them what happens to other people in the shelter is very important. They react strongly to it. So the new mechanics required separate balance, rather the re-balancing entire game from the scratch.

Steve: I have read that there is no tutorial when you start the game. This is a bold move. Why did you decide to just drop players into the thick of everything with no instructions?

Because the game is heavily based on reality and staying true to it, we could not make a tutorial. If you got stuck in a war-surrounded city, no one would tell you what to do and how to behave. It's the same in the game - the siege begins and you're on your own. You just have one goal - to survive.

Steve: What kind of research did you carry out and did it affect the way you approached the development if at all?

We were looking for memoirs of people who survived different conflicts but not to find historical backgrounds but to find most emotional stories or examples of events that got stuck in their memories. We wanted to capture a feel of how it is, what's the challenge, what's the hardest moral choice and so on. Of course it affected the development, as our goal was to introduce the same heavy moral decisions and challenges that people actually face when surrounded by war.

Steve: Will the Xbox One version receive all and any updates at the same time as the PC version?

At the moment we're actually working on modding tools for PC so I don't imagine modding tools for consoles, as it's not the platform for such development. But if there's a new content like characters or locations, I think we would deliver that to consoles too.

Steve: What does the future hold for 11 Bit Studios?

We're working on a project under working title Industrial. Our biggest project for sure, and again we're going to mix genres, combine under new ideas and experiment so we want to surprise gaming community again. I'd love this to be 11 bit's trademark. Anyway, for now I can say Industrial will incorporate some of the heavy emotional elements of This War of Mine and some of the fantastic environments too. Stay tuned for the announcement sometime later this year! And remember Industrial is a working title, so we'll announce something new!

Many thanks to 11 Bit Studios for taking the time to answers our question and look out for our competition to win a download of the game. You can read our review of the game here.

 This War of Mine: The Little Ones is available now for £23.99.

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