Collaborators Part 03: Music

As we were starting to discuss about making a game based on Jonas script we knew that the tone was going to be very different from our previous games – this of course had to be reflected in the music as well. The conclusion we came to was to let Simon’s music take a step to the side and see what someone outside Simogo could bring to this project.

Our thoughts turned immediately to a good and very talented friend of ours.

We are delighted to introduce you to Daniel Olsén, who is making the music for this project. We are equally delighted to bring you a short music preview from the Year Walk soundtrack. Enjoy!

Daniel’s Studio

Hello there.

I am the music man for this project.

Simogo and I are no strangers. We worked together at Southend Interactive a few years ago, most notably on a game called ilomilo. I have since moved to California, which is very nice, but that made me leave my job in games and pursue other fields. I have worked on fun projects with different companies here, but sometimes I still miss the days as a game developer and music composer. So when Simogo asked me to write the music for this title I was very happy.

This project is quite a departure from the previous project we worked on together, ilomilo, but I embrace it as a challenge. I believe that for every new genre of music I try, I become better at music in general.

I worked closely with Simon and Gordon to have the music and sounds weave together so it is sometimes hard to know what is what. It was also a challenge to not make the music too scary or dark, but rather create something that might feel warm but maybe also a bit unsettling.

I think the feeling we are capturing in Year Walk is turning out quite unique.

And that about wraps it up for this little mini blog post series… But stay tuned because when it comes to collaborations we might just have a little thing more on the way – something that we know that you will love.

Collaborators Part 02: Research

Early on in the Year Walk project we realized that if we wanted everything to feel right, we needed to do some proper research – about the way people lived in the late 19th century in south of Sweden, but mainly about all the folk lore, myths and creatures. Luckily enough, our story writer Jonas Tarestad introduced us to Theodor Almsten whose great research made all of this possible.

Take it away, Almsten!

One of the few sources of information left, the booklet EN JULGÅNG/Sanderyd/HUR DET GICK TILL ATT GÅ ÅRSGÅNG/Urshult/FOLKLEKAR/Valö, Resl./

My name is Theodor Almsten and I am an associate professor in anthropology. I have spent the last eight years researching folklore. I am honored that Simogo has chosen to use my expertise concerning Swedish folklore in general and the phenomena of year walk in particular. Perhaps in the future there will be more collaboration between the academic field and the game industry.

My work on the game has been limited but very interesting. Jonas Tarestad, who is an old pupil of mine, approached me when he had a list of questions for his film script…and it was a long list! You would think he never took my class at all. In the end it was deemed for the best that I should act as an expert so that no detail, no matter how small or insignificant, would be forgotten or incorrect. That is also a demand from my side since I do want people to be educated as well as entertained.

I hope you all will enjoy the game and that it will raise interest to the fascinating world of folk lore.

Collaborators Part 01: Story

We’re ready to start talking about who we are making Year Walk with, and of course we want you to get to know them. So in this three part blog post series we will let them introduce themselves.

As we have hinted at, the story and this whole project came to be in a quite unusual way. This game started with a strange little movie script. So we thought it would be fitting to start off these posts with an introduction by the man who it all started with. Ladies and Gentlehorses: Meet Jonas Tarestad – the man behind the story of Year Walk!

the script that started it all

Greetings Simogians!
I come in peace. I am one of the mysterious collaborators: A scriptwriter named Jonas Tarestad. And this is my story:
Back in December 2011 I felt like writing a short movie script in Swedish. I knew it had to contain snow, folklore and some darkness. When the script was done, I thought it was good but I did not really know what to do with it. Its length was awkward and it would be expensive to shoot. In January I showed it to my good friend Simon who said that it would make a good game and there we are. I am pretty sure it is the first time a handheld adventure game in English is based on an unfilmed short film script written in Swedish. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Besides having written the original script I assist Simon in adapting the story for the small screen. I am the text guy.

This is the first time I work on a videogame but I have played games since the late 80’s. Especially ones involving pirates.

The Strange Phenomena of Year Walking

It’s time to reveal one more of our dirty little secrets – Maybe the biggest one yet!
We’ve been asked a lot about what the word Year Walk actually means. So here we go; a short summary of the strange phenomena of year walking.

Årsgång, or Year Walk as we quite literally have chosen to translate it, is an ancient Swedish custom on which our fourth game is based. Its purpose was to see what would happen the following year. The folklore surrounding the phenomena varies widely regionally.

Typically a year walk had to be done on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, during the night.
Almost all variations involve having to spend a full day inside a dark room. One was not allowed to talk to anyone or have anything to eat or drink. At the stroke of midnight one should head for church. This was not an easy task as strange and dangerous creatures roamed the night. These creatures would of course include a lot of the mythical creatures from the Scandinavian folk lore.

If the walker reached the church alive, he had to walk around it in a specific pattern (again, these patterns differ widely) and the future would be revealed to him. This already unusual practice became very uncommon in the 19th century and vanished completely in the early 20th century.

As you can understand, this game has taken a lot more time in research and story development than we are used to. These two subjects are something that we will tell you more about very soon!

We hope that this has made it all a little more clear to you now – and that you’ll be looking forward to go on our variation of year walk…