We know it took a little while. But now we’re on instagagaramalama. Follow us for a a more casual look of work and life at Simogo:
First of all: We’d like to make clear that this is not a project we’re developing at the moment.
After finishing Beat Sneak Bandit back in 2012, we began to work on two prototypes. One would eventually become the game Year Walk, while the other one never got past the prototype stage.
At the time, we were keen on doing something for the 3DS, so we decided to spend some time on concepting ideas with the hardware features in mind. Throughout a week or so, we went through ideas called The Great Ziorawski Acrobats, Common Sense Police, My Triangle Friend, Observe Agents, Inverto Maze – but only one would leave the idea stage and become a playable PC prototype.
It was called Rollovski. A stealth game about a small limbless round detective, who must infiltrate a strange hotel with only circular rooms. As you can probably tell, it shares a lot of ideas with Beat Sneak Bandit, and we actually did imagine that this game took place in the same universe. It also shares one of its main ideas with Bumpy Road, as you don’t directly control the actual character, but rather the environments. The concept focused on two features of the 3DS: the circle pad and the stereoscopic screen.
Basically, we imagined a game where circle pad being directly connected to a flat surface displayed on the 3D screen, so that they would “physically” move around, 1:1 to your thumb movements. We came up with the idea of having several surfaces layered in 3D, and having a ball rolling between them. The ball eventually became a round little detective and so Rollovski was born!
We’ve been talking about this project for some years now, and it’s been so long that we think it would be a shame to just let it stay in the archives. So, we’ve decided to share the playable prototype for PC and Mac with you. Keep in mind that this prototype was created in under two weeks, so it’s very basic and just presents the core concepts of the game. We have also uploaded an early concept PDF, which presents the project a little more in detail.
The prototype has support for XBOX 360 controllers (you can download unofficial drivers for mac here), but is playable with the arrow keys and space on a keyboard too (although it’s not as good!). Although it doesn’t have sound effects, please make sure you’ve turned your volume up – the prototype features a really fun tune by Daniel Olsén (who you know from Year Walk and DEVICE 6, of course!). We present it as we left it, without any changes or polishing.
This prototype was only created for PC and Mac, and was never playable on actual 3DS hardware – that said, we did produce to 3D screens of the game to get a feel for how it would look in 3D. You can pop those on your 3DS’ SD card or look at them in your browser.
So! Without further ado: ladies and gentlemen, start your downloads:
We’re off for a little break, but before we leave the office, we think it’s appropriate to sit back with a glass of glögg, summarise the year … and look into the future too, perhaps.
Our first real non-interactive project! It was made together with Simogo Troubadour Extraordinaire Jonathan Eng and the awesome Christopher Sabat and his crew at Okratron 5000. And, it featured wonderful hand-painted cover art by the ever amazing Johanna Meijer!
A dream came true: We released a game on a Nintendo console! And it allowed us to work with the amazing Dakko Dakko in Wales, and the lovely Nintendo team in Kyoto. And for the first time, people could now play the game in all the big European languages, as well as Japanese in “Year Walk 最後の啓示”, the version published by Nintendo in Japan.
Oh, and we also rebuilt our studio during one day to create the weird home-made trailer, featuring a real brook horse, playing Wii U.
We once again teamed up with Year Walk writer Jonas Tarestad to create what we thought would be a tiny bonus to celebrate the release of Year Walk for Wii U, but grew into a 16-page story collection with lovely illustrations by Johanna Meijer.
We were going to have some vacation, but had this little great seed to a puzzle that we simply could not resist to try out … We had been talking about this idea for maybe a year or so, and finally found a few days between projects to start trying out some rule-sets. And when things finally got going, we just couldn’t stop, so we decided to just roll with it (as we do), finish and release it. And so we did!
Other things that happened
• We stopped working on a project that was quite far along in February. It was very playable and had most of its systems up and running. It was all was about typewriters and pulp literature, but even though it was a ton of fun to play, we ended up putting it on hold because it didn’t feel different enough to our previous works.
• Satoru Iwata passed away, and we created a tiny game to thank him for everything.
• To celebrate the 5 year anniversary of our first game, we decided to go against trends and raise the price.
• A man travelled to every destination of The Sailor’s Dream and wrote a 20-page travel log. Wow.
… Aaaaand probably even more things we forgot.
So, 2015 has been a very busy year, with lots of smaller projects. It also marked the first year were we truly dipped our feet into non-interactive works. Next year will be all about a grand thing (which we have actually been working on for quite some time already). It will combine our love for both interactive and non-interactive media in one piece, and will let us collaborate with some good old friends, as well as some new.
/Simon & Gordon
We know we’ve been awfully quiet. We’re working on a the next thing, but in the meantime, we have some very awesome news that we have been wanting to share for a while:
Nintendo is bringing Year Walk for Wii U to Japan!
In Japan the game will be known as Year Walk 最後の啓示 (Year Walk – Saigo No Keiji) which roughly translates to “Year Walk – The Final Revelation” (We’re completely in love with the sneaky little bird in the Japanese logo!).
Year Walk 最後の啓示 was revealed during the Japanese Nintendo Direct stream earlier, and is available RIGHT NOW. We’re very excited about Japanese Wii U owners being able to join players in Europe, America and Australia to enjoy the best version of Year Walk in their own language – with an awesome localisation by Nintendo! We had a great time working with the team in Japan.
And there’s one more neat surprise to this as well: Be sure to check out the official Japanese site, where you will find Bedtime Stories For Awful Children translated to Japanese.
So, with this final version of Year Walk, created in Malmö, Wales and Kyoto, we finally close the book on the story known as Year Walk.
New adventures! 行きましょう!!
We always want to surprise and do the unexpected. So, we’re trying something new today.
Our new game is called SPL-T. It’s a minimalistic, thoughtful puzzle about division for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. And it’s available RIGHT NOW!
We know that it doesn’t look like much. We’re not trying to sell you this thing with promises of rewards, stories or grand art. We designed SPL-T to be a puzzle that would last forever, and never go out of style. Something you will always be able to pick up and play. Something you’d always get just a tiny bit better at. Something that would be fun to find and try out new strategies in.
We wanted to make the most pure puzzle we could make, and not put any distractions between YOU and SPL-T. No candy. No online. No ads, or menus popping up to ask you to review it, or buttons asking you to share your score. Just all play. Like in the good old days.
In many ways SPL-T is one of the most “purposeful” games we’ve made. Every tiny decision has had long discussions. We’ve weighed arguments against each other. We’ve put in and out features. Tested what feels like one million rules. A simple thing like removing the restart feature might seem like a miss – but it’s deliberately not there, because we want every round of SPL-T to count. We want you to get better at it and get a deeper understanding for it every time you play it. We don’t want you to look at online leaderboards at pointless numbers. We want you to talk to friends playing SPL-T, and we hope it will invite you to talk about strategies together.
We hope you will like it and play it as much as we do.
The wait is over! Year Walk is now out on Wii U. So boot up your systems and head to the eShop and download right now!
We are incredibly proud of this version of the game and very happy to have a game on a Nintendo system – We don’t think our NES-playing selves back in the 1980s could have ever imagined that!
We hope you will love it like we do. And that you will notice all the hard work we have put in the make this the ultimate version of the game. We can’t wait to check out the Miiverse community tonight!
And so the long walk is at its end, and we can close the book of Year Walk and start looking ahead.
Earlier this year, we decided that we wanted to celebrate the upcoming release of Year Walk for Wii U in a special way. We had been talking to Jonas, writer on Year Walk, for a while about doing something Year Walk-related, which wasn’t a game. Naturally, the idea of doing a collection of new folk tales came up quickly.
So, inspired by the stories told in the past in our cold side of the world, and the grim cautionary storybook Der Struwwelpeter, we give you Year Walk Bedtime Stories for Awful Children. In this collection of stories designed to haunt both children and their parents, we have revisited all the creatures from Year Walk and given them one story each, with wonderful illustrations by Johanna Meijer.
Because we think obnoxious children all over the world deserve dark nightmares, we have translated these five gruesome stories into English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. Head over to the site to download the collection for FREE right now:
Five newly written ancient folk tales from the dark woods of Sweden. A free illustrated E-book with grim new stories from the horrific world of Year Walk. Translated to English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. Sweet nightmares!
Ladies, gentlemen and dressed up creatures of the dark cold woods – we have some exciting, lovely and horrifying news for you: The definite and best version of Year Walk arrives on Wii U September 17 2015.
From a tiny ball bouncing action game to a fragmented bitter sweet ocean narrative with folk songs, radio monologues and printable pencil art in five years.
It’s been a wonderful, wild and fairly bananas ride.
Thanks for taking it with us.
Simon & Gordon