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Posted by Caitlyn Muncy on Mar 1, 2012

Interview With The Journey Down Co-Creator Theodor Waern

In the flurry of finishing up The Journey Down: Over The Edge, I managed to get a hold of Theodor Waern of Skygoblin for an interview. The game still won’t be coming out for about a month or two, but at least we know it’s on the tail end of things. It’s been awesome to watch this game progress over time, and I’m sure the developers will be happy to see the game in its final form.

GamerFront: What inspired you to make this game?

Theodor Waern: There’s no denying that the so called “golden era of point n click” have influenced me quite a lot, but most importantly for my drive to pull this through, has in fact been my will to expand my drawings and characters to something more than just still pictures on the screen. As an artist, seeing my environments and stories come to life in this interactive storytelling way, is an amazing thing.

GF: Why use African themes?

TW: I grew up in a home surrounded by African art and music, my parents have always had a fascination with African culture, and me being brought up in that environment, has definitely bonded me to these forms of art. Also, it’s a culture that is extremely poorly represented in games, I saw this as a good opportunity to try and give it some exposure, and also a good opportunity for me to explore those arts, personally.

GF: What would you say was/is the hardest part of putting The Journey Down together?

TW: Well, the game started out as a hobby project, and was one for nearly five years. The difficult part of this was definitely staying focused and interested. Starting a brand new project in the middle of this one was very, very tempting (and I have in fact started a couple of them during this period) But fortunately I let none of these come before TJD.

On the actual production side of things I wouldn’t say there have been any specific hurdles that were excessively difficult, but some of them were indeed a lot more time consuming than I would have wished. For one thing I had viciously under estimated the amount of work required on character animation. And frankly I’m still not really happy with the animation in my original freeware version of the game. Fortunately we’ve now got Henrik, a real animator on the case. With him on board, all animations are looking gorgeous.

GF: Why did you choose to use voice actors instead of text dialogue?

TW: The voice acting adds a ton of ambiance and really goes a long way in further immersing the player in the story. Fortunately we are blessed with an incredibly talented and fitting voice cast that do a great job enhancing the experience. Now that I’ve played the game with speech, I’d never have it any other way.

GF: How many hours of work would you say have gone in to this game as it stands currently?

TW: Wow. There is no way to estimate this and I’m not sure brooding on it will make anyone any wiser. It is safe to say though that all my free time the past five years, and pretty much all my (and my three colleagues’) work time the past year, have all gone into this production. Not sure how much that adds up to, but it’s a lot of time. Lots of the time has been spent on the following chapters though, so not all of this time has gone into producing chapter one.

GF: How much more work is left before its complete?

TW: We’ve pretty much wrapped up chapter one. There’s still quite a lot of nitpicking and polish left and we are still missing a couple major cinematics, but apart from that and some minor technical snags, we are basically done. On the whole four chapters however, there is A LOT of work left to be done. The whole story and large parts of the script have been written, most locations and characters have been sketched out, and the basics of all puzzles have also been designed. But none of the content has actually started being produced. That’s what takes time.

GF: Is the story going to leave us wanting sequels?

TW: Definitely, in a good way though.

GF: When can we expect an official release date?

TW: We hope to have the game launched on PC and Mac some time during April, and we hope to see our iOS and android ports go live some time during summer. When the actual individual releases take place is actually more up to our digital distribution partners than to our own production though.

If you want to keep up with the development of The Journey Down, head over the to Dev Blog to keep track of things.

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