2017 IGF Interviews: Old Man’s Journey

 

Nominee | Excellence in Visual Art

Feliv Bohatsch is a co-founder of Broken Rules.

Each year at GDC, MFA students from the NYU Game Center interview the Independent Games Festival nominees, asking them three questions about their development process. In addition to this interview, you can read all the insightful interviews from 2017 here. These conversations, and much more, will happen when the Game Center returns to GDC in 2018. Learn more about the Game Center at GDC 2017.

Mary Kenney: What main concept, image or question began this project?

Feliv Bohatsch: It began as a gameplay idea. We were brainstorming a mobile premium game, and we saw a picture of fading hills. That’s when it clicked. We thought, it’d be nice if you were the one shaping those hills, not just watching or walking over them. We wanted to explore the ideas of wanderlust and an ache for something in the distance. Our character wants to be in the distance, which forms our narrative. He’s on a journey that’s extremely important to him.

As the player travels this journey, they learn the old man’s story. We learn how he’s tried to balance personal fulfillment with his family life. This was a very personal story for us: at Broken Rules, we’ve made four games and eight kids since we began.

Kenney: In the game, you shape the hills?

Bohatsch: Yes, you move them as you travel, forming paths for your journey.

Kenney: Describe a specific experience with another game or media that influenced you as you worked on Old Man’s Journey.

Bohatsch: Monument Valley was an inspiration. We wanted to create an emotional experience more than difficult gameplay. The movie Song of the Sea was an influence. Several mobile games influenced us, as well as Firewatch, for the experience of gameplay.

Kenney: Is there a specific tool or methodology that you feel was important in shaping a unique characteristic of your game?

Bohatsch: Shaping the landscape was our unique gameplay experience. You drag hills as you travel. It’s a 2D game in a 3D space, where you can change the landscape to create your paths.

 

Mary Kenney used to be a journalist, but decided she was better at writing games. Ask her about gamedev, tabletop and owning a dog in New York.