Series Spotlight: Grim Tales

Posted by Conor Murphy on January 5, 2013 in Game Art, Game Development -- Share:

In today’s Series Spotlight, we let you in on our chat with Elephant Studios, the team that brought you the Surface & Grim Tales game series. We wanted to discuss the roots of the Grim Tales series and hear more about their newest game Grim Tales: The Stone Queen. Have some fun this weekend and give it a try!

How did you come up with the Grim Tales game series?

Grim Tales is a name that was inherited from another project developed by our company. That game was given a new title, and I really liked this one because it suited the concept of the game we were planning to make.

Grim Tales Pool

Please introduce yourself/development team

What can I say about the team? Each and every member is ready to give themselves fully to game development. At the beginning the guys who didn’t have experience in the industry adopted practices from their colleagues working on other projects in the company. With every title their experience and knowledge developed which allowed them to start making more quality games faster. We differentiate ourselves on having  warm and friendly relationships which don’t hinder professionalism and let us work in unity.  

Grim Tales Team

What made you want to be a game developer?

Since childhood I was eager to find out how they make games that so many people find interesting.  While growing up I came across different aspects of game developing (drawing, programming, and creation of 3d-models). Unbeknownst to me, I soon realized my childhood dream was coming true and was quickly on the road of becoming a game developer.

How do you get inspiration for a game?

Inspiration isn’t always so quick to come by. Advice from a colleague might lead you on the right track leading to a great project, or it might also be a movie or a book that spawns inspiration.

Grim Tales Path

How long does it take for you to design a game from start to finish?

Developing a project from start to finish isn’t always following the same time frame. Sometimes writing all the documentation can take about a month, while the process of development is always mated with many fixes. Each game is different.

What are the biggest technical challenges when you develop a game

While creating a project we face many unavoidable circumstances that are hard to predict at the beginning of the project. Might it be the illness of a team member or electricity shutdown, such events make us review the tasks and look for a solution because nothing should stop the project from being released on time.

Grim Tales Snow Trail

What is your favorite game at the moment and why?

My favorite game? If I was to choose from casual titles it would be MCF: Dire Grove without a doubt. It is a great game and I am always amazed by its style and beauty of the art.

Any advice for new developers?

For those who want to develop games I can advise only one thing – don’t be afraid of everything and join Elephant!

What does your development team do that’s different?

The team works as a single body as any other team in our company. With this understanding there is a mutual readiness to help which allows us to reach maximum effect.

Grim Tales Concept

As a developer, after shipping a game, do you enjoy playing it just as much as you enjoyed making it?

When the game is released, it is always a good feeling because the hard work on it is over. However, it’s not deprived of a little anxiety because every person wants their work to get positive feedback. Players’ comments are very important to us, they help us develop further.

Have you ever had to sacrifice a feature you really didn’t want to give up to keep a game in budget or meet a deadline?

It doesn’t usually happen. Everything planned is realized in the project. Sometimes we have to work 20 hours a day without weekends to make sure the game is ready in time, and I’m immensely grateful to my team that they do it for the sake of the projects success. That’s why I really hope the players appreciate the work we are doing for them.

Grim Tales Concept

How many ideas have you had to abandon or drastically change because someone beat you to the punch?

The ideas which are born inside the walls of our company are usually quite unique, and if an idea we want to realize in our project already exists somewhere, we will try to make it much better.

If you could remove one cliché from the Video Game industry, what would it be?

Many people think that games are for children but this notion is beginning to change. No matter the age, people play games and greatly enjoy it.

Grim Tales Hidden Objects

What do you find is the best approach for starting a new project?

The most important part of starting a project is the concept. The backstory and the search of the most successful solutions to deliver the project in the right way are also very important. You shouldn’t start a project before you have decided on all of it.

What do devs think about the people who get mad about a particular aspect of a game, whether it be story, customization, gameplay, etc. Do they take it personally or ignore it?

Every negative comment is hard. Every negative word that makes the game, and its team, look bad goes to our heart. However, the comments have their purpose and are sure to listen to players and try to correct the flaws players find in our games. Such comments are important and really valuable.

Surface 2 Concept

Do developers ever realize that the game they’re making needs a major overhaul? If so, is there a process to improving a game in the latter stages of development?

The release of a game is great responsibility because people will judge the company upon this or that project. That is why we try to release only high quality projects. Reputation can’t be bought, it can only be earned!

Written by

Conor is a Marketing Manager with Big Fish, working out of the Seattle office. In his spare time he enjoys watching science documentaries and playing old school adventure games. Get in touch with him on Twitter! or Google+

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