From Zumbies to Sentrees: Redefining a Game

It started out as a classic zombie scenario, but now the game Zumbie from Glitchnap has become something completely different. What happened?

Name changes seems to be in vogue in the Danish corner of the Nordic game industry. Only days after Press Play announced that their game had changed its name from Project Totem to Kalimba, Copenhagen-based Glitchnap could also announce to the world that their upcoming game had also had a name change from Zumbie to Sentree.

In Glitchnap’s case however, it was more than just the name that had been changed. With the new name came also a completely new setting for the game, and an announcement regarding a number of new people working on the project.

[early footage]

[early footage]

Wether known as Zumbie or Sentree, the basic promise of the game is the same. It’s a cooperative, physical mobile game for 2 or more players, where one player is the shooter, and can act but not see anything, while his or her’s helpers or spotters can see what’s going on, but cannot do anything about it.

The game takes place in the physical space, with the shooter pointing out in the physical space with his or her phone, rotating and pointing the phone in the right direction, to either shoot attacking zumbies or, as is the case now, scare away aggressive monsters wit a bright flashlight.

screen0
Glitchnap Co-founder Jonatan “Joon” Van Hove
tells Nordic Game Bits that the studio actually never had any great love for the original zombie-scenario, even if it worked well for them when working out the basic mechanics of the game.

“The zombie scenario. It’s pretty simple, none of us were particularly excited to work on a zombie themed game. We’re all very much interested in the experimentation and innovation that’s so alive right now in games, that we felt that we could do better than take the route of least resistance,” he says.

We wanted to create some level of depth, both in the narrative and in the gameplay, and creating a zombie narrative which is deeper than ‘there are zombies, kill them’, was just not something we were interested in.

Sentree3
But it’s not only the theme and name that changed
. Glitchnap also enlisted a number of new people on the team, to help them build the game. “Glitchnap doesn’t have any in-house graphical or sound artists, so we always work with freelancers,” Hove explains. “We see it as a positive thing as it allows us to reconsider our style in service of the game concept and to work with some of the most amazing people we meet in the games scene.”

The people from Glitchnap met their new 2d artist Liselore “Lizzy” Goedhart at the Playful Arts Festival in the Netherlands and their 3d artist Erwin Kho was recommended to them. And the new team also got a new Nordic flavor with the addition of Norwegian audio designer Martin Kvale, who is probably best known for his work on Among the Sleep.

“Martin Kvale was sort of a happy accident,” Hove explains. “He was travelling through Copenhagen, and hung out at our office for a while. After he recorded the sounds for the Antlers of his Nintendo 3DS in our hallway, we immediately knew we struck gold once again.”

Sentree is slated for a 2015 release on iOS. 

Sentree IGF 2014 Trailer [early footage] from Glitchnap on Vimeo.

Jesper K. Kristiansen

Multi-passionate game developer and journalist. Has been writing about the Danish games industry for more than ten years, and creating audio design for both Danish and International games for almost as long.

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