In Swedish developer Coldwood’s new puzzle-platformer, a little guy made of yarn tries to tie up loose ends. And that was something the crowd at E3 liked.
One of the more surprising hits at this year’s E3 conference was the presentation of Coldwood’s physics-based puzzle-platformer Unravel. The game’s main character is Yarny, a charming little creature made of, well, yarn, who unravels the farther he gets from things he love, Creative Director at Coldwood, Martin Sahlin says:
“I have always had an idea of yarn being this symbol of the connection between people and wanted to make a game about reaching out and trying to reconnect people. So that’s where I got the idea of making this little character made of yarn that sets out on this big journey to tie up someone’s loose ends ,” he says.
But while the thought of yarn as a symbol has been with Martin Sahlin for a long time, Yarny was actually “born” on a camping trip in the Swedish woods. And the nature around the game’s creators actually inspired them a lot when they created Unravel’s world, Martin Sahlin says:
“We live in this beautiful part of the world, but that’s not something that you see in games. You rarely see reality in that sense. And if you do, it’s probably because you’re about to blow it up, because you’re playing some kind of military shooter,” he says,
“It’s nice to make a game with this tiny, little thing where you can get up close and personal with everything and look at every flower and blade of grass.”
Martin Sahlin’s presentation at E3 was one of the more pleasant surprises at this year’s conference. And for the presenter himself, it was a very emotional moment:
“I looked at the video and I look pretty nervous, but actually I wasn’t, I was just really excited. It was really overwhelming because at first, when you step out on stage, everyone looks at you like ‘who the hell are you’ but then, as you begin to talk, you notice how they start to really listen. It feels really good as a creator to see something that you made really work and resonate with people,” he says.
And resonate it did. People seemed to fall in love with Yarny at first sight, and it didn’t take long for Martin Sahlin and the team at Coldwood to feel the love, he says.
“The feedback was overwhelming, I was stunned. I’ve never ever seen the internet so nice. I got thousands of messages and each one was nicer than the last. It was pretty emotional, you get kind of floored. I knew that it was good, but I didn’t know that people would react quite so strongly as they did. It felt super good.”
While Coldwood are completely in charge of developing Unravel, they have some help from one of the big guys in the business: EA. And that has been an extremely positive experience, Martin Sahlin says:
“They have been hugely supportive. It’s kind of like we have the friendly giant looking out for us. You would assume that a big publisher like that would be kind of a bully, but they’re really not, they’re not interested in telling us what to do, just in what we need to make things even better. It’s a pretty awesome situation to be in as a developer,” he says.
Unravel is coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and the team at Coldwood is hard at work, according to Martin Sahlin. There isn’t a fixed release date yet, but “it’s not far away,” he says.