New mystery game Skyld from Danish developer Bubblerap Productions deals with the heavy theme of suicide. We had a talk with the producer about dealing with mature themes in interactive fiction.
“We want to help push the boundaries of what games can become.” Adonis Flokiou, producer at Bubblerap Games explains. “In Denmark we are constantly butt-hurt about all the money that are given to movies compared to games.” he says, “But maybe there is something to it, due to the rather juvenlie themes that are constantly being reused in games.”
Since the birth of videogames in the late 70s, the narrative seems to have taken a backseat to gameplay. There have been a lot of examples of experimentation throughout the years, but in mainstream gaming, heavy themes have generally been reserved for movies and literature.
“The industry focuses too much on tech-innovation rather than thinking about what we have at our hands, which is probably one of the most immersive storytelling mediums” Adonis Flokiou says, “we wanted to push the boundaries for game storytelling and tackle a difficult theme, such as suicide.” .
Skyld is an explorative first person adventure game with elements of horror, in the same vein as Gone Home and Dear Esther. The game deals with guilt and takes place on the day of the main characters fathers suicide.
Adonis Flokiou explains:
“We want to put our players in a emotional state rather than anything else and we believe that the best way to do so is by slowing down the gameplay actions.”, he continues to elaborate: “The interactive narrative can facilitate this more than any other game genre. We are basically giving the player time to contemplate upon his actions while playing rather than mastering a mechanic.”.
Adonis believes that we will continue to see games with a focus on mature themes which mixes a variety of game genres.
“We will probably see many similar games such as ours or hybrids that are mixing different game genres,” he says, “But i think that we are seeing a new period of games, that focus on realistic themes. People will eventually get bored with T-Rex driven tanks fighting in space and seek towards the realistic theme.”
“Hopefully we can help the medium grow and get accepted on the same terms such as movies” Adonis Flokiou concludes.