Strayed Lights is right around the corner. The game is an atmospheric action adventure with fluid combat and an intricate world imbued with mystery. Set to release on April 25, we previewed the game and were left with a great impression. We here at Lords of Gaming had the opportunity to sit down with the CEO of Ember Games Studio, Damien Dessagne, and discuss everything related to Strayed Lights.
LOGNET: For those who are not familiar with Strayed Lights, can you give us an overview of what the game is and some of its prominent features?
DD: Strayed Lights is an atmospheric action-adventure game that boasts fluid combat and a mysterious, intricate world. The player takes on the role of a tiny, growing light seeking transcendence, exploring a land of otherworldly ruins and rampant nature, and will face entities of flickering lights and luminescent shadows, creating a visually stunning and immersive experience.
LOGNET: Ori and the Blind was regularly referenced when it comes to your game, how do you feel about that? What were some of the inspirations behind Strayed Lights?
DD: It’s an honor but Ori was not an inspiration; the colorimetry comes mainly from the gameplay requiring to be constantly readable. The main references were the games made by the Team ICO, the Huang Mountains, and the cryptic aesthetics of Soul Reaver.
LOGNET: Did Strayed Lights use a proprietary engine? Or did you rely on existing engines like Unreal Engine or Unity?
DD: Strayed Lights was developed using the Unreal Engine. It is known for its versatility and power, allowing developers to create games for a variety of platforms, including PC, and consoles. It provides a wide range of tools and resources that help streamline the game development process.
The use of Unreal Engine in Strayed Lights broadly contributed to the game’s overall quality and polish. By relying on an established engine that provides a range of powerful tools and resources, we were able to focus on creating a unique world and an engaging combat system without worrying too much about the technical details of game development.
LOGNET: Strayed Lights has a very distinctive art style that is going for an atmospheric vibe, what was the thought process and influences behind the art styles you chose?
DD: It comes from making the gameplay readable in any situation, so we decided to use as much as possible the contrasts of colors, scales, and levels of detail, to make the color of the hero and that of his opponent readable.
LOGNET: Game development is a complicated process from start to finish. What are some of the challenges faced when developing the game?
DD: We faced two main challenges during the production of Strayed Lights. The first one was to create an engaging and intuitive combat system with the atypical approach of having parry and color shifting mechanics at its core. We had to find the balance and the right systems to allow you to feel proactive and to be forgiving enough to have fights that are easy to learn but hard to master.
The second challenge was about the positioning of the game, as challenging combat and contemplative gameplay both strike close to our heart. We shifted more towards action during production to flesh out the fluid combat experience, adding progression and monsters to fight while using the contemplative aspects for immersion.
LOGNET: What was the process like designing the impressive combat system? What were some of the influences behind the game’s combat?
DD: By taking inspiration from games like Ikaruga and Sekiro, we created a combat system that is engaging, challenging, and innovative. The result is a game that is both fun to play and rewarding to master. To allow this we went through a lot of experimentation with early prototypes and sessions of playtest. We did our best to listen to feedback and tailor the combat experience to have the flow of parries and attacks at its core and make it as intuitive as possible.
LOGNET: Although the protagonist is a tiny light that grows throughout the game, it appears that the game appears to have a lot of emotionality behind the characters and story, how is the process of achieving that?
DD: Embodying a tiny light from its birth and through its growth helps us achieve that. You share their first experience and discovery of an unknown world. On top of that, each key character of the story represents a specific emotion or concept, and everything about them supports this, from its design, animations to the music and environment where you meet them.
LOGNET: How do you hope players will react and feel when they try out Strayed Lights this April?
DD: We hope they will love the game we carefully crafted and that they will enjoy the flow of combat we built as much as we do.
PAX East 2023 Strayed Lights Interview
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