nearly Toronto-based Ravenlok developer on the workforce’s development and shaking issues up with every sport will cowl the most recent and most present help all over the world. open slowly appropriately you comprehend skillfully and accurately. will accrual your data easily and reliably


Toronto-based Cococucumber is a reasonably prolific impartial sport developer.

Within the span of eight years, he is created 4 remarkably completely different titles: 2013’s whack-a-mole expertise loopy bunny, the platform sport of 2015 eye planetthe 2017 dungeon crawler sport with co-op help Riverbond and the retro-inspired turn-based RPG of 2019 Echo Era. And for his subsequent trick, Cococucumber is able to roll ravenlocka fantasy motion RPG, in 2023. It is an impressively various portfolio, particularly for a small workforce, and a key motive for that success comes right down to Vanessa Chia, studio co-founder, director, and producer.

chatting with cellular syrup Over e-mail, Chia says that Cococucumber has been a good way to mix her design background with the inspiration she present in all of the indie video games that began popping out within the early 2010s.

“I fell in love with the immersion you get from getting misplaced in a sport and all the brand new artistic avenues that had been being explored,” he explains. “One thing in regards to the long-form nature of video games appeals to me: It leaves extra room for issues to breathe and discover concepts in additional depth.”

4 video games and eight years later, Cococucumber is approaching its tenth anniversary in 2024, which Chia says is “thoughts blowing.” Reflecting on all this, she acknowledges that the studio initially didn’t anticipate to attain such a constant consequence.

“Coming from a artistic background, it’s understood that creating imaginative worlds takes time. It requires loads of persistence and loads of belief within the course of. So as to do all of the artistic stuff successfully, there’s the executive and organizational aspect that should occur, which for me has been an enormous studying curve,” he says.

“With every sport, we prefer to experiment with a number of issues and provides ourselves new artistic challenges. Whereas not all the things went as anticipated, it is vital to have the ability to change and adapt to maintain issues fascinating and improve our possibilities of success in an business constructed on successes.”

He additionally provides a “large message” to Martin Gauvreau, his co-founder and co-director of Cococucumber. “He is accountable for so many concepts which can be difficult, however in a great way.”

Clearly, it has been working. Every of the studio’s video games has garnered constructive reception, with echo technologynotably, it was honored a number of instances on the Canadian Sport Awards and Canadian Indie Sport Awards earlier this yr and even obtained a number of accolades from each Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer and Sarah Bond, Xbox Corporate Vice President.

When requested in regards to the workforce’s response to all this reward for echo technologyspecifically, Chia responds with deep gratitude, noting that it is “very helpful to the workforce and means lots after we’re engaged on one thing for years to attach with gamers” after launch.

“If you consider the overall tone for echo technology — it is an journey sport with turn-based fight and a retro journey sport vibe — it might sound area of interest, so we’re stunned by its success and actually recognize all of the love.”

In fact, it isn’t on daily basis that Xbox brass highlights your sport by identify, and Chia says it gave the workforce “an unbelievable enhance” in morale. “In an odd means, he made us see the work we did in echo technology in one other mild Whereas it is thrilling and validating, on the identical time we’re feeling the strain of expectations now, which we hope to satisfy. ravenlock.”

Alice in Wonderland satisfies made to vanish

Cococucumber introduced for the primary time ravenlock earlier this summer season in the course of the Xbox & Bethesda Video games Showcase and, consistent with the flexibility of the workforce, it appears fairly completely different from earlier works. Within the sport, gamers tackle the position of the eponymous teenager who falls via a magical mirror right into a unbelievable however corrupted land, which she should free from the evil Caterpillar Queen.

Along with the style change to action-RPG, ravenlockThe premise of is sort of completely different from earlier Cococucumber titles. Climate echo technology it had supernatural parts, it was rooted in a small city; to assume Unusual issues with a fictional Canadian setting. ravenlock, nevertheless, takes the other method and takes a traditional lady right into a surreal world. In response to Chia, the idea of the brand new sport went via “many, many iterations”, with the present model being “closest to the unique tone”, to create “a film”.Alice in Wonderland satisfies made to vanish‘sport with real-time fight’.

Chia says the workforce “wished to make an motion RPG as a result of it builds on among the issues we labored on with turn-based fight in echo technology.” she provides that by Riverbond Dungeon crawl and arcade gadgets may also seem in ravenlockalbeit with an “added complexity” because of the new third-person perspective.

Within the authentic Xbox Wire announcement submit for ravenlockChia additionally mentioned that the sport is a “heartwarming” story “of empowerment, overcoming challenges, and studying the arrogance to stroll your personal future.” When she is requested to elucidate, Chia factors out that the sport’s coming-of-age story touches the workforce very carefully.

“One of many narrative objectives in ravenlock is to inform a narrative like Alice in Wonderland however the place the feminine lead just isn’t a passive character”, he explains. “She goes via an emotional arc to turn into stronger in a coming-of-age story, as our protagonist is younger, round 15 years outdated. Nearly all of our present workforce identifies as feminine, so their story and the message of the sport are vital to us, however extraordinarily tough to get proper.”

Our younger heroine finds herself in an odd and overseas land.

ravenlockThe narrative of Chia and the workforce resonates much more because of the background of the titular character.

“Whereas not specific, our protagonist comes from an Asian household, reflecting the background of many on our workforce. You would say we put loads of ourselves into these characters, and it is one thing we encourage the workforce to do,” he says. “Personally, the theme of house, what’s house or the thought of ​​coming house, is one thing that resonates with me and a theme that I hope to discover in ravenlock.”

In fact, the workforce additionally checked out “many” different works of fiction. “We reference traditional fairy tales like Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, The Neverending Story Y over the backyard wall,” she says. “For the story, we check out the Chronicles of Narnia Y The Wizard of Oz. The works of Studio Ghibli are an excellent inspiration, particularly made to vanish Y My neighbor Totoro.

Creating the look of ravenlock

What ravenlock Nonetheless, clearly what it has essentially the most in widespread with Cococucumber’s earlier works is its inventive fashion. Particularly, it is the ultimate entry in what the studio calls its “Voxel Trilogy,” which incorporates Riverbond Y echo technology. Chia likes this artwork fashion, which “has its allure: it is retro and nostalgic,” she says. “Voxel artwork has its roots in pixel artwork taken to a 3D dimension. It has its quirks, like the way in which sure characters can appear very loud because of the blocky form of the asset. However I discover that there’s a lot of potential on this artwork fashion and I’m impressed by it.”

Having three video games in a row which have comparable aesthetics additionally helps illustrate how a lot Cococucumber has grown over time.

Riverbond, the primary sport in Cococucumber’s “Voxel Trilogy”.

“In case you evaluate the voxel-ness of Riverbond, echo technology Y ravenlock, there’s a gradual development in direction of extra stylized realism with 3D pixel textures,” says Chia. “The fashions are progressively extra complicated with larger decision. Some individuals might discover this voxel artwork fashion a bit unusual or exhausting to get used to, however we’re not voxel purists, this artwork fashion is supposed to be an expression of how we evolve via our video games. It additionally retains issues contemporary for us and works splendidly properly within the the wrong way up world of ravenlock.”

One other merchandise that ravenlock has in widespread with echo technology is his distinctive and various boss design. In echo technologyYou would be preventing a bunch of raccoons or secret brokers in your neighborhood one minute after which venturing out and dealing with an enormous robotic or horrible ghost the following. That set of enemies appears to have moved to ravenlockwhich, as seen within the reveal trailer, options the likes of a tall, sickly fungal creature, a winged automaton, and the aforementioned terrifying royal caterpillar.

Chia says the workforce’s purpose with the bosses is to make them “dramatic and rewarding,” which requires “extra time and iteration” than among the different design parts.

ravenlock "weeping mushrooms" boss

Ravenlok’s “Weeping Mushrooms” boss.

“When it comes to course of, we begin with a basic dialogue about who they’re and what they need. We glance up references, then after we discover a path, it goes via modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, implementation, playtesting, and tweaking,” he says. “There have been fairly a number of bosses in echo technology Y ravenlock which have had an replace the place we added extra particulars to the mannequin and textures. This tends to occur largely after we’re close to the top of manufacturing if we discover a while and wish the bosses to look extra terrifying or imposing.”

All in all, ravenlock is shaping as much as be one other charming and compelling RPG from Cococucumber. However earlier than ending, there was one query left to ask Chia: ravenlock have any of the Canadian Easter eggs and touchstones they helped make echo technology such a delight?

“The true world house of ravenlock is ready in an unspecified location in rural Canada, does that depend? Chia sheepishly replies. “As for an Easter egg, I am going to say Bob the Frog [who was in Riverbond and Echo Generation] it’s going to most likely reappear. As for extra, you will need to play the sport to search out out!


This interview has been edited for language and readability.

ravenlock Will probably be launched on Xbox consoles and PC in early 2023. It is going to even be accessible on Xbox Sport Cross from day one.

Picture Credit score: Coconut Cucumber


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Toronto-based Ravenlok developer on the team’s growth and shaking things up with each game

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