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“Where is my Heart?” Hits PSN Next Week, Free for PlayStation Plus

Bernie Schulenburg's Avatar + Posted by Bernie Schulenburg on Nov 02, 2011 // Game Designer, Die Gute Fabrik

“In the glade, there grew a tree.
Merry, merry king of the woods was he.
Deep in his heart hid he monsters, three.
Dark secrets had this family.”

Where-is-my-Heart? is the debut game of Die Gute Fabrik.

The idea to make Where-is-my-Heart? finds its origins in a very personal experience I had with my mother and my father three summers ago. It was a sunny day on a weekend and we decided to go for a hike in the woods. The hike went well enough for a while, but after an hour or so we realized that somehow we’d completely lost our bearings. Stuck together and lost in this situation, we came to face each other’s negative personality traits. My father showed his anxiety and became increasingly bossy. While my mother responded to this as she had been doing for the 25 past years of her partnership – she turned to lamenting about her life and her existence. I, for my part, found myself trapped in well-worn patterns of regret, remorse, and disconnectedness. Here were three hurt children-at-heart, unable to understand each other and unable to break out of their predicament.

This game is basically a clumsy attempt to come to an understanding of myself and my family.

In Where-is-my-Heart? you can play the story of a family of monsters. They live comfortably in a tree in the woods until one day they lose their home and thus embark on a great adventure. It will take them down to the mushroom caves, even deeper to the lifeless crystal pools and back up into the mountains, as they try to find their home tree again.

I was interested in expressing the sense of being lost and without orientation via pure game mechanics. The approach I decided for, was to take the regular platform puzzle game and split up the screen into many separate panels (or little windows into the game world, if you prefer). The game then shuffles these panels and places them back into the screen at unnatural positions. Therefore, as a player you don’t know exactly where in the game world your monster is located. The challenge is on you to find your way.

This basic mechanic opened up many possibilities for puzzles. What’s more, even further game mechanics could be harvested from it. One of these is the Spirit-Rotation mechanic. Describing this mechanic is not easy, but I’ll give it a try (see it in the trailer above; it’s easier to understand). There’s a special player-controllable monster in the game called the Rainbow Spirit. It behaves like any little platform creature, being able to walk left and right, jump and fall. But everything changes when you press the shoulder buttons of your PSP or DualShock controller. Pressing L or R will rotate the world panels by a quarter circle. Each frame will end up in a neighbouring quadrant on the screen. If the Spirit is up in the air at the time of rotation it will keep flying, staying put in its quadrant, hovering above the panels that glide on underneath. After you’re done with your rotation, the Spirit drops back into the world. In a way, this mechanic therefore constitutes a non-linear form of travel, which sounds technical and hard to grasp, but basically it really gets your puzzle-brain to call out “yummy!” The rotation is really satisfying to play around with and we took great care and detail to make it feel just right. You’ll love it (I’m almost one hundred percent sure).

Each monster transforms into a super-being with special abilities: Antler Ancestor, the Rainbow Spirit of True Sorrow, and the Bat King. You have to help the monsters orientate themselves and find a way onward. The special abilities of each monster will help you solve unique puzzles: Antler side-steps into the Land of Fireflies where he can walk on the stars. Bat King opens a window to the Land of the Bat, a scary parallel world with secret platforms and hidden passages. The Rainbow Spirit can make the world panels spin round and round.

“Where-is-my-Heart?” is coming to PSN (as a mini, so it’s compatible with PS3 and PSP) on November 22nd for 6.99. It will be free to PlayStation Plus members starting on November 8th.

If you’d like to read more about the design and the development of ‘Where is my Heart?’ you can go to http://bushghost.blogspot.com/. Also, please ask and say if you have questions and comments. Last not least, enjoy the game.

//Add Your Own

26 Comments   5 Replies

1

+ luvtoseek on November 2nd, 2011 at 1:57 pm said:

Thanks for the post Bernie; eager to try this!


2

+ Shinra_Soilder on November 2nd, 2011 at 1:59 pm said:

The gameplay has a unique twist. It looks nice. I’ll be able to try next week and I hope to like it.


3

+ alvarorugam on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:02 pm said:

Hey, How can I get my $10 cash back that you promise after using $60…. I didn’t get and I spent like $65.


4

+ luvtoseek on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:06 pm said:

@ #3, you receive it mid Nov. via msg from your inbox.


5

+ RE_Player on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:07 pm said:

Love the music.


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    + Bernie Schulenburg on November 2nd, 2011 at 4:53 pm said:

    I do too. :) it’s by a guy called Alessandro Coronas. He’ll also be working on our next title “Mutatione”.


6

+ Midgetguy on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:15 pm said:

This game looks awesome! I’m usually not too intrigued by Minis, but I love the story behind this one! It definitely shows in the game too!

The story and the music, and the emotional experience seems very interesting to me! I’m looking very forward to playing this!

It almost reminds me of the Where the Wild Things Are movie! (Which I loved!) It was a very emotional film for me, and it meant a lot personally. If you haven’t seen it, I think you should. While you watch, try to relate the things going on in the movie to the experience you had with your parents in the woods. I have a feeling it will be very meaningful to you.

Anyways, I’m very excited about this game now! Thank you for sharing it with us here on the blog! I’ll definitely play it as soon as it’s released! = )


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    + Bernie Schulenburg on November 2nd, 2011 at 4:59 pm said:

    Yea I heard good things about this movie. I’ll have to check it out for sure. I also really love pretty much all the Miyazaki stuff. Enjoy the game ;)


7

+ JLP_M on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:27 pm said:

This looks like a game I’d gladly pay for, but I have plus


8

+ Zezzler on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:36 pm said:

My God! That looks spectacular! a fantastic art style coupled with interesting gameplay. I wish I could buy this and support the developer, but I am Plus :( I hope this game does well!


9

+ plaztiksyke on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:39 pm said:

Looks really awesome, will definitely be picking this up. I would have preferred a PS3-native version, since then the music could have been higher-quality.

@6, Where the Wild Things Are was a great film. It was quite emotional for me as well.


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    + Bernie Schulenburg on November 2nd, 2011 at 5:04 pm said:

    I think Alessandro Coronas will publish a full game soundtrack for download soon. And it’ll also include some bonus tracks.


10

+ driftersgonewild on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:48 pm said:

This made me say “Aww…how cute!”

(no homo)


11

+ b00kthree on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:48 pm said:

Wow. Das Spiel sieht wirklich toll aus. Ich freue mich auf seine Fertigung. Gut gemacht!

Zum ersten mal kann ich kaum auf einen Mini warten!


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    + Bernie Schulenburg on November 2nd, 2011 at 5:12 pm said:

    Hehe! Danke fürS Supporten – Hoffe dass dir das Spiel gefallen wird. Was völlig andres: freue mich schon, die erste “Komplettlösung” zum Spiel im Netz zu finden. Hihi. (Darauf habe ich mich schon ganz lange gefreut, seit wir angefangen haben an dem Spiel zu arbeiten) . Wenn ich die Erste finde, werde ich mich freuen wie’n Schneekönig. xD


12

+ ZERO_169 on November 2nd, 2011 at 2:50 pm said:

I have a question about Playstation Plus games. From what I have gotten so far, it seems as though some of the games such as the free ps1 games and the free minis have an expiration date of one year from the time that you got them. Though the free full games, such as costume quest and stacking do not have an expiration date.

Are these games gonna stop working after their one year, even if I am still a Plus member? because some of the minis and such say they will expire before my subscription will be up


13

+ FoxHoundVet on November 2nd, 2011 at 3:09 pm said:

@ZERO_169
No, they don’t have an expiration date as long as you are a plus member.
When you pay for a plus offer you keep the game forever.


14

+ El_Pollo_CA on November 2nd, 2011 at 3:33 pm said:

@11 To continue on from @12, if your not signed into the PSN you are told they have expired, log in and the games will work again.

If I can’t afford to update my plus account right now, I’m assuming when I do, the games will burst into life again? Anyone?


15

+ lisatsunami on November 2nd, 2011 at 3:43 pm said:

Uh, I have my own family issues. I game to escape that. Just kidding, I love gaming for its own sake. I might try it. It’s nice that Sony offers such a motley assortment of choices.


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    + Bernie Schulenburg on November 2nd, 2011 at 5:13 pm said:

    >Uh, I have my own family issues. I game to escape that.

    LOL


16

+ station3fever on November 2nd, 2011 at 3:47 pm said:

Those asking for cash back after spending $60 (october reward) Should be coming to you no later than 11/15 via direct message to your PS3.
Don’t panic people ;)


17

+ DarkAkatosh on November 2nd, 2011 at 4:13 pm said:

FoxHoundVet is wrong. Most games have exploration dates. There are exceptions though.

Anyways, looking forward to this mini. It looks very promising.


18

+ Neil on November 2nd, 2011 at 5:01 pm said:

Wow. I am speechless.


19

+ ZERO_169 on November 2nd, 2011 at 5:02 pm said:

@13 i don’t see why they would have put expiration dates on only some of the free games you get through Playstation Plus. So i’m not so sure that if you are a plus member they will still work after their expiration date even if you are signed in.

BTW this game looks pretty sweet. can’t wait to try it out.


20

+ ruibing on November 2nd, 2011 at 6:13 pm said:

Glad to see more coverage on innovative minis on the blog. Looking forward to it next week.


21

+ A_MAN_WIT_A_GUNN on November 2nd, 2011 at 9:51 pm said:

The guy that KEVIN HEART AND SPANK battled at the club has your heart and he might not give it bacc LMFAO


22

+ dh4645 on November 3rd, 2011 at 6:07 am said:

looks cool, but hopefully that isnt the music i have to listen to throughout the game.

i wish all games had the option to play your own songs off the HDD


23

+ Oisterboy on November 3rd, 2011 at 7:01 am said:

I love games like this, but I hate minis :c I’ll totally still give it a play though since this one looks awesome. OMGZ was really awesome too, shoulda been more than a mini. I’m thinking the same applies to this one!


24

+ Kirkpad on November 3rd, 2011 at 6:41 pm said:

The concept looks AWESOME. Have to say the level design looks like it will be quite challenging as well.


25

+ Neil on November 8th, 2011 at 11:34 pm said:

I just played this and it is my GOTY. Unbelievably simple concept yet complex puzzle solving. I love every aspect of this game from the 8-bit graphic style to the minimal music.


26

+ theedger on November 14th, 2011 at 3:43 pm said:

Any help for level 21? Thanks!


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