Looking back at what we did, you might think we’re crazy. We were all senior staff working on major, AAA titles at highly respected studios like Activision, Rocksteady, and others. These were big-budget games with blockbuster marketing campaigns, massive sales, and critical acclaim; an enviable position to be in as a game developer, right? So why did we walk away from it all?
There was an idea in the back of our minds that we had to pursue. We enjoy a broad spectrum of games like Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, Zelda, and Skyrim, but we wanted to craft an experience that combined the mood and thrills found in each of those games. It sounds like an odd combination, I know, but these were some of the key influences that inspired the design of Yonder.
So we made the tough decision to quit our high-profile, well-paying jobs, and took the biggest gamble of our lives.
Yonder is the game we’ve dreamed of playing since we first picked up a controller. It’s set on the massive island of Gemea, a lush frontier with eight distinct environments ranging from sunny, tropical beaches to frigid, snow capped summits. Each location has its own flora and fauna, along with changing seasons and a day-night cycle. Gemea was once a perfect paradise, but an evil murk has enshrouded the land and its people in despair.
We craved a game world that felt relaxed and familiar. Yonder would be a game you could pick up, step into, and feel as if you are home. We wanted it to be as comfortable and inviting as possible.
It’s a game you can play at your own pace; not everything is required. We wanted to give players freedom with what they do in the game, and how they achieved their goals.
In Yonder, it’s unmistakably you that’s the hero or heroine, so what you should look like or how you dress is never dictated or restricted. It’s totally up to you. Carrying an extra pound or two after Thanksgiving? Yeah, we hear you. Your avatar can reflect that. Feel like rocking a handlebar mustache or a floral skirt? Your character can get down with that (even in combination). You’ll discover a whole load of items to make your hero or heroine uniquely “you.”
Animals — or critters, as we prefer to call them on the island — were always going to be a big part of the game. From the lumbering herd of Groffles to the cute-as-a-marshmallow-cloud Fabbits, you’ll find a host of adorable-but-useful critters in Yonder.
With an enormous island to explore and a whole host of locals to befriend, you’ll find yourself learning a wide array of new skills. Fishing, carpentry, and even brewing will help you as you solve the mysteries on the island of Gemea in the hope of finding your way home again.
Tame a Fabbit as a personal pet. Set up a farm and use Groffle milk to make cheese to trade with the locals. Grow your own crops, barter in the open market or craft your own goods from scratch. Your influence on the world extends far beyond your wardrobe or coffers; your actions ripple through every town in Gemea.
Yonder’s balance of adventure, customization, and discovery is the journey we always wanted to embark on, and we’re thrilled to bring the game to PS4. Our years of daydreaming will soon transform into an experience you can enjoy at home on July 18!
So, were we crazy to turn our backs on big-studio life? I guess we’ll all find out very soon…