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How Tale of Tales lets creativity, collaboration rule game development
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How Tale of Tales lets creativity, collaboration rule game development

October 16, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

MS: And the thing is, we often don't recognize our own experiences of our games in the experiences that other people have. Which is good too; it's interesting. It's a little bit annoying when it's negative experiences. I hope it came across that, to us, our games are not difficult, and they're not these heavy things. Actually, all of them, in some way, are humorous to us. And beautiful. And that's why we try to make them. And we would like more people to see that beauty, and so we're going to work harder. I hope that helps.

AH: And so in making our beautiful art program list of things, we were like, "Look. We can look at it this way. Other people should look at things this way more often, and try to see the beauty that you bring to people's lives." I think that it's helpful for us, at this point, looking forward to the next thing, if that makes any sense.

When you gave your presentation, everyone was clapping at the end. That's another contrast with all the negative quotes you put on screen. It ended triumphantly. 

AH: We're done. We're done with the negative quotes. It's not that that isn't going to happen, but we're done feeling like that's bad.

MS: Objectively, I was looking at the quotes for the presentation. And I said, "Let's get some really juicy negative quotes, because that's always funny." But I was actually finding that there was not that many. There was far more positive sentiment, if you start looking. It's that the negative ones hit really hard, and you remember those.

AH: And they're really loud.

MS: But if you really survey the whole thing, the balance was definitely on the positive side.

A less ambiguous reaction, to The Endless Forest

You speak very warmly about your collaborators, including working with people who aren't in the game industry. You worked with a dancer, at one point. 

AH: Which was something we wanted to do from the beginning, for some reason. And we want to do it again. I think that collaborating with artists in other fields makes your game richer. And we always have such a great time collaborating with people, no matter what they're doing -- music, or animation, or modeling.

Our animator Laura Raines Smith, who continues to collaborate with us through everything -- it's just wonderful the way we handle it. It's like, "We're going to work with you, and you do what you do, and you give it to us and we'll make it part of our game." And it becomes that everyone who works on a project becomes on owner of this thing, and is so proud. It's really great.

It's a way of getting something external -- maybe it's a nuance of some sort. But just the fact that we had a dancer who didn't know anything about games, we explained to her everything we were going to do, and she realized, and she made this dance that was specifically made for a game, even though she's not a gamer.

I think that's an interesting thing to bring into your project, because it adds another dimension to the work. The work becomes richer. It's not some motion capture studio and you have a professional motion actor. I think that's something that can only happen in an indie game, perhaps, that's open to that.

MS: And we did specifically choose a dancer from a dance company that we really liked, to collaborate, Les Ballets C de la B in Belgium, that makes lovely work. It wasn't just any dancer -- it had to be a certain style.

AH: But we have to be open to the fact that maybe she does it wrong, maybe it's not exactly perfect, and we bring those little imperfections into it.

MS: That's what collaboration is about! It's about working with another artist and they have their input, and what they do goes into the game -- or not. That is our choice. But we're not going to tweak it too much. It's their contribution.

I found it interesting that you said that with Bientôt l’été that you wanted to bring the work of the author that you chose to a contemporary audience -- bring the feeling of the work to an audience that wouldn't access it directly. I think that's a really interesting idea. 

AH: Perhaps our execution wasn't good enough to bring it to enough people.

MS: And our choice of author was maybe controversial. (laughs)

AH: But even still, we just followed what we were feeling.

MS: I love Margeurite Duras both as a writer and a filmmaker, and I do believe that video games can bring art to an audience that is perhaps less informed about art and culture, that has known less about history or hasn't seen enough Nouvelle Vague films to really understand what is so wonderful about them. I really think that video games can help a lot as a medium, but we all need to learn how to do that. Just being able to work with Duras text is already a joy unto itself, because all of the source material is so beautiful that it made the work a lot more pleasant.

AH: Ultimately we wanted to bring the atmosphere of the things we read and felt when we went to her home on the seaside in France, all these things. We now want to replicate that; we don't want to interpret her work, as such. I think this is us, again, taking the elements that we think that games are good at, but are underdeveloped, and trying to make a whole game around that. Whether that's a good idea or not, who knows? But that's the idea we had.

MS: And it's a process, right? We're not going to get this right in one go. And other people will pick up on it.

AH: So when someone enjoys Bientôt l’été and they're staring at the sea and they get a sensation of some sort, they're actually getting the sensation that we got from the novel. And they don't have to know that that's what they're getting. Because we don't like being so didactic about the whole thing.

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