Interview: Helping a fallen star find its way home in Pode
Pode is the story of a little rock helping a fallen star find its way home. It’s coming to Nintendo Switch this spring and was playable at EGX Rezzed 2018. We were lucky enough to catch up with Linn Sovig Marketing and Communications Manager at Henchman & Goon, the developer behind Pode, at the event…
Nintendo UK: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Please could you give us an introduction to Pode?
Linn Sovig: Pode is a co-op puzzle exploration game about two unlikely travel companions going on an exploratory adventure within a mysterious and magical mountain. Through their unique individual talents they reveal a magical world within the mountain by working together to solve the puzzles. Pode is visually inspired by Norwegian art and culture resulting in a stunning exploration game.
NUK: The visuals in Pode are stunning. What was the inspiration behind the art style?
LS: The visuals are inspired by the short national romantic era in Norway. Traditional rose painting is connected to this era and is very prominent in the visual style of Pode. The swirling, colourful flora in Pode, as well as the hand painted textures are very directly influenced by this.
We’ve also been very inspired by the detailing in the Norwegian national dress, the bunad, which has very elaborate embroideries based on Norwegian nature and flowers. We have also been inspired by Norwegian nature in our own way and brought in pine woods, glaciers and water falls.
NUK: How did you come up with the characters Bulder and Glo?
LS: We wanted to have different characters that had completely different mechanics, but working together, they could accomplish many great things. From the start the Game Director, Yngvill Hopen, knew that she wanted a light character and a dark character. I think it just seemed natural to use what was closest to us, which is the Norwegian mountains.
NUK: Would you say Pode is a game that players of all skill levels can enjoy?
LS: The puzzles are very challenging after a while so I think it would be hard for two three-year olds to play the game by themselves, no matter how smart kids are these days. But you definitely don’t have to be a hardcore gamer either. Anyone can get involved and have fun with the game. Kids interact very well with Pode and if some of the puzzles become too difficult, we’ve implemented a feature where you can switch the characters seamlessly without having to go through the dramatic gesture of taking a controller away from a player to solve that particular puzzle. So in essence – yes – Pode is a game that players of all skill levels can enjoy, particularly if you play together!
NUK: What is the origin story of Pode's development? Where did it all begin?
LS: Pode is a concept that was born in the mind of our CEO, Yngvill Hopen. She wanted to create a positive gaming experience. The concept then quickly turned into a co-op with two unique and different characters that help each other. Yngvill is also our Art Director. I think it’s very evident when playing the game that she’s had a clear visual concept in her mind from the very beginning.
Hopen says that the story of the game emerged more when they were designing the mechanics of the game, so the story is told through gameplay. We believe that the puzzles, mechanics and gameplay complement and help carry the story of Bulder and Glo and how their friendship evolves through the game.
NUK: What made you want to bring Pode to Nintendo Switch?
LS: We have always considered Pode to be a living room friendly game. We started developing the game three years ago, before the Switch came out, but we were very determined to think about developing for consoles first. When the Nintendo Switch came out we just went “Hello?!! This is perfect for Pode!”. We love how seamless it is to change between small and large screen. And we adore how co-op friendly it is! Of course we wanted to get straight on it!
NUK: With its co-op puzzles and exploration, Pode looks like a great game for fans of local multiplayer. Do you think this is something you can get into if you’re playing solo?
LS: Well, I certainly do! When I’m playing through the game single player I sometimes curse like a sailor and call the game designer a sadist, but that’s only because I find the puzzles hard. Switching between characters is actually very easy and we’ve implemented a lot of mechanics where you can control both characters at the same time.
This has been very important to our Lead Game Designer, Henrik Haugland, and he’s done a wonderful job making it an enjoyable single-player game as well as a great couch co-op!
NUK: Sounds fantastic! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us!
Pode releases on Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch in summer 2018.