a portfolio of videogame writings
As created worlds videogames often transport us to imagined places and tell imagined stories about imagined events, but sources of inspiration often run dry when the medium becomes dominated by a self-perpetuating creative well of bankable tropes and settings. There’s plenty of medieval-fantasy RPGs, plenty of Sci-Fi shooters; there aren’t plenty of games about Swedish ritualistic vision walks.
Year Walk is something unique. Developer Simogo’s latest iOS title is a first-person adventure game about the Swedish tradition of årsgång – a mystical vision quest believed to hold prophecies about the year ahead – which is a departure from the cartoonish titles Simogo is known for. I spoke to the studio’s co-founder, Simon Flesser, about the title’s inspirations and ideas.
Why make a game about a Year Walk? Where did the idea come from?
Our friend Jonas Tarestad presented the tradition to me in late 2011, and I found it really fascinating. He was working on a short move script based on it. I read the script when we were about to finish up Beat Sneak Bandit, and it had a very game-like structure, so we started talking about making a game based on it. Things just rolled on, and we reworked the script into game – and here we are!
Year Walk is quite a departure from Simogo’s previous titles in terms of both themes and mechanics. Was this a conscious decision?
Conscious in the sense that we constantly want to evolve and challenge ourselves creatively, yes. The step from Beat Sneak Bandit can seem quite big, but to us it feels natural: just as ourselves, I don’t think players are interested in seeing the same things over and over again.