It often takes a lot to stand out at an event. With so many games around yours, you need to have a little special something to get people to stop and try it. Thankfully, Sole had that something and ended up being the first game I sat down and gave a chance to at the 2018 Halloween Playcrafting Expo. I came away rather impressed, so I took the time to talk to Gossamer Games’ director Thomas Sharpe about the game. Also I renamed the ball of light to DOG.
TechRaptor: I just played Sole, by Gossamer Games. Can you guys tell me a little bit about the game?
Thomas Sharpe: Yeah, so Sole is an abstract narrative driven adventure game where you’re playing as a ball of light in a world with no light. So in the game we drop you in, we don’t tell you where to go or what to do. We just kind of let you explore at your own pace. As you explore everything around you is illuminated, and once you light something up it stays lit up the entire game. So it’s kind of like you’re painting with light.
TechRaptor: So why don’t you tell me a little about how you guys got started with this idea.
Thomas: Yeah, so we know we really wanted to explore video games as a kind of more empathetic experience, and so we tried to create a game that captures our feeling as new creators and new artists. We have no idea what we’re doing, and so we wanted to take all that feeling of being lost and uncertain and put that into a video game.
TechRaptor: So generally when you started work on Sole, is this… like did you go right from concept to this, or has a bunch of things been cut along the way?
Thomas: I think a big part of this project was finding our creative voice. We went into this not exactly knowing what we wanted to create, but that actually kind of became the mechanic because in the game we drop you in and you have no idea where you’re going or what you’re trying to be doing. So I think actually our creative journey has become the mechanic of the game.
TechRaptor: While I was playing Sole, this game is creepy oppressive.
Thomas: Thank you.
TechRaptor: The darkness is super creepy, the soundtrack is right on point. How did you guys go about making the atmosphere?
Thomas: I think that’s where we started the game, was trying to establish what kind of feeling we wanted to evoke and just going through iteration and iteration looking at the colors and the design of the world and of course the soundscape and how we could create that emotion. So I think that was just a really long iterative process that we really put at the front and center of our design experience.
TechRaptor: Now when it comes to this game’s story you’re this floating ball of light exploring this dark world.
TechRaptor: How do you guys go about designing the story with the darkness and the exploration?
Thomas: Well I think we were looking at the story in kind of two parts. One is the story of what is this weird ball that is kind of floating around, and the other is what is this world you’re exploring. So I think we’re really trying to tell… again, using the game as an allegory for our creative process in telling that through the design of the environment and in the transformation of your character.
TechRaptor: I know you probably can’t answer this, but what is the ball?
Thomas: Ah… it is whatever you want it to be! [Laughter.] That’s one of the big parts of the game, we want every player to walk away with their own personal interpenetration on what the game meant to them.
TechRaptor: Is it friendship?
Thomas: Yeah! Let’s go with that, I like that.
TechRaptor: Awesome. Okay. Does the ball have a name?
Thomas: No, and I’m not going to say the internal name.
TechRaptor: Okay. Well it’s internal name is now DOG and you’re going to have to live with that.
Thomas: Oh, that’s perfect. I love it. [Laughter.]
TechRaptor: Alright, so Sole! When can I play it?
Thomas: We’re going to say next year? We don’t have a time frame locked down just yet, but it will be available on Xbox One and Steam on PC and Mac.
TechRaptor: And any plans for PlayStation 4 or Switch?
Thomas: Maybe? Yes.
TechRaptor: Good enough.
TechRaptor: Alright, well I want to thank you for letting me see Sole, it was really cool and I’m glad I got to check it out.
Thomas: Thank you so much.
We’d like to once again thank Thomas for taking the time to talk with us.