A few weeks back I looked at the Early Access stealth RPG Ghost of a Tale, the story of a brave mouse minstrel who is searching for his love in a fantasy world inhabited by animals of all types. The game enchanted me from the first minute and is easily one of the most promising Early Access titles I've ever played. Immediately after playing, I got in contact with SeithCG, a former movie animator who serves as the lead developer, to discuss the transition to game development, the lore, and the future of Ghost of a Tale.
TechRaptor: You used to be an animator for CG movies, why make the jump to game development?
Seith: Because I like games and when you direct a movie's animation department you tend to tell people what to do and while it is very nice to drive people to do their best I needed to get back to doing things myself. Learning how to code represented a challenge for me but working on Ghost of a Tale allowed me the freedom to fully take responsibility of what I create. When you work on a movie your role is embedded in a much larger structure and I simply longed to work on something much smaller in scale.
TechRaptor: What other media influenced the creation of Ghost of a Tale?
Seith: Other than games, mainly movies from the 1980s like The Dark Crystal and The Secret of NIMH, but also old 2D Disney movies. TV series like Jim Henson's The Storyteller are also seminal. And from a purely visual point of view illustrations by artists like Brian Froud, Alan Lee, John Howe and Paul Bonner. A book series like Redwall also played a role because it features animals as protagonists.
TechRaptor: The lore of Ghost of a Tale is surprisingly deep, what was the creative process like for creating this world?
Seith: Specifically Paul and I talk about a lot of things related to the game's lore, from traditions to creatures to politics in order to provide a cushion for the game's story. Tilo's adventure allows the player to discover the world of Ghost of a Tale through a peephole, sort of piecemeal.
We wanted the lore to be there so that everything is consistent and is a part of a solid underlying structure but at the same time we didn't want to hit players on the head with it. Although they might not see a lot of what we mention it had to be carefully planed so anyone curious enough would be able to cross-reference things and find an actual connection between events.
Even though Ghost of a Tale features pirate frogs and sneaky mice we do take the lore very seriously indeed. :)
TechRaptor: The steam page claims the Early Access version only has "25-30%" of the quests and locations in the full game. How much more content can we expect to see before the full release?
Seith: The final game will feature more characters (both NPC and enemies types) and also more diverse locations, including a small forest, a lake shore and an underground temple. That's in addition to the existing locations which will be extended, meaning off-limit parts in the early access will be unlocked.
TechRaptor: The steam page also says only 90% of the mechanics are implemented. What are the missing 10%?
Seith: I'm sorry but I can't talk about this yet ... :)
TechRaptor: How long do you expect the finished product to be?
Seith: It's difficult to say of course, but I would venture probably around the 10h mark. Much longer if you want to see everything and do all the quests.
TechRaptor: Finally, do you have any projects in mind after Ghost of a Tale is finished?
Seith: I would love to do a second game taking place in the world of Ghost of a Tale. There's so many things to show and to visit that I would really like a chance to do that. Of course it will all come down to how well the first game does financially. Fingers crossed!