Our Interview with Monochroma

While browsing through IndieDB.com I accidently clicked on Monochroma, and boy was I amazed. This platformer doesn’t quite cease to amaze me, from its story to the gameplay mechanics. It tells a dark story that is much too often overlooked in today’s society. Monochroma is to be released towards the end of this year. Below is our Interview with Burak Tezateşer, executive manager at Nowhere Studios in Istanbul, Turkey.

Q: How long has Monochroma been in production?

A: It’s been almost two years we started to think about the concept of the game. Whereas, the production started 18 months ago, with the same team except two people change in the art team.

Q: What inspired Monochroma?

A: Monochroma is designed as a dark modern tale, its background mostly inspired from older tales:

Robots with child souls referenced to “Pinocchio”.

The city rises upwards and above the clouds, a rich giant boss lives on the top of it referenced to “Jack and Beanstalk”.

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The two main characters in Monochroma.

The whole journey is designed as a grim version of yellow brick road, on the “Wizard of Oz”, started from cornfields and straw bales to a great city ruled by an alchemist.

A child with a red scarf in a monochromatic world walks away from his house to dangerous places referenced to “Red Riding Hood”.

Also inspired from Jean Baudrillard’s “The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures”, Monochroma asks a question to players about what is being a consumer?

Monochroma is influenced from many games such as “AbesOddyssey”, “Heart of Darkness”, “Limbo”, “Braid” as puzzle platformers and many other games such as “Ico” that have an emotional perspective. During the creation of Monochroma, emotional art pieces such as “Papo&Yo” and “Journey” gained developers great attention.

The studio is located at Istanbul, one of the biggest cities of Europe. Highly irregular urbanization across the Istanbul was a great inspiration for aesthetic design.

Also movies such as “City of Lost Children”, “Metropolis”, “A.I”, “Blade Runner”, “Dark City”, “Alien”, “City of Amber”, “Micmacs” to inspire developers while creating the dark Monochroma world design.

Monochroma’s emotional inspiration comes from the creative director Orçun’s childhood:

“When I was a child my parents were always on business trips so I lived in a very small town with my grandmother and my sister. The town was so serene. I remember the town as a peaceful sanctuary. We were running, climbing to trees, playing hide and seek with my sister…

Then to start both of us to primary school, my parents stopped traveling and took us to our home at the city. I found myself in a giant chaotic labyrinth, where apartments rise to the sky and every other child stay in their homes and playing with their toys, rather than running on the grasses and climbing to trees. Since we grow up, I always cared about my sister as she is my only friend and I always

The team at Nowhere Studios

The team at Nowhere Studios

defended her from any harm, as I felt responsible to her as a brother.

So, Monochroma is a mixture of my childhood dreams, nightmares and todays reality. Monochroma is the story of why I have chosen to be a game developer. Video games are modern tales that can accomplish what old tales have done before: telling honest things about the world we live, to all children. All children, whom I feel responsible for their lives, as I felt responsible for my sister…”

Q: What was your inspiration for the dark dystopian theme?

A: The story is about a company that exploits child labor and strips the planet of its natural resources for selfish financial gain with the help of an oppressive state. We used some metaphors to tell this story but if you think this is a dystopia then we’re living in a dystopia already.

Q: What sets this apart from other indie platformer’s?

A: We’re trying to tell a complicated story without using any spoken or written words. No sign language, no interface, no cut-scene. The visuals and the puzzles are telling the story to the player during the game.

Furthermore our puzzle designs are natural to the environment. If you’re in a barn for example you will find objects that you’re going to interact that should find in a barn, not platforms hanging in the air like an abstract world. Combining this natural feel with clever puzzles was a big challenge when designing the game.

Environments in the game are constantly changing, it’s difficult to find the same object or similar environments twice in the game. You start at the outskirts of the city in the first chapter and we arrive at the city of skyward buildings at the second chapter. Third chapter takes place in a fantastic factory and the last chapter of the game lets you explore a dreamlike zeppelin.

Last but not least, there is a big variety of physical interactions in Monochroma. Like walking on ropes, climbing ladders, ropes, chains, swinging on them as well. Pushing and pulling different sized objects, balancing them, sliding, riding robots, using switches etc. A basic knowledge of physics gives you a big advantage to solve the puzzles faster than other people.

Q: How long is the campaign going to be?

A: We’re planning a 6 hour gameplay for an experienced puzzle platform player. This can take longer for inexperienced players. It

consists of a mixture of puzzle, action and ambience scenes with a flavor of exploration.

Q: Was Monochroma started for fun or was this a serious project from the get-go? 

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

A: It has always been a serious project, but we were serious in terms of telling a story, not in terms of generating money. We’re making the game DRM-free because we’re trying to be heard, not selling millions of copies. This shouldn’t sound we’re giving the game away for free but hopefully it will generate us enough to tell new stories. It’s our first big project after all.

Q: How much is it going to cost release day?

A: We’re planning for a $20 launch. But you can support us on Kickstarter to get many rewards special to our Kickstarter campaign.

If you are interested in playing Monochroma, there is a demo available for both PC and Mac and Linux at the official website. Don’t forget to vote “YES” on Steam Greenlight to see Monochroma on Steam.  For more information send them a message on Facebook or tweet them on Twitter. Also a donation to their Kickstarter would be greatly appreciated. Best of Luck to Nowhere Studios.

Official Website: http://www.monochromagame.com

Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MonochromaGame

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nowherestudios

Kickstarter: http://tinyurl.com/l5ltukz

 

Written by Sarosh Zuberi