The following interview was recorded at MCM London Comic-Con in October.
Hi, my name is Discordia and I am at MCM London 2016 with Hannah Watts from Coatsink, talking about their new game Shu which is out now on PS4 and Steam. So, the art style of Shu is really interesting and the characters and worlds all look very different from one another, what was the process involved in designing these amazing characters and worlds?
Well, the characters were designed by a guy called Simon, so there were pages and pages of really cool sketches before a design was set on. The worlds were a bit more tricky, originally Shu had kind of almost a realistic 3D look to it and you can see that in older trailers on YouTube from around 2013 and 2014. What happened was we decided that they didn’t gel with the style, the vibe we wanted to give Shu. So, one of our in-house concept artists worked with myself and the other 3D modellers to come up with a more stylistic and clean look that was kind of more cutesy and integrated hand painted textures with hand painted 2D sprites. It was kind of an ongoing process of learning what would fit with the characters and fit with the world.
There seems to be fewer and fewer platformers releasing nowadays, since in the 80s it was one of the biggest genres and now it just seems to be very much in decline thanks to the rise of things like first person shooters and such. So, what do you think Shu can bring to the table that can revitalise interest in platformers?
I think that it does kind of aim for the nostalgia element a little bit, I mean, we have had a lot of people, especially at this convention, say that they get that Rayman or Mario feel, so I do think nostalgia is definitely a big element. But, also that Shu is quite fun and lighthearted as well, so it’s quite a low price and as well as being quite easy to access it tends to be that the style is quite welcoming. So, I think definitely the vibrant colours, the nostalgia and also in a way, we incorporated the time trial elements and some collectable elements into the game mechanics to give something for everyone.
Which character in Shu is your favourite?
Ooh, that’s a hard one! I actually would say one that’s not a character that you play. At the end of levels you get a little guy who comes down on a balloon and he picks up the characters you’ve saved in the villages, I just really like him because he looks so worried and concerned for their safety!
The game seems to be a little bit inspired by endless runner style games, so like Temple Run and such. So, do you think that creating more of a pickup and play experience is something that appeals to gamers more these days?
I’d say for indie games like this, perhaps. Because I think a lot of people are too busy and so connected now that often those experiences are often beneficial, I don’t think those big narratives will ever go away but I would say it fits into that modern lifestyle to have those quick experiences and quick tastes of a game that you can drop in and out of.
Shu’s level design seems really interesting and it seems really different to most other games, so can you tell me a bit about the environments and what sort of places there are, because there are so many amazing places in Shu.
Yeah! They’re all very varied, especially from an art point of view it was important to have every world have a very specific colour palette, so you’ve got the coast, you’ve got the forests, you’ve got this really deserty level which is really quite craggy. So, we wanted to really build up the world because since we didn’t have a narrative or big cutscenes we wanted to do a lot of the world building with crops and colour palettes. In terms of level design, we really wanted a very steep difficulty curve, so the coast is the first one and it’s quite gentle in comparison to a later level that is a medieval one and set in a tower and they are definitely unforgiving!
Now, I have a quickfire round of questions! So, iPhone or Android?
XBox or PlayStation?
Summer or winter?
Marvel or DC?
Thank you for doing this interview!
Thank you very much!
You can check out more about Shu and buy the awesome game HERE, thanks for reading and for more indie game content, keep it G33k!