Norwegian studio Rain Games has been working tirelessly to release their games on as many platforms as possible. Their first title Teslagrad is available for all of the last and current generation consoles and their latest game World to the West isn’t too far behind. I talked to CEO Peter Meldahl about ports, problems, and future plans.
What are you working on at the moment?
We have not only been porting both Teslagrad and World to the West to new platforms since our last release about half a year ago, we have also been cooking on something new: Mesmer. Mesmer is another game in the same universe as both Teslagrad and World to the West. It is a game about revolution [and] by far the most unique title that Rain has ever made
We are already showing off some images and gifs from time to time on our Twitter channel. We will just finish up with the ports for [the] new platform, and we will announce the game properly and tell you all some of our plans for the title.
You’ve ported your games to all current platforms now – which version are you the most happy with?
The Switch ports of both Teslagrad and World to the West are a joy to play. World to the West is not out for purchase yet (the release date is January 18), but I have put in a fair share with both titles testing in the office. For some reason, the device just feels perfect for both titles.
The Scandinavian dev scene seems like a close-knit community. Is there one common element to your work, or to what do you ascribe this?
We all know each other, and we help each other out with all kinds of stuff. I was just talking to the guys from D-pad, Red Thread, Krillbite, and Snowcastle about getting together some collaboration on Steam. It is always easy to ask, and we feel that we are all in this together.
When it comes to similarities, I have to point to the fact that all of us Nordics like our sombre or sad stories. Some of the titles from the above companies are Among the Sleep, Owlboy, Dreamfall and our own Teslagrad . They have some sadder and more emotional moments than one might expect from games in their genre.
What’s something you love about the games industry at the moment, and what would you like to see changed?
Companies are moving in very different directions and treading up a lot of new paths. At least on the small company stage.
It is also great to see Nintendo back in the game. It sometimes feel like they fall in a slump, but when they return it is usually with some innovations to both game design and innovations in the “form factor” of hardware design. The Switch is amazing, and is currently a great playground for new things.
People are also great. Kickstarter and sites like Fig are still places where projects can be born through the support of the fans, and the world is richer for it. We have never used such sites ourselves, but I have personally enjoyed many great games that have.
With things that I am less stoked about, I will just focus on my own neck of the woods: the practices of digital key resale sites like G2A are rapidly threatening to make bundles a thing of the past. Bots are set up to buy bundles at minimum prize, cut them into their component titles, and put them on the store at absurdly low prices, forever competing with the game companies’ own store offers. Combined with the key scamming and money laundering that also comes with these sites, it has become quite a mess… When I hear many peers say that they would rather their games be pirated than be sold there, it says a lot about the whole process.
Visibility on Steam is also not what it was in the past. There is a sea of small titles coming out, and ironically the total sum of smaller titles sell less now than before Steam opened the floodgates. It is not hard to understand why: even people who cover games get overwhelmed by this giant torrent of daily content. The average consumer never had a chance.
In such conditions, users flock to the well known islands that stand above the high waters: Large and familiar titles with budgets to signpost their arrival on the store trough a marketing campaign can quickly seem like the only dry land left, joined by the odd smaller title that has the rare combination of both quality and luck to grab the Zeitgeist.
Though not quite there yet, it is looking more and more like the landscape of mobile games: a “winner takes all” world, where most will surely perish, and some will gain treasures unrivaled. Some have of course proven that they can live in such waters, but Rain has stayed out of the mobile market for a reason.
Finally: the best character in World to the West is obviously…
I like Lumina. She has strong ties to Teslagrad, the first game I ever designed. I like how she is the clever and level-headed of the group, and how we wanted to show this trough rewarding a “puzzle solver’s” mindset when playing her. I also like some of the design details we put on her: Note that the brim on the hood forms an omega. I studied physics, so I love to have fun with that kind of stuff.
For more information on Rain Games and their two releases Teslagrad and World to the West, visit their website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.