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One of the games we saw at WASD Live was SCHiM, an adorable adventure from publisher Extra Nice. Ewoud van der Werf, one of its team of developers, found some time in the hectic event schedule to walk us through this sweet little game of shadows and shed some light (pun not intended) on its magical inspiration and its journey from student prototype to a star of WASD Live.
Check out the teaser trailer here!
Wonderfully enough, SCHiM started out as a submission for an examination at the developer and publisher Extra Nice. Using the titular notion — a Dutch word for shadowy spirits that skitter out of your view as soon as you see them — the player would embody one of these souls cut off from the object that it belongs to. You see, all things, either living or nonliving, have their own energies that go unnoticed by you and me. Yet, they are vital to the rhythms of the everyday. Hopping from shadow to shadow, the schim must find their way home again.
“I think it's something everyone can relate to,” said Ewoud. “Childhoods just jumping on only the cracks in the pavement or the lines on the crossing, or in this case, just the shadows. The game also takes place in an everyday environment, I think if it was too fictitious or fantastical it wouldn't click as much. The world is your playground.”
Business as usual, imbibed with a bright and playful palette, is the core of SCHiM. Our little character leaps from the sharp shadows cast in the yellow-greens, soft oranges and golden sunset shades. They’re able to last for short periods in the light however you won’t be stuck for long. You’re able to ping the schim off signposts and catch a ride on the shadows of joggers on their route. Even the shadows underneath lily pads resting on the pond water are fair game, opening up the concept and the world to new ways of seeing the mundane.
Ewoud mentioned that the levels are inspired by the city streets and parks of Friesland and the expanded scope of the game — thanks to Extra Nice’s partnership — has let them really go to town in the production stage. Pun intended. There’ll be more levels and more stories and more collectibles to let SCHiM shine to its fullest extent.
“Because I have a form of colorblindness I only wanted to use four colors throughout the entire game, I didn't want to bother with that too much at first. But then later changed that to every level having its own palette. These colors are chosen based on the setting of the level: the time of day, temperature or events in the story. Night levels often also have a more contrasting color palette.”
There’s something of Untitled Goose Game with its staging, something of Donut County in its mischief, and something of No Longer Home with the subtle emotions of its motions. Not only will the player travel to return the schim to their origin, they’ll also find lost bits and bobs that have been severed from their purpose.
“When objects become disconnected, it's usually because they got neglected or thrown away or lost or something,” explained Ewoud. “That's how it usually happens for humans or living beings, animals. It can happen when they experience something life changing.”
This profoundness is explicated at the moment he rescues a submerged trash can from that aforementioned pond. Of course, I have to ask whether or not this game is going to make us cry. “Tears of joy,” nodded Ewoud.
SCHiM is in development for PC (at the moment) and will be released in the future.
Featured Image Credit: Extra Nice
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