OUR INNER CHILD
When seeing the world through the eyes of a child, your imagination runs rampant, often transforming our mundane reality into one filled with magic and beasts that inhabit our surroundings. We wield powerful weapons and cast magical spells with the snap of a finger, fighting and defeating evil wizards intent on conquering the world.
Once we grow up, our fantasy world gets shattered by the growing pains and introduction to adulthood. But sometimes, there are some people that fight to never let go of that inner child capable of seeing the wonder and beauty that is shrouded just outside our own perception.
Kristof Van Rooy is one of those dreamers who is attempting to channel his inner child into his most recent creation. “In my childhood I enjoyed writing stories,” Kristof says. “I’m lucky to not have lost my great imagination over the years. I actually wanted to create a game for a long time.”
AND THAT GAME IS ERDILON.
An adventure game with role-playing elements set in the broken world of its titular title. It follows the story of Max, a 12-year-old boy who is constantly bullied at school, until one day out on a field trip, his aggressor pushes him into a river where he is taken away by the chaotic current. Instead of having his fate sealed by the freezing water, he is transported to a different world.
“The story will be unique and unlike any game you’ve played before.” Kristof says without sharing if the initial plot is derivative from his own experiences or if it is his way of raising awareness and contribute to a growing conversation more frequently discussed through social media and other venues. “We made the story well before the game. And then designed the game concepts around it.”
Although this started with Kristof’s vision as he created the story of Erdilon and marked the beginning of Kowi-Games, it has grown into a collaborative effort from multiple artists, designers, and programmers from all around the world, making the process both arduous and exciting while they slowly trek to the finish line.
From the very beginning this game has been a labor of love, but one that has tested the patience of a group of people who have to deal with the rigors of life before they can sit down and channel their real passion. “While we were working on our daytime jobs and when we were sleeping, other team members from other time zones continued working on the game,” Kristof shares when addressing the difficulties of development.
“Every time we started working on the game as well, we could see a very satisfying progress. This is a very nice way to work on this project, I think I speak for all team members. Seeing how the game progresses and keeps getting better and more detailed is a great way to keep us all motivated.”
Ganthan, who is a rigger and animator on Erdilon shares a similar sentiment. “I handle animation and rigging in the project, both are very time consuming tasks. We had very few artists working on these, so my part was very crucial to the team,” mentions Gantham right before expanding on how the team works off of one another. “Some days I had to finish certain tasks so other artists can keep working on the project. So I push myself and work until the next day.”
Kristof goes even further explaining the dynamics of a team and how information is shared since they are from different parts of the world. “The team communicates to each other through a private forum,” Kristof says. “Within our team there are different groups of friends who are from all over the world (Venezuela, Serbia, Canada, India, Spain, Singapore, Belgium, Russia, and Ukraine).”
THE SWITCH IS IN
With the game being developed utilizing Unity, you would have expected the team to put more emphasis on a PS4 or Xbox One version of the game first, but with the Unity Engine recently receiving an upgrade that takes more advantage of the Tegra chip, the team is even more at ease of having designed Erdilon specifically with the Nintendo Switch in mind. “We love the Nintendo Switch. We like that you can play great games (without micro payments!) everywhere you go,” Kristof jokes but shows enthusiasm for the hybrid console. “We found a lot of support from the people that own a Nintendo console.
Also, a lot of our inspiration comes from Nintendo games like the Legend of Zelda.” This doesn’t say that at some point the game could make it elsewhere. “Our other target platforms are PC and possibly Xbox One. If Android upgrades the storage limitations for games, we will consider that platform as well.” But before the team can even consider that, they are focused of providing this experience to Nintendo fans.
Erdilon has already been demonstrated at a Belgian Game Expo where the team had a full playable demo they put together in under 6 weeks and are gearing up soon for a Kickstarter campaign to bring much needed assistance to their tumultuous schedule as well as keep their vision intact, without borrowing too much from other existing games. “The programs we use to create games are really expensive. We don’t like using assets from an asset store.
We choose to create our own art from the ground up. To do so we need to use very expensive programs,” explains Kristof, who is proud of having all his content wholly original but at the same time understands the cost of doing so. “Using just licenses for these programs will cost us over $30,000 a year. Many team members want to make our project a part-time or full-time job. So we can offer the best possible experience for Erdilon.”
Kowi-Games has a Facebook page providing updates on the game that also works as a source for people to give feedback on the different screens and information they share. Kristof is a regular on that page, answering questions users might ask.
Much in the same way that Kristof shared his inner child with his team and they adopted it as their own, he will once again share it with all of us and hope that, through the magical world of Erdilon, we may find ourselves tapping into that voice that reinforces our understanding that the impossible is indeed possible as long as we believe like our younger selves.