The developers of one of my personal favourite gaming series Alto have new studio set, which will focus mainly on ‘folk’ games. With Alto’s Adventure, the game which was made together between Toronto studio Snowman and English artist and developer Harry Nesbitt. But because the franchise expanded with new platforms and with a sequel, Nesbitt brought on more help. Eventually, they started working under the moniker “Team Alto.” Now, after tons of soul searching, Nesbitt is announcing the launch of a brand-new studio called Land & Sea, which can still work on the series but also develop new titles.
Nesbitt says that the studio is some things the group has been brooding about for a few times. “After the dust began to settle from launching Alto’s Adventure, I started asking myself what quite games I’d adore to be making within the future, and the way to travel about reaching that goal,” he tells The Verge. “It was clear it wasn’t sustainable to continue working as a sole developer, so I quickly began looking to cause new folks to figure with. initially, this was just to assist support the Alto games, but we quickly began brooding about new ideas, too.”
The team consists of Nesbitt and producer Jair McBain, also as regular contributors Todd Baker (composer on Monument Valley 2 and Alto’s Odyssey), designer Joe Grainger (Alto’s Odyssey), and writer/narrative designer Jenna Jovi. The team is additionally looking to grow with additional staff. Land & Sea will still work with Snowman on the Alto series, but it’s also looking to diversify with new titles, described as “folk” games. Here’s how Nesbitt explains the philosophy:
For us, the idea of “folk games” speaks to a kind of groundedness in the things we make; an earthy, honest quality that evokes a strong sense of time and place. Even if what we’re depicting is quite minimal, we still want the player to feel like it belongs to something much larger; a nuanced world that exists beyond the edge of the screen and stays with you long after you’ve put the game down.
It’s also about the kinds of stories we want to tell — stories that are ultimately about ordinary people, often with a humble way of life and a strong connection to the landscape around them. We were able to begin exploring some of these ideas with the Alto games, but were limited in how directly we could tell a more traditional story, simply due to the procedural nature of the games. That said, even though a lot of narrative elements had to be implied indirectly, we were still blown away by just how much players seemed to connect with the characters and the world, in ways we couldn’t have predicted.
It’s these elements that we really want to build on for the new games we’re working on. In many ways, they’re a very natural extension of the work we’ve done up until now.
The team isn’t able to reveal their first project yet — though you’ll inspect a teaser image at the highest of this text – but the plan is to explore more narrative-focused experiences. The team describes its 1st game as “an accessible, coming of age folktale set against an ancient pastoral landscape.” Storytelling may be a component that became increasingly important in Alto’s Odyssey, and it’s something Nesbitt wants to probe further, but without counting on well-worn tropes like dialogue or cutscenes.
“With the Alto games, we actually only began to scratch the surface with the kinds of stories we might wish to inform,” Nesbitt says. “We believe there’s an opportunity to put the narrative much more front and center for what we’re working on next. we might like players to desire they’ve gone on a journey and perhaps learned something about themselves or the earth around them. Our characters won’t necessarily be the same at the highest as they were at the beginning, which we hope which can be true in some small way for the players themselves.”
It also won’t be long before we learn more about the game. According to McBain, “We’re unable to decide anything to concrete just yet, but hope to reveal more details within the approaching months.”