Sculpting Moonscars, Souls-inspired 2D adventure, launches September 27 – PlayStation.Blog

We at Black Mermaid are very excited about the upcoming release of Moonscars, our first game from the new studio!

If you’ve watched our trailers, you probably already know that we’re fans of the Souls series. We’ve long been inspired by their rich world-building and gameplay approach, and we wanted to create a game for other fans like us.

We decided to create an immersive experience in a 2D world with fast and responsive combat that would fit in with the features of 2D. Today we’d like to talk a little about how Moonscars came to be and some of the lessons we’ve learned from our own cycle of trials and triumphs.

Myths and masters

In Moonscars, you play as Gray Irma, a clay sculpture inspired by a fierce warrior woman and brought to life. Her visual design is derived from a painting Stefan made in 2015 (above), and while her personality was created to best fit the story, her appearance was defined a long time ago.

The creator of all living statues, the Sculptor, was once a great man. During the events of the game, he still wields great power and strives to make the world a better place according to his vision, but very few are willing to accept the cost and sacrifice to make it a reality.

We loved the concept of the legendary Cypriot king and sculptor Pygmalion and his ivory statue of Galatea, which tells the story of a sculptor who fell in love with his creation, and wanted to imagine a world where this concept is even more expanded – perhaps with a dark turn towards him. Sculpture and sculpting are central to our story and setting: a world of clay, bone, and ichor.

Visually, we drew inspiration from the old masters of Dutch oil painting, which led us to create a world using a muted palette of dark grays with accents of red and green. The dark palette also helped us a bit in the process of painting the background, given our small team.

Formation of the game

We (Stefan and Alex) met while working together to create a gaming experience to promote br. For a long time we talked about starting our own project, and so we took a leap of faith, quit our jobs and started our own journey.

Thanks to Stefan’s background in traditional painting and his newfound passion for animation, combined with Alex’s programming skills and general dexterity, we created a sneak peek of our new project in a short amount of time and showed it to the public. It attracted a lot of attention and positive feedback, which gave us confidence. A few months later, when we partnered with Humble Games, we started to expand our team and brought in Andrey Moroz, our game designer and writer, Andrey Platon, who also shares a passion for animation, and a few close friends who helped us on a case by case basis. . the basis of the task.

So, the creation of Moonscars was in full swing.

When we opened a new studio, we ran into a couple of problems. One was to look for local talent to complete the team.

We also had no previous experience developing full-fledged games, so we had to learn this craft on the fly – and when starting a project, we did not take into account how long it would take us to get to the point where everything started to work out. .

We also decided that we needed smooth, hand-drawn animations, and although we were aware that they would take a long time to create, we didn’t consider enough iterations that we would have to do. Luckily this improved later in the development process.

Another thing we didn’t expect was how quickly we would improve our craft, and how things that we had made even six months earlier would quickly start to deteriorate and we would want to redo them. Given that we have been working for more than three years, this has happened a couple of times in the art department.

Early animation sketches, example on the left from 2018.

In retrospect, it was too ambitious for us to start such a project, but we managed to see it through to the end with the help of our Humble Games team and the community that formed around the game.

The biggest challenge was probably getting everything into what we could call “completed” state and actually stopping work on it for launch. There is always a desire to work on something and change it, and it just never ends. It’s important to know when to stop, and we learned a little about how to recognize the right moment, as well as how to significantly improve our pipeline for future projects.

The end of the journey approaches

The final game is very different from the original idea we had. Andrey came up with a fresh and very interesting mechanic that the players liked in the demo. During development, we realized that we shouldn’t suppress ideas just because they went against the original intent, but instead allowed the project to evolve by focusing on and strengthening its strengths, which ultimately made Moonscars the best game ever.

We are grateful to friends who helped us by playing, leaving feedback and cheering us along the way. And when we released the PC demo, we received even more valuable feedback as well as words of encouragement, which gave us a lot of morale to continue and continuously improve the game. (We will try to do this a little earlier in our next project, hehe.)

As Moonscars approaches its release, we are feeling anxious and excited to see how the gaming community reacts. We really hope you all get to play the game when it releases on September 27th on PS4 and PS5!

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