Piece process

Krill­bite switches from child­hood won­der to adult mis­ery in Mo­saic


Nor­we­gian stu­dio Krill­bite’s lat­est game, Mo­saic, is a dras­tic de­par­ture for the com­pany. While its pre­vi­ous ti­tle, 2014’s Among The Sleep, also set out to hor­rify play­ers, the two games come at the goal from very dif­fer­ent an­gles. Among The Sleep por­trayed its world from the eyes of a tod­dler, in­ten­si­fy­ing its shapes and colour pal­ette to rep­re­sent child­like won­der. Mo­saic’s pro­tag­o­nist, mean­while, is a grown-up, beaten down by the tri­als of adult life, de­picted through­out the game in a solemn vis­ual style.

“We want to show a car­i­ca­ture of re­al­ity that is dis­torted by the pro­tag­o­nist’s men­tal state – lonely, de­pressed and ap­a­thetic,” ex­plains artist Karo­line Oppedal Aske. “This makes the world feel cold, sharp, hard and in­hu­man. It’s full of rep­e­ti­tion and pat­terns that re­flect the sys­tem­atic as­pects of our lives. Cold blues, gen­er­ally de­sat­u­rated colours and ab­stracted or sim­pli­fied sur­faces de­scribe a lack of emo­tional in­ten­sity, like the way de­pres­sion can leave you numb and dis­in­ter­ested in what you usu­ally care about.”

This ad­ven­ture game aims to un­set­tle the player with its claus­tro­pho­bic at­mos­phere and dis­turb­ing, re­lent­lessly sur­real im­agery. Mo­saic’s set­ting takes it cues from Krill­bite’s home town, Ha­mar, and in flesh­ing out the game the stu­dio has been in­spired by the likes of In­side, The Wit­ness and Ken­tucky Route Zero. The dis­tinc­tive look has re­quired a rather dif­fer­ent ap­proach for this project.

“For Among The Sleep, we wanted the world to be as de­tailed as pos­si­ble within the lim­its of the style,” artist

ex­plains. “For Mo­saic, our ap­proach is more min­i­mal­is­tic and re­duc­tive. It’s a world de­void of imag­i­na­tion and won­der. The work­flow is very dif­fer­ent, re­flect­ing both stylis­tic choices and changes in our core team. Among The Sleep had a large amount of hand-painted tex­tures, while Mo­saic has al­most zero tex­tures al­to­gether, re­ly­ing in­stead on strong shapes and care­fully sim­pli­fied ge­om­e­try.”

Krill­bite plans to re­lease Mo­saic on PlayS­ta­tion 4 and PC to­wards the end of 2017.

Bjørnar Frøyse

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