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.