Sebastian Mittag on The Inner World

Sebastian Mittag on The Inner World

Feature

The Inner World is a point-and-click adventure game that started as a student project, but caught the attention of Headup Games.

Hooked Gamers: Hello! Can you please tell us who you are and what your role(s) in The Inner World project is (are)?

Sebastian Mittag: My name is Sebastian Mittag. I am the Co-Founder of Studio Fizbin and for The Inner World I am the director.

Hooked Gamers: The Inner World started as a student project. How did the concept come to life and how did it turn from a student project into a game signed for publishing by Headup Games?

Sebastian Mittag: The first idea and picture was a hollow inside the infinite earth, where everything is upside down. Then we developed the characters, the setting which lead into an IP-Bible, my diploma. Already early we had the idea of making an adventure-game, which is perfect storytelling-wise as a game-genre. And also I was a big adventure-fan in the 90ís, which helps to be passionate about that. So our first real concept art was already with the Adventure in mind. Then we got a funding from the MFG and had the chance to realize our game in our newly founded studio. The running prototype on the iPad and a production trailer convinced Headup Games that we are developing a very special game and also that we are professional enough to finish it.

Hooked Gamers: Did you consider Kickstarter to fund your game? Why or why not?

Sebastian Mittag: Yes, we did consider that. But when Kickstarter came up, we already had our funding and we were quite independent for some time. Additionally we were able to and wanted to do some contract work. In general this development with crowdfunding is a blessing for independent developers. But also itís not too easy to raise money on kickstarter as a newcomer, when you donít have a name. But we will consider kickstarter for future projects.

Hooked Gamers: The Inner World is set in a world called ĎAsposiaí. You described it at Gamescom as being like a hole in a cheese. Can you elaborate on that?

Sebastian Mittag: Imagine thereís a universe just made of soil. The infinite soil. And thereís a hollow in it. This is Asposia. So when you are in Asposia and look into the sky you see the houses at the other side of Asposia. The only source of life are three wind fountains. Through these there is constantly coming wind out of the infinite soil. This wind lets small animals glow and turns the countless wind-wheels in this globated world.

Hooked Gamers: The game tells the story of Robert. Can you tell us more about him and how he came into being? And about the other characters youíve created, like Laura? And what role does the pigeon have?

Sebastian Mittag: Robert is working for the last wind-abbot Conroy. Heís a bit naive, but warm-hearted. He was the first character Mareike drew. He defined the look of all Asposians. So he was the first horn-nosed, striped bean with a hat. As we designed him, we really didnít know whatís his story was. He somehow became naturally our main character. But we know the world. So there was no normal sun, it was windy and so on. That influenced our thoughts of the anatomy of the Asposians. And then, step after step, we thought of the whole game-story. And everything suddenly made sense. In contrary to that, the pigeon makes no sense. It is physically not able to fly. But because it doesnít know that, it just flies, somehow. This pigeon loves fish and small sparkling emperors` amulets, which kind of kicks of the whole story of Robertís Adventure. We will tell you more about that soon =).

Hooked Gamers: One of the key elements of a good puzzle is that the answer to solving it can be discovered by the player but that itís not necessarily obvious right away. During the demonstration, you showed a pigeon with an above average interest in a fish and it was clear they had to come together somehow, despite the fact that one normally would not connect pigeons with fish. What is your trick to ensure people start thinking about such weird and whacky combinations?

Sebastian Mittag: The interest of the pigeon in the fish is obvious, because you can see it. Why the pigeon is interested in fish is maybe strange, not explained, but funny. But itís not relevant for solving the puzzle. The important information is that the pigeon loves fish. So we put much effort into making the puzzles comprehensible, but interesting and funny. Itís really a good sign, when a player (after solving a puzzle) makes a face-palm, saying: Ah, that makes sense! Additionally we will have a help-system, which can give small tips or just straight away the answer to the next puzzle.

Hooked Gamers: You mentioned that wind plays an important role in the game so it must be part of the puzzles, right? (in what ways?)

Sebastian Mittag: The Wind has got an important role in our epic story, which enrols over the whole game. So itís somehow connected to the puzzles. But at this point I donít want to reveal that mystery =)

Hooked Gamers: Anything else youíd like to tell us that you havenít already said above? Go wild, this is your chance you tell everyone why they should buy The Inner World when itís released 

Sebastian Mittag: This game is really made with love. You can discover so many funny details in Asposia. Itís because weíve already been working on this world for a long time. And we feel at home there. So if you like the combination of a freshly told atmospheric and funny story and strange moments and characters, youíre right. I mean, which game has a know-it-all intellectual frog, that is deadly poisonous, a guy who is really into garbage-selling and a main-character whoís got a flute-nose? And there is more to come!

Hooked Gamers: Thank you for the interview!