Tryggvi Hakonarson on CERES

Tryggvi Hakonarson on CERES


Jötunn Games' lead developer talks to us about "the first cyber-tactical space combat game in the known universe"

The moment we heard about the upcoming game, CERES, our interest peaked. Especially when the developers listed titles like Homeworld, Elite, Nexus: the Jupiter Incident as their sources of inspiration. Described as a ”cyber-tactical space combat game”, CERES will let you take control of a squadron of ships in full 3D space combat as well as explore and trade in pirate, machine and monster-infested solar system. The publisher, Iceberg Interactive, got us into contact with Tryggvi Hákonarson, one of the developers working at Jötunn Games.

It must have been quite an adventure going from concept to planning to a community hub on IndieDB to being a full-fledged studio with a recognized publisher behind your back. Tell us about the highs and the lows of your journey.

Well, I can't say that there were many lows. There was of course some negative feedback from the earliest builds, pre-alpha really, but I didn't let that get me down. I think I was quite lucky actually. I received some very positive feedback early on that kept me going and getting the attention from a recognized publisher was quite promising as well.

A low point was probably when my partner left the project to focus on other things. He didn't like the direction the game was taking and moved on.

You recently signed a publishing deal with Iceberg Interactive who are quite well known in the realm of Sci-fi Strategy games. How did that come about and what influence has the relationship had on the game’s development?

Iceberg Interactive contacted me through IndieDB. It was a huge boost for the project, knowing that a publisher was interested in the game. They kept their distance though, waiting to see how the game would develop.

As an Icelandic studio operating in a country with a population smaller than that of the war-torn city of Fallujah, Iraq, the talent pool of passionate video game developers must already be tapped by the behemoth next door, CCP. How do you see your chances of future expansion?

There are people here in Iceland that are yearning to get into the gaming industry but not wanting to sign up with the behemoth. People risk going unnoticed in a big a company.
Also the enrolment into computer science courses here in Iceland has been growing quite a lot of late, so there is fresh pool of eager minds graduating every year.

CCP’s EVE Online’s currency is ISK, referring directly to the Icelandic currency and creating a small link between the game world and its country of origin. Can we expect some such reference or easter egg in Ceres?

No, not really. There is one station named Reykjavík along with other Nordic cities.
I never really planned any Easter eggs for the game. Too much focus on the game controls.

Ceres, I’m assuming, is a reference to the potentially life-harboring dwarf planet found between Mars and Jupiter, rather than the ancient Roman goddess of Agriculture. What does the title signify in the game world?

Actually it’s both. Both the dwarf planet and the Roman goddess. The game has some Roman influences. Most characters have Roman names and the main storyline uses the Dii Consentes as inspiration to the game. The idea was to have everything with a Roman influence but I found it to be too constricting, so it’s mostly only character names, ship names and the main mission.