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Gris - Conrad Roset Interview

Nomada Studio's Gris was one of the hits of last year, and we talked with creative director Conrad Roset about the game during Gamelab.

Audio transcription

"We are at Gamelab 2019 and it's a real pleasure to me personally to talk to you, Conrad, on camera for the first time because Gris was one of my Games of the Year last year and I think you're gonna grab a bunch of awards this afternoon here at Gamelab.
I really loved how you guys deal with issues such as anxiety, loss, loneliness."

"How did you guys thought of approaching these topics with this game?
Yes, we wanted to tell an emotional story. We wanted to concentrate on feelings, we wanted to touch emotionally the player.
So that's why we didn't want to tell too many elements about the story.
We wanted to have an open ending and it's really a story about personal evolution."

"It struck me as interesting that perhaps for those emotions to be clearer or the emotional phases the character goes through, you clearly marked them as levels and as colors and as worlds.
Was that idea something you wanted to do just to send a clearer message to the player for him to identify himself with these emotional stages compared to other more abstract games that are not so clear in terms of emotions?
So the first idea that I had about the game was really to have something black and white and to move from black and white to lots of colors, as many colors as possible."

"So that was the idea we had at day one.
And then we needed to have an evolution of the game that could fit with that idea of the evolutions of the colors.
And we needed a story that could fit that.
And we thought together as a team, I'm not working on my own, we thought about a story of personal evolution."

"So there's lots of different ideas involved such as trauma, overcoming situations, but I really want to state clearly that first it was about a narrative that goes from zero colors to many colors and then we had the second narrative which was the personal story that we fit to that.
That's cool, that's interesting."

"How much did you get personally involved in game design?
Not just in the art side, in the art message of things.
I come from the world of illustration, I'm an artist, an illustrator.
Of course, I love videogames, it's my hobby."

"I come from the illustration world, I'm an artist, an illustrator.
I come from the illustration world, I'm an illustrator, I'm an artist myself.
But at the same time, I love videogames.
I've been playing the console since I was a little boy."

"So I was involved in the game design.
Of course, we have professionals that take care of that.
But narrative and game design go really close together.
And I was really involved in the whole design because it's an important part of the whole thing to explain the story."

"Now that you mention your background, it's interesting as well, as you've been illustrating for fashion and for advertisement.
How do you think that helped you reach a wider audience or catch the attention of players?
You being an expert on both fashion and ads, and not just entering videogames now."

"My background has indeed helped for different reasons.
First of all, I had already my social networks with people, followers.
So that was good to start showing the game, we were not starting from scratch.
And also because I would say that 70% of the people involved in Gris are not from the typical videogame industry itself."

"There's people from the art world, from the animation sector as well, cinema, advertisements.
It was not just purely videogame people.
So that has helped us create a different product and also for different people.
It's not aimed at the typical people who play videogames."

"It's opening the market, it's a wider audience.
People who have never played a videogame have played Gris and liked it.
We've opened the market, the target.
In fact, since the game, since Gris has worked so well, in Nomada Studio we want to continue developing other games."

"We want to focus on games that are even more narrative, that explain more narrative.
And also we want them to have more gameplay.
So we want to add to the aesthetics of Gris more kind of gameplay.
I can give you good examples along these lines, such as Shadow of the Colossus or The Last Guardian from Fumito Ueda."

"They are examples of good stories with very good design, but also with a good gameplay added to it.
It's a game that has a very good gameplay, but the story and the design are on top of everything.
And I always focus on that, on Fumito Ueda, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian, etc.
The point is that now we are exploring more narrative paths and paths with more gameplay, and we'll see what happens."

"Yeah, and it's so nice that you mentioned references now, such as Fumito Ueda and Metroidvania.
I was asking about references now, and I think, if I'm correct, that Moebius was one huge inspiration for you.
To me, it's personally one of my favorite artists, back when Jean Giraud and then the Moebius, Inca era.
So, what can you tell us about this influence specifically?
I'd like to explain that we've taken influences from many different areas."

"Moebius is a great reference, especially when it comes to compositions.
Because the characters are really small at the end of the day.
So, I got influences from video games, video clips, Journey, Inside, Dear Esther, Shadow of the Colossus.
Also, I got inspired with Sleeping Beauty to depict all of the forest, Ghibli for the plants in the forest."

"I also got inspired in the sculptures of Calder.
So, we spent a year looking for references.
So, we got influences from many different places.
So, I'm optimistic about it."

"Alright, closing one. I think we're running out of time.
Being here in Barcelona, being here at Gamelab, looking at other indie projects, meeting other developers, I guess that's also enriching for you, and I guess you're going to be present at this conference, congress, in the future.
So, what do you feel about the community gathering here in Barcelona of developers, both at Gamelab and in the city?
I am super excited that it is being held here in Barcelona, usually, to come to a gathering of this sort with so many important people."

"You need to travel, and it's really an honor to be here.
I haven't really seen that many sessions of Gamelab, but I think it's a super pleasure to just grab a cup and be here in 10 minutes.
Alright, thank you so much for your time.
Good luck tonight with the awards, and keep up the good job, guys."

"Muchas gracias.
Thank you."

Gamelab

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