Anew: The Distant Light – Preview & Interview

In a distant future, man will seek to colonize planets in far distant galaxy’s in hopes of expanding the human race. The question isn’t how we’ll get there but what will happen when we arrive?

Anew: The Distant Light painstakingly grown created by Resonator, seeks to answer this fundamental question by forcing us to survive on a barren infested wasteland filled to the brim with Dangerous skull devouring aliens.

From the razor sharp Barnacle like monsters that hang from the ceiling to the stitched together behemoth Creatures, Exploration of this organic story telling environment feels fluid and charming yet still extremely dangerous.

With it’s Nifty platforming design and a unique eye poping atmosphere,
Anew: The Distant Light is shaping up to be the space faring title to watch out for on the horizon

For more Space faring adventures you can visit Resonator’s website here.

If you’d like a more personal look into the world of Anew though check out our interview with half of the Resonator Co-Founding duo below.

Special thanks goes to Resonator for giving us access to Anew: The Distant Light for this preview and taking the time to speak with us.

Our interview with half of the Resonator Co-Founding Dream Duo, Jeff Spoonhower:

What got you both started working on Anew: The Distant Light?

My development partner, Steve Copeland, and I were introduced through a mutual friend and colleague named Tom Happ (creator of “Axiom Verge). Tom and I went to graduate school at Rochester Institute of Technology together, and Tom worked at a game studio with Steve many years ago. The timing was pretty funny on the introduction. Steve and I (who did not know each other) both independently contacted Tom about working on a game together after “Axiom Verge” launched. Tom ended up introducing Steve and I, and we hit it off really well. We’ve been working on Anewtogether since 2014. We both love the action-exploration genre (Metroidvania) and decided to work on our own unique take on this type of game. It’s been fun and a huge challenge to pull off.

What was the inspiration behind Anew?

Inspiration has come from many sources. We spent a lot of time as kids playing the classic back-catalog of Nintendo games like Metroid, Zelda, Contra, Mega Man, and so on. We’re trying to channel the pure platforming and exploration fun of those games into our own. Steve is a big fan of Cave Story and Dark Souls, and I love Playdead’s games – specifically the ways they elicit emotional responses purely through visuals and sound. As far as the specific look, sound, and tone of our game, I’ve been influenced by a life-long love of surrealist and expressionist art, and 20th century orchestral music. Composers such as Bela Bartok, John Adams, and others have inspired all sorts of strange ideas in Anew.

Have there been many challenges so far in the creation of Anew? What was the biggest?

Yes, many! I think any indie developer would agree that the process of making a game is essentially an unending series of obstacles that you must overcome. They start in pre-production and occur at each step along the way, past launch even. One big challenge we’ve faced is just the massive amount of work that needs to be done by our small team of two. We each wear the hats of at least 10 full-time studio employees, so we need to be really good, and fast, at doing different types of work in a wide variety of disciplines. Another big challenge has been scheduling. Since we are constantly inventing new things as we make our game (things that we’ve never done before) we run into “unknown unknowns.” To put it another way, we don’t know what tough challenges lie ahead until we hit them, and then often times they take a significant amount of time to solve. Discoverability is a huge issue for all indie devs right now, us included. There are so many indie games coming out, that it’s challenging to stand out in the crowd.

What’s your favorite creation of horror in Anew?

Well, we’re not specifically making a horror game, but I’m hoping that some of our creatures and bosses will make players’ skin crawl a bit! Many of the physical gameplay spaces in our game have a strange, off-putting, surrealist tone which we hope will give players a feeling of discomfort – like they are truly in an unknown, unknowable, alien world. 

What’s the average week in the shoes of the duo team while creating Anew in the leadup to release?

In short, working all the time! This game has been a huge commitment – one that we are passionate about – but it does require an intense amount of time to pull off. We’ve set a high bar for ourselves and we want to make sure the game turns out really well. As far as our actual weekly schedules go, I usually wake up around 7am (7 days a week –  I have kids) and I’m off to the races with production by 7:45 am. I take a quick 10 minute lunch break, get some exercise for a half hour, then work until dinner. I usually work for another hour or two in the evening after my kids go to bed. 9-10 hour days, 6 days a week, have pretty much been the norm for us the entire production. Steve’s on a slightly different schedule which is pushed back a bit later in the day, but he works similar hours as me. Also, I’m on eastern time and Steve is on pacific time, so we’re almost, literally, working around the clock!

~Aaron Nicholls

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