Semblance Gamescom 2017 Interview
Semblance is a puzzle platformer where your character and the world it inhabits is made of playdough. Squish, squash and deform your character and the world to solve puzzles in Semblance’s soft, bouncy world. Semblance is a game that makes the platformer, one of the most saturated and stale genres of games today, feel fresh and interesting again.
The game is made by Nyamakop.
We found Semblance at the Indie Arena Booth of Gamescom 2017 and had the pleasure to talk with one of the developers of the game. We talked with Cukia “Sugar” Kimani, who is a programmer and also does some of the business stuff for the studio.
Cukia, together with Ben Myers, they are the founders of Nyamakop and they basically started the team right after their university studies. Cukia told us that another, much more experienced, developer saw their project and took interest in it. “He messaged us, said he liked our game and since then, he has mentored us all the way to the point we are at now,” he explained.
This is Nyamakop’s first commercial game and although they have made a lot of games and received a lot of awards for them too, this is the first time that the studio has tried making money out of game development. Semblance has been in development for about a year now but “it has been conceptually stewing for quite a long time.”
One of the main mechanics in the game, actually came out of a bug that the team found, as Cukia explained to us. “One day I was testing something and the character just started going more and more into the floor. I called Ben and told him that, we had found our next mechanic. A lot of work and coding later, we had our new mechanic.” Ben calls it black magic just because it is so mysterious and so hard to replicate.
Cukia told us that they tried to go with a more minimalistic approach when it came to the narrative. “It is an experience that you somewhat explore for yourself and interpet it in your own way. The mechanics of the game also work somewhat the same way and are make sense as you go through the game.”
Cukia then told us that they wanted to “tell the story together with the player,” exclaiming how “deep” the game’s narrative is while we joked about the quote. Jokes and fun things said aside though, it was quite awesome hearing Cukia explain the depth of Semblance’s narrative and how the developers managed to tie everything together through the game’s design process. “We are using our limitations as our strengths.”
The game has no specific release date just yet but the studio is hoping to bring the game out on Steam around the second quarter of 2018. “It is only a matter of finishing touches at the moment.”