Meet the Labsters: Multinational start-up soon to release their first game
Being classmates in Digital Design at Aarhus University, Lukas and Valur met each other in late 2015. After the first semester Valur asked Lukas “Do you feel like doing something?”. And then Atlaga was born.
We asked the Atlaga team about their game and the journey from idea to release, and Valur Zophoníasson, the game director of Atlaga, answered:
What are you working on?
Atlaga is a graphical text adventure game set in the Viking Age and is centered around a highborn lady from the north that is stranded in a mysterious unknown land. In order to survive, the player must make challenging decisions in a harsh environment. Journeying through hand painted and atmospheric environments the player will unravel the story and discover the truth behind the strange and unforgiving situation.
I think one of the most fascinating things about game development is that you bring so many different kinds of skills and competences to the table. We have a really skilled programmer, Paul, who has created a interactive, narrative flow. Then we have Katie and I writing the story. And then, of course, Lukas is handdrawing in Photoshop and then bringing his painting into the game.
Tell about the genre and the way of storytelling.
The story is a second thought on the Viking age and all the possible events that took place there and remain shrouded in mystery. The events that unfold in Atlaga reveal a more fragile picture of the perceived glorified Viking invasions. The raiders become the raided and the roaring battles are replaced with a nightmarish struggle for survival – culminating in a fantasy horror experience.
How did you get into this kind of production?
Being classmates in Digital Design at Aarhus University, Lukas and I met each other in late 2015. After the first semester, during a lull moment in early january 2016, I literally asked Lukas “Do you feel like doing something?”.
After brainstorming and planning, we set out to actively practice what we were studying – with a bit of fun. Lukas quickly recruited his friend Paul, who was studying Programming at the time. Initially consisting of 6 guys, our team met up once a week for a few hours in random empty spaces around campus. As time passed and individuals evolved, people naturally started jumping off the wagon to pursue their own interests and passions. What remains now, after two years, is a strong core.
The journey of Atlaga and the know-hows collected on the way has inspired the team to take on new future projects, that have the potential to move others with rich storytelling, art and dynamic systems.
What is the end goal for your product, and how has the journey been to come to the point of where it is at now?
What we set out to do from the beginning was to focus on the design process, grow as a team and gain experience. For us, developing a game product was always secondary so we altered the game’s setting and plot a few times according technical requirements and our individual competences. At one point the project was going to be a tactical viking simulator and at another a ‘Myst-style’ hidden object game. Now we are getting closer to a different but realized game project with pockets full of invaluable experience.