A portion of a GamesBeat interview with Raul Rubio, founder and creative director of TequilaWorks…
GamesBeat: What do you think was appealing about Rime? Why did you win so many awards?
Rubio: Again, Rime is a good example of something that for us was very personal. Originally, when we started the project, we thought it would just be an ordinary adventure. Rime is a game about childhood and about loss, which is quite strange, but we wanted the player to feel like a kid again. That’s something we all have in common. We’ve all had ideas like that once. We wanted adults to feel like children, exploring a world and not being aware of the dangers of the world.
We took inspiration from the Mediterranean because it’s where we all grew up. For us, these colors, the light, the breeze, they’re all things we wanted to translate onto the screen. That’s how we see the world. What we realized as we worked on Rime, though, is that for us this was ordinary, but for other people overseas it was extraordinary. People would talk to us about how fantasy games usually tend to be influenced by things like Nordic fantasy, and we’d created something different, something that reminded them of Wind Waker and Ico.
Now, on the one hand, it’s great to be compared to those masterpieces. Those are very big games, and we’re an indie title made by 18 people. At the same time, why was it so special? People pointed out the pastel colors, the light, and they asked where our inspiration came from. Well, part of it is from the Mediterranean, and part of it is because the master of light was Joaquín Sorolla, a Spanish painter from the 19th century. He specialized in painting beach scenes. He was very good at painting light and the movement of the waves. It’s a natural inspiration for us because we all studied him when we went to art school. It was just another influence on us.
The other thing that makes Rime unique is we were bold enough to make a game with no combat at all. Again, we wanted the player to feel like a child. Relying on violence and frontal confrontation to create conflict made no sense. When you’re a kid you have to use your wits, because you aren’t very strong. I’m certain that most of us never used a sword to kill monsters when we were kids. Getting rid of violence and keeping true to what makes a kid a kid, that was the right decision.
There’s also no dialogue in the game – no menus, no text, no tutorials, nothing. You’re just in there alone. You, the player, are the one who needs to learn, just like a kid. You need to learn the rules of this world, because of course it’s not our world. It’s a very surrealist world. That’s another Italian influence. We use things like negative space. Like a child, you look at something and think, “That’s not very far away, I think I can grab it.” But you can’t do it.
In the end it was very well-received. Last night was a consequence of that. But what makes Rime for real—we created a story, a narrative, where instead of telling you the story, we created a structure so you create the story yourself with your experiences. You fill in the gaps and complete it. When you finish the game and reach the ending, it’s something that for you—your personal experience makes sense once you’ve completed it.
The sales and the reviews from critics are very nice, but what’s important to us are the letters we’re receiving from fans, sharing their personal stories with us. Those stories—some of them are quite dramatic and broken. But again, those letters – and this is very important – are from people all over the world. It shows that we managed to create a narrative that could appeal to a global audience. Telling a story with no words.
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