Made in KG: World of One — The Very First Kyrgyz Indie Platformer
Made in KG section is about different businesses based in the Kyrgyz Republic, stories behind both established businesses and startups worth attention. Last time we've told you about the Kyrgyz organic food manufacturer, OA Kyrgyz Organic. This time it is a totally different sector — game development. World of One is the very first Kyrgyz indie platformer.
A lot of people in the Kyrgyz Republic were pleased to learn recently there are people in the country capable of creating high quality games. Creator of the game, Grimwood Team studio is now a national pride in game design, which is not a typical Kyrgyz industry.
Andrei Gribiniuk who is also a quite well-known user named Amortiz on a popular local online board, says he started working in game development industry in the beginning of this project when he realized he had to make the game enjoyable for gamers. A number of issues from color range up to contents of different view modes had to be made properly. Andrei already had some experience in creating Flash games, but that was different.
Before diving into game development he used to test apps and design banners — experience, which turned out to be rather helpful. Still, as Andrei says, he had to learn much more then he thought he would need to.
Grimwood Team, the studio which created World of One, is now quite popular in local media. It was founded when Andrei, together with his colleagues Sergei Alexeev and Roman Trufanov, decided to turn their hobby into a game company and business of their life.
World of One is their first project. But the studio has ambitious plans — to start with the company is planning to create a fun slasher game with lots of blood to rest from dark and slow atmosphere of World of One. To bring their plans into life and to launch more games from slashers to browser games the company will expand hiring new talents.
The name of the studio, Grimwood Team, was chosen because it sounds good and reflects the type of games the studio wants to produce — dark and atmospheric.
The game starts when something starts to bother the main character and he feels he needs to go. His way will have numerous puzzles to solve and battles to win. The idea of the game came to Andrei back in high school, so it is a remake of that game in a way. The game's idea was not quite clear at the time, recalls Andrei who is a big fan of RPG games. The very first version was a Flash platformer game — it was not that easy to make an RPG game on Flash. A platformer type is a perfect match for World of One, — says Andrei.
The dark atmosphere is not accidental — Andrei says the team likes this type of games more and there are too many fun games already. The name, World of One, reflects the loneliness of the main character who is alone on his own planet and stays along all the way up to the end.
Contrast colors have always inspired Andrei, since the very first version on Flash — black and white seemed more stylish than multiple colors. Many people started comparing World of One with another dark game, Limbo. The studio replied in a comment on Steam that while World of One might be visually similar, it's a totally different game. Andrei says Limbo was present back in 2011 when he was making the Flash version, but he didn't play and didn't consciously take its style.
Another thing people keep commenting and asking about is The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's novella has a direct relation to the game — the concept of the planet itself with a character who doesn't even know about the other worlds still seems exciting to Andrei.
In one of the interviews Andrei mentioned that Kyrgyz programmers often prefer building websites and apps to developing games. Now this case might inspire some to join game design. Andrei says the main reason is that the industry is not developed — it requires vast resources to start as well as lots of risk and there are no companies providing salaries so programmers choose more developed sectors.
Andrei knows people from the Kyrgyz Republic who develop games, but they do that as a hobby having full-time jobs. He hopes World of One will be a success and Grimwood Team will become the first company to provide jobs in Kyrgyz games industry. There are already people interested in joining the studio and asking about skills required. Andrei says the range is wide — from programming to drawing and writing music, but even one single skill is enough.
The game was presented at a number of different conferences and contests. It has also passed Steam Greenlight and became a Discovery of the Year on the latest Kyrgyz IT Forum. Some popular game-related channels on YouTube have reviewed World of One recently. Andrei says the Kyrgyz IT Forum award was a surprise and he hopes the attitude to game development changes thanks to their team. The most difficult part was losing enthusiasm, as in every startup, — recalls Andrei. It is easy to be passionate about the idea in the first months, but when you realize there are more months and even years to come, you have to make yourself go till the very end — it is easy if you understand why you are doing that and what your ultimate goal is, — says Andrei.
Grimwood Team has spent significant funds to build the game. It used to consider crowfunding options too at first, but then decided not to go that way. According to Andrei, Grimwood Team has some sponsor support currently, but the studio puts hopes on sales. The advertising campaign has already been launched not to be lost among other indie games.
The PC version of the game will go live in April 2017. World of One will also be available on Mac and Linux. The range of languages will grow, currently it includes Russian, English, German, French, Spanish, Ukrainian and Kyrgyz. As for the mobile versions and consoles there are no exact dates yet, but the studio says they will try not to make it too long.