If you haven’t played GRIS on Nintendo Switch yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up immediately. The game has cemented itself among other indie games that straddle the line between video game and art exhibit. We got a chance to talk with Conrad Roset, creative director for the game. He shared some insights into the development behind GRIS and whether or not we’ll be seeing a physical version any time soon.
The world first learned about GRIS through an art exhibit that debuted in the Foley art gallery in New York City. Guests were treated to a stunning visual array of paintings before it was revealed that they were actually screenshots from an upcoming video game.
“We’re really seeing video games as a form of art. We don’t think there are so many differences between movies and art. The same way that you see movies about everything, there should be games about everything.”
– Roger Mendoza, co-founder of Nomada Studio
1. What sparked the initial idea for GRIS?
I have always been a fan of video games, and I wanted to make one since a while back. Then I saw a sketch from a coworker at the time and I had this idea about a colorless world that recovered its color as the player advanced.
2. What were some of your inspirations for the music featured in GRIS?
I had already knew and had worked with Berlinist, like doing album covers, and knew that they would be great for GRIS. We let them work freely, and the final result has been outstanding.
3. Was the music designed around the gameplay or the music composed and then gameplay created around it?
A bit of both. Their development was simultaneous and they rubbed off each other organically.
The music and visuals of GRIS have been closely intertwined since Nomada Studio began work on the game. The team wanted to create a relaxing experience that could evoke emotions even in people who are just watching the game, rather than playing it.
“Our first ideas revolved around creating a game that evolved visually, not only mechanically, as the player advanced through it. With Gris, we try to go for an emotional, unique and accessible experience, something anyone can play and interpret personally.”
– Adrian Cuevas, co-founder of Nomada Studio
4. GRIS was your artist’s first work on a video game. What were some of the challenges you faced working with a more traditional artist?
For starters it was hard for me to work with repeating assets. I wanted GRIS to feel as a whole illustration and I had the sense that those wouldn’t work with that vision. But in the end I believe we achieved a good balance between visuals and performance.
5. GRIS is a pretty linear experience, are there any plans to explore this world in another setting that may be more open?
No, GRIS is a complete, closed work. We told what we wanted to tell with it.
“If you play Gris you can notice a lot of elements from other games. You know, we are a painter, a musician but we are also gamers. So we played a lot of Monument Valley, Journey, Child of Light, Limbo and Inside from Playdead.
So the idea was to combine the core elements that we loved the most but try to interpret them, to make a different interpretation of those elements and make them unique.”
– Composer Marco Albano
6. What was the biggest challenge you faced with the sound design? How difficult was it to tie it in with the animations and various scenes?
Our sound designer did an excellent job, but in several occasions it was tricky to coordinate animations with sounds seamlessly due to the high framerate.
7. Plenty of people are looking forward to a potential physical release of the game. Do you have anything you can share in regards to an eventual physical release of GRIS?
There isn’t a really a physical edition planned, but we aren’t discarding the possibility either.
How’s the Switch?
8. Did you experience any technical challenges getting the game to run well on Switch?
In general, we were pleasantly surprise with how good the game looked on Switch and how quick we could load from disk. However we had to be careful with the processor because it’s not as powerful as a PC.
9. How well has the game performed on Switch versus PC release?
There hasn’t been a big difference between the two, it worked really well in both platforms.
10. What made you decide to focus on the Nintendo Switch as the exclusive console release for the game?
As a whole, we believed the console format and controls fit better, in general, and would work the best with GRIS.
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