A few weeks ago, RIME re-emerged after months of complete radio silence. A former PlayStation 4 exclusive, it had become a multi-platformer title, also coming to the not-yet-completely-revealed Nintendo Switch. If you’re wondering what happened between the last time the game was seen and its re-emergence, the interview published yesterday by IGN has all the answers you seek.
In that interview, Raul Rubio (Creative Director) admit the game may have been revealed too early. He also admit there were several times when the team thought the game would never come out, though they did manage to pull through in the end. Quite interestingly, the delays were due to technical difficulties, not really financial or business-related (despite Sony selling back the rights to the game to the developers).
With such a long development cycle, it stands to reason that the game changed a lot through development. While the main frame remained unchanged (a boy on an island, with a mysterious tower), a lot changed. On the technical side, the team switched to Unreal Engine 4 (which itself evolved over time): that allowed them to do many things they could not before (such as effects, etc.).
But the biggest change was the scope, and here’s what Raul Rubio had to say about that:
When we started Rime it was a small indie game – and that’s still the case, a small indie game – but the reception of the first trailer at Gamescom was overwhelming. So when we returned to the studio we said ‘You know what? They love it… but now it needs to be perfect because otherwise they are going to kill us’.
That’s what we have been doing since 2013. The game was playable then, and had been playable for six months, but being playable doesn’t mean that it’s the game.
Believe it or not, RIME has been content complete since 2015, but the last 10% is taking a lot of time. One of the reason is that players are always really critical of indie games, and many compare them directly to AAA titles with significantly bigger teams and budgets. Therefore, developers have to make sure the game is simply perfect:
It may sound like a lot of time, but considering how difficult it is making games today with so many platforms and so many great competitors out there, it means that people don’t see the difference between an indie game and a AAA game,” Rubio said. “It’s just a good or a bad game, and we wanted to make a good game. A very good game.
Finally, the developers also talked about how they approached development, and how they did “design by subtraction”. Back in 2014, they had too many things in the game, so they had to trim things out, in order to end with the minimalist result they were aiming for.
RIME (Switch eShop) will be released in May.