[email protected] - One Upon Light Interview

By Rebecca Smith, 1 year ago
Rising Star Games brought a number of their upcoming titles to EGX so that gamers could get a sneak preview before the games' release. The first of these titles to enter the spotlight, or avoid it as the case may be, is puzzle title One Upon Light.

The game puts players in the shoes of a scientist that finds himself in an abandoned science laboratory. Unfortunately, this scientist has an affliction — an extremely strong allergy to light. This allergy causes him intense pain whenever he comes into contact with light. If he stays in the light for long enough he will die. Players must come up with ever more creative ways to avoid the light. Our hands-on demo started with the scientist able to step around the patches of light to progress through the laboratory. The difficulty slowly increased as we used boxes to block windows and had to use perfect timing to avoid the rotating glare of the spotlight. By the time that we reached the final level in the demo, we were using sensors to turn off lights in sequence, conveyor belts to transport blocks from location to location, and touch pads to open doors to allow us to access new areas. Eventually players will even get the ability of a mysterious Shadow Echo ability to aid their progress.

Who is this scientist, though, and what happened to result in his new affliction and the complete abandonment of the laboratory? We sat down with developer SUTD Game Lab to get some inside information.

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What is the story behind the abandonment of the science facility?

We like to maintain a level of mystery for our game. I can only reveal that through the course of the game, you will uncover the mysteries behind the Aurora Science Facility’s current state. Moving through the perilous abandoned science facility, you’ll come to realise that there has been an explosion possibly linked to a secret experiment. Piece together the journal pages collected at the end of each level to uncover the true story.

Who is the scientist and why is he still there?

The Scientist is a scientifically brilliant male in his early 30s. A prodigy of sorts, his early accomplishments have left him callous and self-absorbed, but not unsympathetic or cruel. The fallout of the explosion has wiped out his memory. His inherent curiosity to uncover the reason for the current state of Aurora Science keeps him there.

How does the Shadow Echo ability work?

We came up with the Shadow Echo to enable the Scientist to manipulate shadows. Using it, he is able to "record" shadows as they appear, then use them to progress even if the real shadow vanishes.

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The game has been appearing at game shows like EGX. How has player feedback shaped the game?

We delighted in watching players tackle the various puzzles during such game showcases as it helped us to identify and refine the level designs of our game. I remember that it wasn’t until we were inundated with questions about the story behind the Scientist’s photophobia that we forced ourselves to sit down and refine our game narrative.

Is there anything that has changed since the start of development, such as ideas that had to be scrapped or new amazing ideas that just had to be added in?

During the giddy days of early ideation, we toyed with the idea of enemy agents that would incapacitate the Scientist, as well as “light shifting” whereby the player could carry timed light from point to point. When reality hit, these ideas were refined within the context of our puzzle-style gameplay to allow the player to manipulate light and shadows at each level through interaction with the environment and its objects. The challenge of manipulating static and movable light sources became an amazing source of ideas for us.

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The game used to be called Dying Light until that had to be changed. How did it feel to be beaten to the punch with your game title?

There were yells, gnashing of teeth and screams when we lost our working title to the zombie hoard. News of Dying Light, a zombie apocalypse game, was announced mere hours after our public debut at Casual Connect Asia 2013. We were kicking ourselves whilst scrambling for a substitute title to convey how fatal light was to our protagonist. Thankfully, a mathematical equation and its inverse notation provided the inspiration for our new name.

Unlike many other game titles, our title is an allegory for our team’s efforts working on the game while coming under the spotlight. There were two instances of this – in the early days of our public debut when many gaming fans searching for news on the zombie game ‘Dying Light’ stumbled upon our similarly titled game instead, and when we were awarded the ‘Best Game’ award at the 5th Annual Independent Games Festival (IGF) China.

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What was your inspiration behind the game?

We were interested in making a game that played with opposites, beyond the simple concepts of black and white, yin and yang. From there, our game designer Justin Kang created puzzles that made use of the idea of light as a danger, with the player having to manipulate the environment to create and use shadows for safety.

What sort of thing can we expect from the trophy list?

We aim to delight fans with seven trophies within the 20 levels of the game — 3 bronze, 2 silver and 2 gold trophies. A potential fan favourite is the achievement for mastering the Shadow Echo at level 12.

One Upon LightArtificial NocturneThe Artificial Nocturne trophy in One Upon Light worth 22 pointsMastered the Echo

Is the game still on schedule to release on Playstation 4 this month and what price point can players expect?

The game is scheduled for release on PS4 next Tuesday, October 13th, 2015. More details will be revealed by our publisher, Rising Star Games, as the launch date approaches.
Rebecca Smith
Written by Rebecca Smith
Rebecca is the Newshound Manager at TrueGaming Network. She has been contributing articles since 2010, especially those that involve intimidatingly long lists. When not writing news, she works in an independent game shop so that she can spend all day talking about games too. She'll occasionally go outside.