Unsighted: Trans Developers Reach Peak With Game – 05/05/2022 – Tec

A small Brazilian gaming studio set up by two trans women has managed to confront the American, Chinese and Japanese giants that dominate the sector.

Inspired by the Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Castlevania and Dark Souls franchises, Unsighted tells the story of a world where basic non-renewable resources are running out and salvation depends on the dark Android.

The game was created by 30-year-old Fernanda Dias and 26-year-old Tian Pixel, who form Studio Pixel Punk. The duo succeeded in having a game on the selected list of Brazilians who achieved international popularity.

In an industry that is constantly bombarding consumers with the most advanced and expensive items in computer graphics, Unsighted brakes and joins the wave of games, arguing that low budgets and less realistic experience do not prevent the realization of a quality title.

The game, which started as a prototype presented at the BIG Festival 2018, an annual Brazilian event focused on indie games, took three and a half years to develop and commercially release by American publisher (distributor) Humble Games in September 2021.

Unsighted’s story, which covers topics such as ecology, diversity and technology, takes place in an almost uninhabited future, in which the fall of a meteorite containing the substance “anima” once and for all expels people and gives machine guns consciousness.

The discovery of this use of “anima” forces people to return and go to war against the now-sensitive androids, for whom a deficiency of the substance does not mean death, but transformation into the invisible (“without vision” or “hidden”). In translation). In Portuguese) – a violent version of oneself.

The gameplay that combines several mechanics from the classic video games that make Unsighted stand out is the sense of urgency that it conveys. As the “anima” substance expires, all the machines have a shelf life, including the main character, Alma.

The game sets a finish time limit that can even be turned off in the options menu, but it gives the game the rhythm of the end of the world and still forces the player to choose well if he wants to save some. Characters more than others ..

“Unsighted takes a lot of these game formulas that the player is familiar with and tries to die for it,” Fernanda explains.

Fernanda and Tian have caught the attention of companies that sponsor and distribute games by presenting a version of Unsighted at the BIG Festival that is still far from ready, but incomplete.

As is common in the entertainment industry, studios receive funding to produce their work after presenting a sample of what will be done throughout the production. In cinema this is done with short films. Prototype or demo in video games.

Studio Pixel Punk Differential should have thought of the Unsighted prototype as a vertical slot for the game, that is, featuring its basic graphics and gameplay features, but without leaving out minor details such as menus, dialogs, and personalization.

“We knew that in order to impress the publisher, we needed to show that we knew how to handle all stages of development, from developing cool gameplay to a settings menu,” says Tian.

“Sometimes it’s nonsense – a lot of people leave it at the last minute – but the publisher knows it’s important and for the game to work, everything has to be done as soon as possible. Professionalization, which was something. .

In a country where most players play on mobile phones before devoting themselves exclusively to Unsighted, Tian perfected his programming skills from time to time working for Brazilian companies in the field.

A recent graduate of Digital Games College and experiencing a culture of moderates (people changing software) and developers in the 2000s, he decided to save money by working on a copyright project that he truly believed in.

It was during the pre-production of the game that he met Tianna Fernanda, who was studying piano at UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) and wanted to apply his music skills to video game production. The partnership took place and Diaz was eventually responsible for creating the retrofuturistic ballads packaged in Unsighted.

After dozens of publishers, both Brazilian and foreign, contacted the studio, they decided to complete the deal with American company Humble Games. The company, before launching independent products in 2017, was known for its philanthropic sales of games, the “Pay What You Want” system, in which the user chose the price they wanted to pay for the package of selected titles.

“A lot of people make a mistake and sign the first publication that appears, but we did not do that. It was a caution that we had to analyze the different proposals and understand what to expect from the proposal. Fernanda.

The strong presence of mobile games in the country has even forced Studio Pixel Punk to consider releasing Unsighted for mobile phones, but investing in dollars and making sure the game would be available on consoles would allow for more ambitious production.

The publisher’s investment, the amount of which was not reported, they said was only a small part of what studios in rich countries get. Small distributors are interested in games made in countries like Brazil and India because of their low price and ease of return on investment.

However, that did not stop Unsighted from being considered one of the best indie games of 2021. Or one of the best games.

In the Polygon’s Best of the Year list, one of the top U.S. vehicles for gaming, Unsighted was ranked 10th, ahead of titles such as Forza Horizon 5, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. Produced and distributed by some. From the largest companies in the industry.

Inequality of resources is reflected not only at the expense of game development, but also in the structure of marketing and game distribution. For example, while an American indie phenomenon like Hollow Knight, which launched in 2017, has nearly 200,000 reviews on Steam, in Valve’s online store, Unsighted has around 650.

What helped the game’s popularity was its launch at no extra charge on the Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s game subscription service, the platform on which Unsighted played the most (the game is also available for the Nintendo Switch and PS4).

Now the two developers living together in Santo Andre are positively seeing the development of the game, a market that generated $ 180.3 billion in 2021.

Publisher funding, unappreciated real and commercial and critical success of the game meant that they could spend the last four years exclusively working with video games, dreaming of childhood and still guaranteeing a future part of the studio they founded.

“With what we get from Unsighted, we can comfortably create a prototype for our next game, the pitch. [proposta] From him to the publisher and continue in this cycle of development, “said Fernanda.

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