UNRAVEL

Here’s a game that took everyone by surprise, its subtlety making it unique. Coldwood Interactive had been going through a bad stretch for some time, with many of their games not garnering the kind...

Here’s a game that took everyone by surprise, its subtlety making it unique.

Coldwood Interactive had been going through a bad stretch for some time, with many of their games not garnering the kind of attention they’d have liked, and some of it being the unfavourable kind that any developer would like to avoid. So when they first pitched Unravel, for it to come off as promising enough to get a publishing deal with EA was by itself a major hurdle crossed. Following its announcement at E3 2015, the game has not only been well received and praised, with people already looking forward to its arrival, but Martin Sahlin, the creative director for the project has also been the center of many posts on social media platforms (like Twitter and Tumblr), for his enthusiastic display on stage of what the game was about. Unravel is about an anthropomorphized ball of yarn named Yarny, and Yarny is in turn a representation of love, who unravels and leaves string behind wherever it travels; at all points you are moving away from what you love, and need to find your way back, by retracing your connections. Coldwood has maintained that they always believed that games are supposed to be entertaining but they need to convey a core message if possible, because it’s a powerful medium to do just that, successfully.

The game is a physics based puzzle platformer, and since you’ve always left string behind on every path you take, you can always go back to use the same area in different ways this time, to get to other parts of the same space that you never could before, explore more, and eventually connect some dots. It is visual depiction what humans do instinctively, the hazy lines of their mind that collectively chart out the abstract emotions involved in relationships, represented here in a fun physics game, with Yarny quite literally being what the heart wants. This isn’t a mind bender of a game though, so expect everything you see to be very tangible, even if at its core, it’s about something intangible. You’ll be interacting with a world that’s beautiful, a world that has been inspired in landscape by Umea, Sweden. The idea came to Sahlin on a camping trip with his family, and he decided to include the countryside in the game itself. The environments created based on the verdant countryside of Northern Scandinavia are nothing short of breath-taking.

When you see the trailer, you can’t help feel a twinge of sadness, because despite the cute antics on display, the music sets the mood as melancholic. This tale might be one that’s tragic. Sahlin’s own statement seems to re-emphasize this: game was personal, it had to have impact, nothing ground-breaking but definitely holding deeper meaning. Unfortunately, nobody knows when the game might be coming out, but given the content it handles, late this year, during the holidays, seems like the perfect time to have it out, because it would make for a great gift for friends and family, undoubtedly.

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