We’re currently working on a review for Echoes of the Fey: The Fox’s Trail, so we got in touch with Woodsy Studio to talk about the game’s development for Sony’s PS4.
PS4Blog: Hello! Good to have you two with us at PS4Blog.net. Could you please get us started by introducing yourself to our readers and telling them a bit about your work and your role at Woodsy Studio?
MALCOLM: Woodsy Studio is a two-person studio based in Saint Louis, Missouri founded by Jenny Gibbons and Malcolm Pierce (me). We make adventure games inspired by Japanese visual novels. Both of our backgrounds are in film/screenwriting, and we want to use the techniques of the visual novel to bridge the gap between comics/graphic novels and video games in the west. I am a writer, programmer, and 3d artist.
JENNY: Our studio began when I made my very first visual novel, Serafina’s Saga, using the Ren’Py engine. Already a writer by trade, I worked hard to develop my skills in programming and art with new projects. Malcolm first joined me as a co-writer, then gradually took on more and more of the work load. Now we both share portions of writing, programming, and art tasks, while I tend to focus most on art, music, and voice direction.
PS4B: You’ve released Echoes of the Fey: The Fox’s Trail on PlayStation 4. How would you describe the game?
JENNY: Echoes of the Fey: The Fox’s Trail is an interactive narrative experience with point-and-click adventure game elements. Your main task is to solve the mystery of a Leshin (elf) who went missing during the recent war between Human and Leshin. How you solve the mystery depends on questions you ask the people in town and the depth of your exploration. After solving the mystery, you must choose what to do with the secret you’ve uncovered, and you’ll experience different endings depending on your actions. Meanwhile, you can develop or ruin relationships with other characters in the town, forging or breaking romantic connections.
PS4B: What motivated you to make Oraz, the game’s setting, what it is today? What drew you towards a fantasy/steampunk setting?
MALCOLM: Initially, we pictured Oraz as a traditional high fantasy world–more magic, less technology. But as we developed the world, we realized that the initial conflict of the story directed us in more of a steampunk style. The story opens shortly after the end of a decades-long war between the Humans and the Leshin, which is the preferred term for Elves in Oraz. This war concerned Human’s use of magic to build and power machines, which the Leshin extremists believe is blasphemous.
More and more we thought that the introduction of electricity–magic or otherwise–would spark an industrial revolution in the world and that we should aim for an aesthetic that is more Victorian than Tudor. We also tried to separate ourselves from traditional steampunk and fantasy by drawing more inspiration from Eastern Europe than Western Europe design and culture for the design and culture of Vodotsk, the Human city in which the game takes place.
PS4B: This is the first episode in a series. How many episodes are in the full story arc and when will the next one be released for PS4?
MALCOLM: While we refer to The Fox’s Trail as Episode 1, we intend for each episode to stand on its own. Each episode will have its own mystery to solve and plot to unravel, in a model more similar to Sherlock than, say, the multi-episode Walking Dead games. However, characters will persist between episodes, and you’ll get a lot more out of each title by playing the previous games.
As such, there is no firm number of episodes planned, as there are always new cases to solve for a detective like Sofya Rykov. However, I can say that the next installment, The Last Sacrament, is well into development and we would hope to release on PS4 (as well as other platforms) in the first half of 2018.
PS4B: And now it is time for us to go. Is there something else you’d like to add?
JENNY: At its heart, The Fox’s Trail is about a lot more than magic and mystery. The story explores the dangers of demonizing groups of people based on their differences, and what happens when one person defies societal norms by changing sides.