We’re currently playing Earthlock on Nintendo Switch for our review, so we got in touch with Snowcastle Games to talk about its development as well as of the development of the rest of the trilogy.
PS4Blog: Hi! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Would you mind helping us get going by telling our readers a bit about yourself and your work?
Hi! Nikola here, one of the Game Designers on EARTHLOCK. Been part of Snowcastle since 2015 and have worked on a lot of different aspects of the project since then.
We’re a team of 10 here at the offices in Oslo, and an additional five spread throughout the world. Being a relatively small team of that size means wearing a lot of hats. My work at the office, therefore, entails design, marketing, PR, publishing, support, and QA, to name a few.
PS4B: Earthlock is now out on Nintendo Switch. How would you describe this release to someone who’s never heard about it?
This one is a tough one to answer! Earthlock: Festival of Magic was very much a love letter to the 3D JRPGs of the 1990’s that we all loved and grew up with. That carries a certain weight and expectation to the product. Not to mention tropes, some of which aren’t necessarily welcome in the hands of players anymore.
The new extended edition of EARTHLOCK has taken into account a lot of player feedback, and we have been able to build in a lot of elements we did not have the time or resources to work on for the first version. A lot of our own experiences with the game post-production has also gone into molding the project into an even more solid experience of that same love for 1990’s 3D JRPGs. The 13 months of hard work we have put into the new version really shows in all ways, and early feedback confirms that players really like it too!
As such, I guess the description would be as follows:
EARTHLOCK is a traditional take on the 3D JRPGs of the 90’s with (thoroughly reworked) mechanics that encompass both the new and the old love for the genre! And it’s made by Norwegians of all things (whaaat?! We need to coin the phrase NRPG now!).
PS4B: The game has come a long way since the sneak-peak we got during its 2014 Kickstarter campaign. After its release on PlayStation 4, the game is being given a new Extended Edition (a.k.a. the Should-have-been-edition), which is how the game is being presented for the Nintendo Switch audience as the full experience. What is different for this new version which Nintendo fans will get to try on Switch right from its launch?
As I mentioned, the entire process of adding more content to this version took us around 13 months. In that time, we’ve had a hard look at the story, scenes, mechanics, and the world, as a whole. As a result of that, the new version boasts new areas, reworked dialogue, reworked character personalities, new cutscenes, new mechanics, new quests, animations, new art, and lots of optimization. Bear in mind, the changes that went into the Switch version are also available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC as well, which means A TON of QA!
PS4B: The game was originally released on Nintendo Wii U, but the Extended Version is not being released on Wii U. Will those who backed the Kickstarter for the Wii U version be able to obtain the new and improved Switch version of Earthlock?
The entire team fell in love with the Switch when it came out and as luck would have it that EARTHLOCK feels at home on the console. As the Switch wasn’t even an option when our Kickstarter came out (Switch hadn’t been announced at that point), we did announce that anyone who backed the original project for the Wii U would also get EARTHLOCK for free on the Switch as a bonus!
PS4B: With the game out for all consoles, is the team now focusing in full on its sequel or are there still some stuff that needs to be taken care of for the Extended Edition?
Any project one has worked on for a massive amount of time is hard to let go of. The same goes for EARTHLOCK. The game might be out, but we’re still working on localization to get it into the hands of more people, not to mention marketing the game. We have, however, been able to allocate some of the team’s resources into looking into our next project, but that’s about all I can tell you at the moment. Rest assured though that we’re looking at the coming years with new eyes taking into account our experience with EARTHLOCK, and are super excited for what comes next. Now would be a good time to start following our social media in order to get in on any upcoming news!
PS4B: And now it is time for us to go. Is there something else you’d like to add before we end this one?
We’re absolutely thrilled about the game being out on the Nintendo Switch, and of the feat of getting onto the platform so early in its life cycle. We’ve been well received so far and want to thank everyone who has contributed to help us make an even better game!
We’re reading everything that’s coming our way, from tweets and articles to reviews, and streams, checking out fan art, so don’t be afraid to get in touch! Even greater things are coming once we get all our ducks in a row, and we hope you’re all as excited as we are!