We’re working on a review for The Adventures of Elena Temple that will go live on its launch day, so we got in touch with GrimTalin to talk about the game’s development for the Nintendo Switch.
PS4Blog: Welcome! Thank you for taking the time to join us today. Could you please get us started by introducing yourself to our readers?
Hi, my name is Catalin Marcu, I’m the solo indie developer going by the alias GrimTalin. I’ve been in the game industry for 11 years now, 10 of those I spent mostly developing mobile games, working on various client projects. Last year I started my indie adventure and the first game I’ve made is The Adventures of Elena Temple.
PS4B: You’re getting ready to release The Adventures of Elena Temple on Nintendo Switch on May 15. How would you describe the game to someone who’s never heard about it?
The Adventures of Elena Temple is an old school monochrome platformer you can play on 7 virtual old machines inspired by classics such as Commodore 64, Macintosh, GameBoy and others. Basically a concentrated pill of nostalgia in the form of a game. I’ve always been fascinated with that starting age of the games industry and kind of wanting to have been a part of it, so when the time came to decide on what my first indie game would be, I had 3 pillars: I wanted to create a really old school game, like the ones from the 80s that I used to play as a kid; I wanted a female lead and, as a bonus, she’d be named after my wife, Elena; and third I wanted to make a classic, snappy, challenging puzzle platformer. The result is launching soon on Nintendo Switch, it’s my first console game and I couldn’t be more proud of it!
PS4B: How long did it take you to develop the game, taking it from the initial concept to the final release we’ll get to play soon? Where there any considerable challenges or hurdles you had to overcome during development?
It took me 6 months from the first prototype to the final build being uploaded to Steam – which is where I first released The Adventures of Elena Temple, on March 15th. Prior to that, maybe a week or two of playing with the game idea in my head and doodling some pixel art to get a feel for the style. After the Steam release, I spent another couple of weeks to port the game to Nintendo Switch, the process was pretty smooth, having the game made in Unity. Besides just making sure that it was running properly on the console, I also added a bunch of improvements, like screen shakes and vibrations, and tweaked various parts of the game, most notably the final dungeon rooms.
The biggest challenge was having to do everything myself. All my prior experience in gamedev helped a lot, that’s for sure, I’ve started out as a programmer, then I was a lead designer and a game producer. But now I had to also do the art, the sounds, the marketing, pretty much everything except for the music, I got external help for that. The players who tried the game and understand what that 80s gaming era was about were very pleased with how the game looks and feels. And, by far, the most time consuming part of the development was the level design, but that paid off as it’s the most appreciated aspect of the game besides the nostalgia.
PS4B: With the game now pretty much ready to go, what are you working on next? Are you thinking of doing some extra content for The Adventures of Elena Temple or are you now focusing on a new game?
First thing I want to do is to update the Steam version with most of the improvements I made for the Nintendo Switch version. Then take a break for a few weeks, especially since my youngest son will be born in about a month! After that, I have a new game in mind that I’d like to make, but more about that in due time. The only thing I can share is that it’s not going to be monochrome nor a platformer.
PS4B: And that’s all the time we have for today. Is there something else you’d like to add?
If you like old school gaming and you miss the platformers from back in the day, please consider giving The Adventures of Elena Temple a try! And thank you for giving me the chance to share a bit about myself and my first indie game!