Note: These questions and answers have been modified for clarity and length.
Wired: What is your original goal? Souls Bridge?
Mike Greer: In many ways, the original stadium has remained the same throughout its development. We set out to make a game focused on story, action and adventure in a smaller package but with AAA quality. We offered an easy to digest experience – something you can complete in a weekend but with high quality visuals and really fun gameplay.
As we crafted game mechanics, tested animations, reviewed character designs, and developed the story, each process influenced the other, making exciting transformations. We didn’t know exactly where this trip might lead us! Originally, Rot were actually the antagonists who frustrated Kena on her journey, but we soon discover that having them on her teammates is the way to go.
Likewise, early on, we were focused on telling an upcoming story about a fairly young spirit guide. We soon started asking ourselves how her skill level affected the gameplay and story. So, the combat design sparked story discussions about how far she’s trained, how much information she knows, and how much real-world experience she might have.
Wired: How would you describe Kenna’s character and where does she fit into her world?
MG: Kina still has much to learn, but at the beginning of her journey, she begins – confident in her duties as a spirit guide and one who understands the sacred rituals needed to help lost souls. Earlier in development, Kena was unsure, innocent, and a true beginner, but Kena who meets Souls Bridge Independent, self-reliant and knows what she’s doing. At the same time, she knows how to have some fun with the village children and her little friends.
Upon meeting the people of the village, Qena discovers that they have different traditions than those taught to her by her father, but she soon realizes that they have the same mission. Perhaps the value of the Qena youth reveals itself in their ability to accept and adapt to new perspectives and different ways of achieving the same goals.
Wired: How does Kina work and her journey there Souls Bridge Fighting stereotypes and different from other images of loss and tolerance?
Josh Greer: We appreciate the presentation of a variety of perspectives in storytelling, especially stories that explore less common experiences with photography. Kena’s full focus on her duty and using her knowledge and experience to help those around her is a major departure from some of the more common female stereotypes or metaphors in gaming. Kena is not a girl in distress, an unexpected heroine, or a weak heroine in need of help. Instead, the characters our hero encounters recognize her as a very effective and capable spirit guide.
However, Qena still faces many challenges. Rather than playing a helpful or passive role, she grapples with her environment, uses her ingenuity, and delves into a deeper understanding of the grief and loss of even her enemies—to help them forgive, let go, and move on.
Wired: What inspired the team to use this project to focus on the issues of balance, recovery, and our human desire to right our wrongs?
J.G.: Like many artists, our team feels motivated to investigate our human experience and reflect on these discoveries through our medium. In our personal lives, we have felt the pressures of constant exposure to the stimuli, polarization, and conflict in the world now. Things seem out of balance.
In the early stages of development, we all found solace in restorative notions of finding our natural balance. This inspired us to explore themes of restoration and reconciliation with our mistakes through our new video game medium. We hope that players will have a pleasant gaming experience Souls Bridge, but we also hope that these reflective questions encourage self-reflection, and maybe even some balance.