Rime has been one of our most anticipated PlayStation 4 games ever since it was announced at Gamescom last year. Rime is being developed by Spanish developer Tequila Works, known for developing Deadlight on Xbox 360 Arcade a few years ago. We were recently able to talk with the Tequila Works CEO and Creative Director, Raul Rubio Munarriz, and ask him some pressing questions we had about Rime. If you haven’t already, check out the review trailer for Rime below.
MONG: How long has Rime been in development?
Raúl: We started the conceptual stage of Rime while we were making our first title, Deadlight.
MONG: The art style of Rime looks so similar to Zelda: Wind Waker and Journey. Are these some of the works that inspired your style? Are there others?
Raúl: Inspirations for Rime are mainly the light of the Mediterranean Joaquín Sorolla managed to express in his paintings, the negative space of Salvador Dalí and the arquitecture of Giorgio de Chirico. The 1963 movie Jason and the Argonauts was the spiritual inspiration in terms of discovery and wonder, as well as the 7th Voyage of Sinbad. And Studio Ghibli simple yet moving tales such as Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke.
MONG: We have seen that Rime will not tell the story with dialogue and instead use the environment to tell the story. The idea for this seems straight forward, but can you give us a quick example of a way this is utilized?
Raúl: We are letting the player explore and get lost since the bond with the boy is that both are discovering this ancient place. We present the pieces and it’s up to the player to figure out what happened, why the elements are there or presented that way. We consider the player smart and adult enough to question the events and what’s the purpose behind them.
Imagine that you find a piano on the top of a mountain. What does it mean? How it arrived there? Why? But at the same time we are guiding the player by using symbols and landmarks, manipulating the environment, presenting a mute story that must be unfolded or not. Maybe you were chasing a little rodent and you found it “by chance”…
MONG: Your previous title “Deadlight” was on Xbox Live. Can you speak to why Rime is being developed exclusively for PlayStation 4?
Raúl: Well, Sony XDev is the publisher of Rime. That’s a very good reason (laughs). They saw the potential, not just the risk. They trusted Tequila Works and our original project. That simple. They have created an excellent environment for indies.
MONG: How easy/difficult is it developing a game for a next gen console compared to what you have done in the past?
Raúl: Actually not very different because we are obsessed with attention to detail. Creating such a stylized and minimalist world is very challenging. It may look simple on the surface but there’s a lot of work behind. The goal is creating a moving paint, there are literally millions of polygons on screen so everything looks… balanced.
MONG: Sony has received a lot of praise for their relationship with Indie developers. What has your relationship been like with them?
Raúl: Very good. They understand entertainment, they are always seeking new paths and unique bets. You can ask other Indie studios. Sony is taking good care of nurturing our creativity, not squeezing it or trying to tame it.
MONG: It has been said that Rime will be released this year, but is there a quarter when you expect it to be released yet? Or do you have a time you expect to announce the release date that you can share?
Raúl: There’s no official release date yet, sorry!
MONG: How has the development of Rime been since we last saw it in August? Is it moving along smoothly?
Raúl: There was a lot of pressure after Gamescom. The reception blew our minds! It was amazing yet frightening. Our little indie game was compared to Ico and we took it very seriously. We are pushing ourselves beyond our limits because “great” is not enough.
MONG: At the end of the trailer we see some sort of monster of an enemy in the darkness. Can you speak about what exactly that was and why the protagonist was able to scare it by waving fire at it?
Raúl: Actually the fire is pretty useless against the shadows if you look carefully. The “monster” is something different. And it’s too soon to talk about it.
MONG: During the trailer we see the protagonist running and climbing different landscapes. Can you explain the gameplay mechanics? Will it be just about advancing through the land? Or will there be different sort of puzzles you have to complete?
Raúl: Exploration, navigation and interaction are the key pillars (that means puzzles too). It’s not a flat sandbox. The player is required some abilities to move around. It’s a wild, abandoned island after all!
MONG: Will we find out a backstory on why this boy is trapped on an island?
Raúl: That’s part of your story, yes. More importantly, why that island, why you?
MONG: If not, can you tell us?
Raúl: No spoilers!
MONG: How long of a game will Rime be?
Raúl: A complete quality experience.
MONG: Is there somewhere that our readers can follow any future announcements for Rime?
Raúl: Stay tuned. We expect to offer more info soon!
MONG: Thank you for your time!
Raúl: Thanks to you. Please be patient, the team is sweating blood to deliver a personal experience. We hope you love it!