At a bar in Koenji

From games to the world and back – 2022 in review

This was a year that began and ended with video games. That might not seem very strange when we’re a game studio, but nonetheless it has a special significance this year, which has been quite an eventful one, to say the least!

The year began with Hades

I’m not an avid game player, since I’ve always enjoyed making games more than playing them. That doesn’t mean I don’t love games, I just tend to choose creating them rather than playing, and of course I have to try many games for work purposes. But sometimes a game really gets to me, and that happened with Hades. Boi, did I love that game! It had the perfect combination of Very Addictive Gameplay, interesting setting, characters and story, and I loved Zagreus – I loved being Zagreus.

Zagreus from Hades
Hades by Supergiant Games (2020)

A new game idea - and a new company

When I stopped playing Hades after a couple of months, I went on to play the other Supergiant games, which I hadn’t done previously. I started with Pyre, then Transistor and lastly Bastion. And when playing Pyre something landed in me. I’d had a game idea in the back of my mind for quite some time, and now it surfaced. I saw, through the lens of Pyre, how that game might be realized – even though I’d previously thought it might be too hard to produce for a small team. Just like Pyre, that game combines relationship centered storytelling with sportslike combat/gameplay. Now I saw that the scope didn’t have to be as big as I’d thought.

Pyre from Supergiant Games (2017)

These two ignitions, the big love for Hades and the set-up of Pyre, made me realize that I really, really wanted to keep making games for the foreseeable future, even though the ways of the world still weren’t looking too great (something I wrote about here), because I love making games too much to let go of. I also understood that keeping the company as a sole proprietorship would not be viable in the long-run: I wanted to be able to grow the team further on, and I wanted me and Pixie to be co-founders instead of my company hiring Pixie as a contractor.

So in August we started Transcenders Media AB, a Swedish corporation co-founded by me and Pixie, aiming to release Truer than You and then continue to develop games centered around interesting characters, existential questions, emotional topics and relationships.

Truer than you

The first game this new company will produce is called Truer than You. It’s a game in which you’re looking for love and connection in a world where nothing is what it seems – not even you! The game is all about exploring interactions and relationships between people, and also about questioning norms and expectations in relationships. And it’s a love story, for those of you who enjoy that sort of thing (I sure do). if it sounds interesting – please go over and wishlist it on Steam!

exploring the world

We continued our ventures with the new company by exploring the world. In August we visited Gamescom. It was our first time since 2015, when we went to pitch an Ozma game called Patchwork of Oz to publishers. This time we pitched Truer than You and had many great meetings. But the best things by far were hanging out at the Japanese pavilion tasting sake, and vacuuming the merch floor for Mo Dao Zu Shi related stuff. Yeah, I’m a child, and a happy one at that! In the Japanese booth we also made some new acquaintances from Japan.

That was a good thing, because we were in the midst of doing the paperwork applying for visas to go to Tokyo Game Show. The visas got approved, and in September we went to Tokyo for the first time, where we also got to see some of the people we’d met at Gamescom, and practice our very limited japanese skills with new friends.

The third trip was to South Korea and G-Star in November, a huge game event not as well-known as the others, but just as great. We went with a Swedish delegation and met with publishers and platforms, and also got to hang out with the amazing people that were part of the delegation.

It was a very eventful semester, not to say the least. But of course, I got a bit exhausted…

The Swedish booth at G-Star

The year ended with Genshin Impact

… so during the winter holidays I’ve mainly been playing games. I had a lot of games in my backlog that I thought I would play, but… well… I ended up almost exclusively playing Genshin Impact. Just like Hades, it’s got me completely hooked. I think it’s a combination of addictive but still rather chill gameplay, a beautiful world and compelling characters. The writing might not be as on point as in Hades, but those other things make up for it.

For me, it’s such a relief not having to play macho men in a macho man setting. Genshin Impact has the kind of characters I identify with and like, and that is very important to me. I’d say that for me, everything, both when I create and when I consume media, centers around people and relationships – and of course that puts the characters in the forefront. When I write novels/short stories, they’ll center relationships. When I make games, they’ll center relationships. When I read books or watch series, they’ll center relationships. So, characters and story will be the main driver for me to pick up most anything. Even if the gameplay then “takes over”, the reason I chose the game to begin with was because of the characters and the possible relationships. Going forward, working on the new game in parallel with Truer than You, I look forward to exploring storytelling centered around relationships even more!

Summing up and looking ahead

So, to sum up, 2022 was super eventful. I got to do some things that developed me as a person – such as exploring Asian markets and what might work there, and meeting with amazing people – and those experiences were invaluable. I learned so much from the trips we made, but I also got super tired, yet again. The first semester of 2023 really has to be about going back “inwards”, to rest up, but also to continue working on Truer than You. Because now I’m more than eager to delve into the story and characters and create something that makes you feel!

Yeah, and then we started using TikTok, so if you do too, give us a follow and we’ll follow back!