Breaking records, turning heads and successfully reaching its goal within days. Roshni Patel catches up with Narrative Designer and Writer Víctor Oujel of Temtem to find out more
This month saw a Spanish record being broken in extraordinary fashion, as CremaGames, creators of Immortal Redneck, called time on their extremely successful Kickstarter campaign for their latest game, Temtem. Closing on a grand total of $573,939 from 11,716 backers, the campaign became the most funded Spanish video game ever, overtaking The Game Kitchen’s Blasphemous, reaching all of its stretch goals with ease.
Best described as “an open world RPG, which is basically focused on capturing and raising, and doing battles with a few really nice cuddly creatures” by narrative designer & writer Víctor Ojuel, Temtem captures the same nostalgia and story as Pokemon, incorporating multiplayer co-op and competitive features, housing mechanics similar to animal crossing, and even breeding.
Set upon a collection of floating islands, I set about getting some more back story from freelance narrative designer & writer on the project, Víctor Ojuel, on how some of the story and islands came to be.
“When I came into the development, the only big ideas from the brief that I got was that it was meant to be a game for all ages. In terms of level design there were going to be these 6 islands, and each one of them should be focused on a couple of different types of TemTem, let’s say for instance, that island A has fire and ice TemTem and island B has electric and nature. Apart from that and the general proviso that it should be an upbeat story nothing too dark, I was pretty much free to do what I wanted.
What I did at the beginning was a lot of world building, to determine what each of the islands looked like and had to feel like, and this wasn’t necessarily from the visual point of view, which is the role of the art department and art director, but more of what kind of story each island should have. When you start the game, these islands have been isolated for a long time, so they have different cultures on each one of them. But, a generation ago they developed these airships to get from one island to another. So, you are starting your voyage in an era when everything is new, and people are getting in contact with each other. I wanted different cultures on different islands, but also have this feeling of “oh we’re connected” and “now we’re getting to know each other”, and making a point of having very mixed cultures in some of those islands and having people from different islands visiting each other. I think this informs the main story, where you as a TemTem trainer, a person who is just reaching early adulthood, who is going out and discovering new places, a sort of like a coming of age story. It’s about those TemTem battles, “catching them all” and being the best trainer, but it’s also about you leaving home and meeting people for the first time, making friends and discovering what’s going on. As a result, it’s a little bit of a teenage story, but it also has a lot about myself and my experience of being an immigrant and going through that process myself, having to make new friends and learn about new cultures.
For example, the island where you start the game is based upon the Mediterranean, because I wanted to have a mix of cultures and my own background, in terms of the names of the places, characters and the design and perhaps the description of the places, which have Spanish influences, due to my Spanish background, and some Italian and Turkish influences as well, to make it one island which is characterised by being a one big patch of culture. I wanted to have the themes to centre around the Mediterranean and how the cultures share a common space.
We have another island which is actually a collection of really small islands which are connected by little bridges, which I call Omninesia which is obviously a nod to Polynesia, where instead of having one monolithic island, there are a few different islands. I have been researching a bit about aboriginal cultures of New Zealand and Australia for a particular one.
Another one of the islands is inspired by the years I lived in Cambridge and it’s a very interesting little island full of quirky academia types and also lots of roadie types who are best described as the ones who are often asking where you’re from and whether you’d like a beer with them.
A lot of the things I’ve enjoyed while doing TemTem are sort of the background jobs, deciding what each island is like, which I like to blend with this sense of discovery, of you going out of home for the first time, these places being connected to each other for the first time, to tell the story of friendship, discovery, and mutual respect. This I feel goes very well with our intended audience, which I think is pretty much everyone, but I think it’s geared a little more towards young adults and teenagers, maybe even pre-teenagers. It’s also a story that has almost no violence in it, it’s very much about travelling and discovering things. You have battles and such, and there’s a competitive element in defeating others, but it’s done in a very cheerful way.”
It’s now all hands on deck at Crema, as they race to add not only the features they initially promised but also the stretch goals the community have helped them achieve, in time for their alpha release, where their alpha kickstarter backers will test and trial the game. While the team were initially nervous about the feedback they may receive for their heavily Pokemon influenced game, the community has clearly spoken, as they were rapidly funded, with backers pledging funds for almost every support tier, even their deluxe $6000+ pledge package was purchased by 4 backers. For them, the waiting game has only just begun, as backers current and future wait in eager anticipation for the next progress report which will bring TemTem closer to release.