Interview with Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles Creators

Take a break. Take a step back from loading the next weapon or upgrading your armour, and heed the call for your next adventure. Gemea, a sprawling island paradise, awaits you with its kind locals and intriguing new creatures which you must save from a mysterious darkness.

Brisbane based Prideful Sloth are the tinkerers behind this landscape-diverse, mircro-AAA game. Together, they focus on creating player-driven narratives with detailed worlds and they do this with fine art and enticing colours.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, home of Gemea, is Prideful Sloth’s flagship title. Unlike similarly stylised adventures like Wind Waker, Yonder allows the player to put themselves in the world with an unnamed, customisable avatar.

“It always felt to me that Gemea, the land where Yonder is set, is the main character of the game,” our Prideful Sloth representative said when asked about the unnamed character. “It was something that I never felt was needed, and during playtests, I was surprised at how little naming your character was requested.”

Gemea is certainly captivating enough to be the main character. As the player approaches the island, their ship crashes and they awaken in a beach cavern. However, once they step into the light, the player is struck with the intense colours of the world spread out in front of them.

“Gemea was a world we wanted the player to feel comfortable in. A world that felt like they had been there before.”

The team’s extensive world was inspired by idealistic minimalism which portrayed a richness and a vibrancy with as few elegant strokes as possible.

But with such an adventure driven game, it is unusual to find it has no combat.

“When we started to talk through the design, it was something that just didn’t come up as a necessary element of the game. With the art style, and other mechanics we wanted to include in Yonder, combat just never seemed to fit, and was at odds with the vision we had.”

And there are certainly a lot of things to do in Gamea rather than fight.  Aside from clearing the land from the mysterious darkness called Murk, the player can build a rapport with the locals by fishing, crafting, brewing, setting up fireworks, and discovering the many secrets of the wondrous land.

Although Yonder is the first game developed by the Prideful Sloth team, the creators are by no means lacking in experience. Each member has over ten years’ experience in the industry as artists, programmers, or in production and that’s just to name a few of their occupations.

But what games got the three creators of Prideful Sloth into gaming?

Cheryl Vance, the co-founder and co-director of Prideful Sloth, has always been around gaming and used to play on the Atari 2600 with her family, as well as arcade and pinball machines. Her co-founder and co-director Joel Styles began his gaming obsession on the classic NES with games like Battletoads and Zelda. John Northwood, the final team member and co-director, remembers Wizard of Wor (C64) being that game that truly got his heart pumping, but it’s Super Mario World on the SNES that he can still play and enjoy the experience.

The team even share advice on creators entering the industry:

“Ensure (your) skills are cross compatible with other industries. The industry is amazing, but it is not always stable, nor are jobs easy to find.”

Having released Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles on PlayStation and Steam (Windows), the team are currently considering putting it on other platforms. And it sounds like there’s more to Yonder than this single game.

“When a team creates a new IP, they should always consider the longevity of the property. This includes tie-ins, sequels and additional ways to monetise on the property.”

So, take a break and go beyond your typical adventure with Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles!

Check out Matt Russell’s high scoring reviewing here!

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