Back in January, Sony announced the closure of Guerrilla Cambridge, who most recently gave us PlayStation VR launch title RIGS. As with any studio closure, it was a sad occasion. However, if there is one positive in a large-scale studio closure like this, it’s the dispersement of a lot of talent all over the place, and usually the founding of a new studio or two.
That being said, today two art directors from Guerrilla Cambridge — Alex Kanaris and Tom Jones, who both have 14 years of experience at Sony — announced their new studio: Polygon Treehouse. Additionally, the pair also revealed the studio’s first game: Röki, a Scandinavian fantasy-inspired point-and-click adventure game.
According to Polygon Treehouse, Röki is a “game of adventure, bravery, and courage. But most of all it’s a game about monsters that shouldn’t exist, but do.”
In the game you play as Tove, who is on a journey to save her family. Along the way, you will need to solve puzzles, makes friends, and not let “the bad guys win.”
According to the developer the game is scheduled to release sometime next year.
Alongside the studio and game announcement, the pair also sat down with Eurogamer to talk about the closure of Guerrilla Cambridge, the impressive three month turn-around to a game announcement, and more.
Speaking about the closure Jones says the following to Eurogamer:
“It was challenging couple of years. I think we made a great game which is why it was sad the studio shut. We were still working on more stuff for it, getting more levels and more DLC out for the community.
“The thing that’s the saddest, perhaps, is that RIGS never got the chance to grow and go to where we wanted it to be, but it did a good job of pushing VR and setting a benchmark, perhaps, for other developers to follow. But you can’t work in the games industry without living with the chance of the studio shutting down. Sony is a company that has to manage its costs effectively. It was a surprise and very sad, obviously a tough decision for everyone involved and not one I suspect Sony took lightly. Fortunately, most of the people there have gone on to other things now, but these things happen.”
Speaking about the moments immediately after the announcement of the studio’s closure, Alex Kanaris adds the following about the moments immediately after the announcement of the studio’s closure,
“We were fortunate enough to have a bit of interest from established studios for job roles, which was really flattering and something we had to weigh up – but we were both interested in going indie.”
Jones then continues talking about the turn-around to Röki:
“The idea came to us pretty clear, even before we’d decided to go all in on doing the whole indie thing. There was a game there we wanted to make, so that was actually pretty smooth – which is kind of scary, [it was so smooth] it makes me nervous. But it takes that sudden creative freedom to focus on those ideas you talk about in the background at work, away from the actual projects at Guerrilla.
“We’d often discuss ideas and have to essentially, put them to one side, because maybe the scope wasn’t that of a triple-A, big 100-strong studio, but was nevertheless something we were interested in.”
“Point-and-click allows us to flex our art muscles while also testing ourselves in other areas as well. The genre has had a renaissance in recent years, and it’s so open we can tell whatever story we want, with the characters we want.”
The pair reveal to the outlet that the game is heavily influenced by Scandinavian folklore, and that it’s a collision of a real and fantastical. According to Jones, it’s a tale very much inspired by the kind of bedtime stories he has told to his young son, though with a more grown-up twist. However, like all good fairy tales, there are some dark forces and twists on hand.
According to the pair the game is notably inspired by Babadook, though the developer reenforces that the game is not a straight-up horror experience. Jones adds:
“It’s not a horror game, but watching 80s kids films growing up – they don’t pull any punches. They’re scary, dark, disconcerting.”
Platforms have yet to be divulged, however, a debut trailer and set of images have: you can check it all out below: