The Little Acre Interview: Bringing Point-And-Click Adventures to a New Generation
Pewter Games Studios is an indie game developer based out in Dublin, Ireland. Currently, the team is hard at work on their first game, a point-and-click adventure titled The Little Acre, coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on December 13.
DualShockers had the opportunity to speak with the co-founder of Pewter Games Christopher Conlan to talk about what makes The Little Acre unique and also find out more about the game’s story and characters.
Azario Lopez: What inspired the premise of The Little Acre, and how did you put it together?
Christopher Conlan: We decided pretty early on that we wanted to make a game in the vein of a classic escapist-fantasy story, where the protagonists are yanked from their normal lives and suddenly launched on a grand adventure. During early prototyping, we made this other world look completely different—even going so far as to change the perspective—purely as an experiment.
In the end we really liked how this felt; it emphasizes the transition when it happens, which helps to give the player a renewed sense of curiosity and encouragement to explore. In terms of the initial setting, we wanted it to be our home, Ireland, because it’s not a common location in video games and we thought that would be interesting!
AL: It was said during a panel that the game’s story has changed over time – is there anything that had to be taken out that you wish could have been included?
CC: The story, mechanics… practically everything changed over the course of its development as we really refined the idea. Originally we played around with the idea of stumbling across a whole village full of interesting characters in Clonfira, but we had cut it mainly because of time constraints, but also to maintain the flow of the story, where the tempo is always at a certain level.
There’s also another civilization in the world of Clonfira which almost played a greater role. We didn’t completely take them out though, so there could be an opportunity to expand on that later if people want more!
AL: In classic adventure games, it can be quite challenging to progress the story at times – do you feel that The Little Acre has difficult puzzle situations to get the attention of seasoned players, but also attract those who aren’t used to these types of games?
CC: We avoided having any puzzles that were very difficult for the sake of it. One of our main goals with The Little Acre as to make it an adventure for everyone, which meant that it should be enjoyable for people of all levels of experience with adventure games.
That’s not to say that it’s a breeze though—we tried to walk this delicate balance where the player shouldn’t get completely stuck on a puzzle, but at the same time, they should feel smart for figuring stuff out. In terms of getting the attention of seasoned players, I’d argue that most seasoned players of adventure games are actually fans because of how well the genre intertwines gameplay with the narrative more than anything else, so we’ve got something for them too.
AL: The Little Acre is a hand-drawn point-and-click adventure game and it is the first game from Pewter Games Studios. Do you plan to continue to develop games in this particular genre or do you want to experiment with others? Can we expect more hand-drawn characters and settings?
CC: We don’t plan to exclusively make adventure games forever, but that’s not to say we won’t make more in the future either! Our second game will most likely be something different. The hand-drawn animation is something we’d like to be consistent about though, regardless of what the game is. The hope would be that you could just look at a game and go ‘Oh, that must be a Pewter game!’.
AL: What are some of your favorite point-and-click adventure games and did you take inspiration from them for The Little Acre?
CC: Broken Sword would definitely be among our favorites, and we’re not just saying that because Charles Cecil is the Executive Producer of The Little Acre! We haven’t been shy about the influence those games have had on The Little Acre. Aside from that, I think Monkey Island has to get a mention.
AL: Do Aidan and Lily take on puzzles in different ways? What was interesting about developing puzzles for two characters and does that help make this game stand out from others in the genre?
CC: In terms of the mechanics of the game it remains the same, but as for the thought process that goes into solving puzzles, they certainly are different. Both are very creative individuals, but where Aidan would err on the side of caution, Lily is all about brute force. She does carry a sword everywhere after all. I think it does stand out as adventures go.
In many examples I can think of which feature multiple characters, they only serve to show different aspects of the same story while solving puzzles in very similar ways. Switching between Aidan and Lily feels like a greater contrast because almost everything is different – not just their personalities, but also the descriptive text of objects (since they perceive things differently), and even the UI.
AL: I’m sure you’ve been asked this before, but have you thought about releasing the game on PlayStation Vita?
CC: We’ve been asked that quite a lot, yes. And we’ve given it some thought, yes! We’ll let you know if there’s any news…
AL: The Little Acre is set to release on December 13 – what’s the energy like at Pewter Games as you draw closer and closer to the release date?
CC: A mixture of excitement, nerves, and relief!
AL: Although The Little Acre is about to just release, are there plans to continue the story of Aiden and Lily, perhaps through DLC or a sequel?
CC: If people enjoy The Little Acre enough that there’s a demand for it, then we’d love to continue the story. The process of designing the game and the characters meant that there is a whole lot more to the world that is only hinted at throughout the game.
AL: Is there anything you would like to tell fans or gamers about The Little Acre as the release date approaches?
CC: I think we’d just like to thank everyone for the support we’ve been given, as well as all the love that’s been shown to The Little Acre even before it’s released. We’ve been amazed to see how closely people we’ve met at events such as PAX and Gamescom have continued to follow its development, so to those people, thank you!
And to everyone else for whom this might be the first they’re hearing of The Little Acre – if you’re interested in an original adventure with a gorgeous hand-drawn animation style, do us a favor and check it out, Cheers!