Trine 4 Developers Explain What They Learned from Trine 3 and Why They Are Returning to the Series
Before Trine 4's launch, DualShockers got developers from Frozenbyte to reflect on what they learned from the divisive Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power.
I checked out Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince at E3 2019, and it felt like the creatively charged return to form that the series needs. Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is a 2.5D platformer like Trine 1 and 2 that heavily relies on players using the three main characters in tandem. Pontius, Amadeus, and Zoya are exude charm and play quite different from each other, like usual, opening up the opportunities for many great puzzles.
With how faithful to the first two games, it is worth reflecting on how Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power, the black sheep of the series, impacted the development of Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince. At E3 2019, I talked with Producer Antti Rantanen and Marketing Manager Kai Tuovinen to get a better idea of where exactly Frozenbyte’s headspace is heading into this new entry in the beloved Trine series.
The big question on many a fan’s mind is why exactly the developers decided to return to the series after all this time. As a reminder, Trine 3 had a much bigger scope than the first two games as it attempted to be a full 3D adventure; unfortunately, the game’s lofty goals ended up being a bit too ambitious for Frozenbyte. This meant that did not meet expectations with some underwhelming design choices and ended abruptly on a cliffhanger that angered fans. Following its reception, Frozenbyte’s Joel Kinnunen left fans afraid of never getting another Trine game when he said in a Steam Community post that “The future of the series is now in question, as the feedback, user reviews and poor media attention has caught us by surprise.”
That being said, the same post also claims that Frozenbyte was “proud of the game and what we have achieved overall.” Still, Kai and Antti explained to DualShockers that it took some time off from the franchise and a fresh, younger team to get Trine 4 off of the ground. “The Trine series has always held a place in our hearts, so we needed a little bit of a break from making Trine games. And we made a couple of different games, three games actually, before we went onto Trine 4. So we needed a little break from Trine games, then we reignited the spark and how decided how we were going to reapproach the series,” Kai Tuovinen began. Antti Rantanen highlighted the newer team by saying “the company has also grown this year. We have got a few people who came in wanting to make Trine games, so there are fresh ideas as well.”
As I mentioned, many elements of Trine 3 were middlingly received. Still, something can always be learned from your mistakes, especially when it comes to game development, so I asked the Frozenbyte developers if there were any major elements or things learned on Trine 3, outside of the fact that fans wanted a more traditional entry, that the developers were applying to Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince. According to Tuovinen, “some of the skills [from Trine 3] have made it to Trine 4″ and “the thief’s rope technology that we made for Trine 3” was also carried over. It definitely seems that Trine 3’s influence on the series was on a much more technical or project scope level, rather than from a story or game design standpoint.
Working on a game of this size has also been helpful to Frozenbyte though, as they “are able to create a lot more content” for a game like Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince even though the team size isn’t too dissimilar to that of Trine 3’s. As Antti Rantanen ultimately reiterated, the renewed focus of Trine 4 means that Frozenbyte “is a lot more efficient with what we are doing.” Hopefully, this all pans out for the team and Trine 4 project as a whole; if the early taste DualShockers got was any indication, it should be a good time.
Trine 4: The Artifacts of Power from Frozenbyte and Modus Games is currently poised to come to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.