YesterMorrow, developed by Bitmap Galaxy, a small Slovakian studio with around five employees, and published by Blowfish Studios, is an upcoming single-player 2D platformer. As part of PAX Online, YesterMorrow has a demo available on Steam. On Thursday, I sat down with Jeremiah Strackbein, producer at Blowfish Studios who also works with motion capture and trailer editing, to discuss all things YesterMorrow, as well as some of Blowfish’s other upcoming titles.
BUT WHY THO: Could you tell me a little bit about Blowfish Studios’ history?
Jeremiah Strackbein: So, Blowfish Studios is a publisher. We started publishing about seven or eight years ago, starting out with small pixel games. Since then, we’ve expanded and now we have quite a bit of a variety of games that we’re publishing. We have one coming out every month or two, so we’re pretty active.
BUT WHY THO: Just because I’m a little curious about your position at Blowfish Studios, could you tell me what goes into trailer editing for video games?
Jeremiah: So we have pre-production where you just come up with ideas, whether you want it to be story-based, gameplay-based or if you want to focus on a character. Then, depending on how large of a reveal it is, whether it’s kind of a tease or an announcement or the actual launch, then you’re going to decide how much energy you’re going to put into it.
For something simple like an announcement, you’re just going to capture a couple different snippets of footage. You don’t want to give away too much. Even with the date announcement, and actually we’re doing a press release this morning that you should see online today where we’re announcing the November 5 release date for YesterMorrow, we do new trailers with that.
We’re actually already planning the trailer for the launch as we speak. You know, voiceover recordings, some 2D animations mixed in with more footage. So that’s going to be a special one when it comes out.
We’ll be releasing on four or five platforms on Steam, PS4, Xbox, Switch and GOG.
BUT WHY THO: Oh awesome, that actually answered one of my other questions because I was wondering if it was going to come to consoles or not.
Jeremiah: Yep, it’s coming out on consoles. That’s a huge part of what we do as a publisher, the porting aspect. A lot of the games, we’ll find and when they’re starting out, they’re just on PC. For porting a game, it takes a lot. You have to buy keys for each system, so you have to put up money up front and a lot of developers don’t want to bother with that.
We already have a relationship set in place with the different platforms whereas a new developer might not have those relationships and might not be as successful when it comes to getting their game approved. So that’s something that we have done already in the past, making it more straightforward for us to do for them.
BUT WHY THO: Pivoting a little more specifically to YesterMorrow, I wanted to ask if you knew what the developers’ inspiration was with the game? When I played the demo, it felt very much like a platformer, obviously, but also reminded me of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Jeremiah: So you’re correct when you say you were thinking of Zelda. They were also inspired by the platforming of Mario. I’m just looking directly at their pitch document that they sent us when we first brought them on, and those are the two that they list, Super Mario and the Legend of Zelda series. I’m sure that any time travel story was inspired by Zelda.
They’re really doing it right because you can actually use time travel as a mechanic in the game. Say that you’re in the future and you have to cross a bridge but it’s broken, you can travel to the past when the bridge was still up and then you can cross it. There’s many puzzles that involve certain time travel aspects where part of the environment will be impassable and you have to time travel to fix that.
BUT WHY THO: In the demo, I think there were only a few places where you could time travel and you had to interact with some sort of pedestal. Are there going to be pedestals throughout the game that you need to interact with or does it become part of the control scheme?
Jeremiah: No, just the pedestals. The way the puzzles are design, you’re always going to have adequate pedestal placement for what you need.
BUT WHY THO: In the demo, there wasn’t any combat, but on the Steam page, it lists fighting bosses as a feature of YesterMorrow. Does the combat unlock later in the game and if so, how does that work?
Jeremiah: Yeah, so with the demo, you’re only playing the first part of the game, getting familiar with the characters and I think you do get one upgrade.
BUT WHY THO: Yeah, you get one upgrade, I can’t remember what it was called, but it helps you move platforms around.
Jeremiah: Right, and then you’re able to collect the cubes. Later on, you’re going to get new abilities and you’re going to encounter bosses to fight.
BUT WHY THO: So is it like Mario where you jump on enemies or are you using a weapon? Or a mix?
Jeremiah: So I think it’s going to be more of a “get out of the way of the boss” type thing. I don’t want to give away too much, but there’s one where you have to push a button and then a pillar falls on the boss and hurts it. So it’s not like you’re hitting them directly but you’re using environmental items to damage them. And you’re avoiding what they’re doing, so if they’re shooting things at you, you’re avoiding that and sometimes the bosses will damage themselves through that.
Occasionally though, you will use your power on the boss but a large part of it is just evasive moves you have to do.
But with the smaller enemies in the game, you can jump on them to get the Shadow energy out of them since they get possessed.
BUT WHY THO: Has working from home impacted development and publishing in any way?
Jeremiah: We’ve pretty seamlessly adapted. All of our projects are scheduled online, so everybody knows what they need to do and can work from home, as well as at the studio. There are certain things that you can only do at the studio, like access dev kits and game testing. Since not everybody is at the studio all at once, certain people are able to go and not worry about being too close to anybody.
We do have weekly meetings on Google chat. It’s pretty seamless, it’s just like you’re at the studio talking that way. For me personally, I work in the U.S. so there’s been no change for me. I’ve been working from home from the beginning anyways.
BUT WHY THO: Are the console versions of YesterMorrow launching on the same date as the PC versions in November?
Jeremiah: We try to do a simultaneous release on all the platforms because it’s more efficient that way. We want to do a big press release. We have three press releases for each game, the announcement, then the date and trailer, and the actual launch. We try to use that big push for all the platforms because if we release one at a time, there wouldn’t be that peak excitement. We put a lot of our energy into just that one large release. It’s kind of like killing two birds with one stone.
BUT WHY THO: Is there anything else about YesterMorrow or Blowfish Studios that you’d like to tell our audience about?
Jeremiah: We’ve already mentioned that the release date was announced today for November 5 so I think we talked about most of what I wanted to say about YesterMorrow.
Projection: First Light is one of our popular ones. It’s about a little girl named Gretta who’s searching for her parents that she’s estranged from. There’s different cultures that she goes to visit, like Indonesia, China, Turkey, Greece and England. What all those have in common are their history in shadow puppet theater. Gretta’s actually a shadow puppet.
The whole game is basically one big shadow puppet theater. The graphics are made to make it look like there’s back lighting and like all the enemies are puppets. The main mechanic you use in the game is that you can control light and cast shadows on objects and then those shadows are actually platforms that you can jump on. It’s pretty unique. I can’t think of any other game that has that mechanic, so to me, that’s a pretty fun thing to work on.
We’re also promoting a game called Nine Witches. It’s also a 2D pixel art game. It’s a single-player game but you actually control two characters. One is a paraplegic professor but his ability is that he can go into the spirit world and talk to the dead, so he’s investigating a crime that the German army is preparing. His assistant is the one who does everything physical, like open doors and pick up objects and the gun fights.
It’s a pretty fun game. It’s supposed to be sort of a comedy so there’s lots of humor and pretty good graphics. That one should be coming out either in December or January.
The last one is KungFu Kickball, which we’re pretty excited about. It’s a multiplayer sports game that’s like a sports fighter. You can fight your opponent but the main goal is to kick the ball into the goal but you can fight them to prevent them from scoring.
At previous PAXes, we’ve always had long lines and people are always telling their friends about it and people are always laughing and enjoying themselves. It’s just a pretty fun party game for 1-4 players. One person can play against the computer AI or you can do a 1 vs. 1 or 2 vs. 2 match.
That one is also set to come out at the end of the year, either in December or January.
YesterMorrow is a single-player 2D platformer that uses time travel and puzzles to create a unique gameplay experience. Play as Yui, a girl from a peaceful village, as she strives to rid the world of Shadows and return light to her world.
The game is set to release on Steam, GOG, PS4, Xbox and Switch on November 5. Other games from Blowfish Studios, like KungFu Kickball and Nine Witches will also be coming out later this year.