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“It was surreal to see our little brainchild win a Google Play Award and be nomi | Pocket Gamer.biz

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Independent game studio Other Tales Interactive has a focus on creating experimental story driven games, reaching critical acclaim with its first release Tick Tock: A Tale for Two. The small team is exploring new ways to tell stories with its next game, Miniatures, coming to mobile and Steam in 2024.

We spoke with Other Tales Interactive’s founder, Tanja Tankred to reflect on the studio’s journey so far, working as a female led studio and their plans for the future.


Pocketgamer.biz: Tell us about how the studio got started?

Tanja Tankred: Myself and Mira Dorthé founded Other Tales Interactive in 2016 while working on our first title, Tick Tock: A Tale for Two. We were both writers and designers and wanted to make a studio focused on experimental storytelling.

Tick Tock was an investigation of how two people could share a story together, while our next title, Miniatures, explores the format of short stories. Initially, Mira and I were the only ones working on Tick Tock: A Tale for Two. Mira learned how to program, and I learned how to draw. As the project got more serious and we acquired funds, we expanded into a little team and released Tick Tock in 2019.

Tick Tock: A Tale for Two was very well received. How do you feel about the success of that game?

It has been a journey with a lot of hard work, a lot of fun and a lot of trial and error.

Tanja Tankred

We are very proud of the praise we received from Tick Tock. It was our first title, and it was quite surreal to see our little brainchild win a Google Play Award and to be nominated for a BAFTA!

How has Other Tales changed and developed since you started out?

It has been a journey with a lot of hard work, a lot of fun and a lot of trial and error. Everything initially revolved around making Tick Tock and finding funds to sustain the team. We just dived in and tried to do everything we could to succeed despite many people thinking the game would not succeed. After the release – which was successful! – we started thinking more about the studio beyond just one game. We had to figure out how to organize ourselves, what games we would make in the future, how many people we should be and so forth. We have grown as people and are excited to now have a sustainable studio, a small team, and a lot of creative freedom. Miniatures, for example, started as a “play project” in the studio and later became our next main title.

You’re also a female-led studio, how big is the team now?

Right now, we are eight people who work on Miniatures; some are full-time, while others are part-time or task-specific. Mira and I run the day-to-day activities of the studio and are in charge of deciding what projects will be developed in the studio. However, each project can be led differently depending on the team.

In Miniatures, everyone has quite a lot of creative freedom and responsibility within their role. For example, Gianfranco Dbeis decides how his music and SFX should sound, and I have the same control when it comes to writing. Of course within limits as Mira and I will have agreed on a timeline and budget.

It was important to build a culture with open and kind communication where people can bring forward issues and feel heard and connected.

Tanja Tankred

What advice would you offer other studios to ensure the workplace is as inclusive as possible?

We have thought a lot about communication and studio culture, especially after going fully remote. For us, it was important to build a culture with open and kind communication where people can bring forward issues and feel heard and connected. We make sure to have team meetings on a daily basis to keep everyone up to date; we have a virtual office on discord and regularly share work in progress with each other. We uphold a good tone and talk about issues.

What can you tell us about your new game, Miniatures? What’s special about working on mobile?

Miniatures is a game anthology of four interactive stories with unique gameplay and art style. All stories occur in childhood and have darker undercurrents of loneliness, mystery and magic.

It started as an experimental project driven by our love of picture books, graphic novels and short story collections. It was born during a period when the artist Balázs Rónyai, audio designer Gianfranco Dbeis and I were living together in a small town in Denmark. It was supposed to be a temporary stay. However, the lockdown happened midway, and suddenly, we found ourselves living together for almost a year!

We think mobile will be an ideal platform for Miniatures as it is quite an atmospheric and short experience.

Tanja Tankred

Some of the challenges of developing the game have been finding different art styles that are still connected to each other and creating a balanced, subtle form of storytelling where there is still room for the player’s own interpretation.

We think mobile will be an ideal platform for Miniatures as it is quite an atmospheric and short experience. People can play it in one sitting or play one story at a time. We also think it will look gorgeous on the screen, and the “one tap to interact” controls will feel intuitive and satisfying.

Does the team develop with cross-platform in mind? Is this something we can expect to see from future releases, too?

Yes, definitely. We like the idea of reaching as many players as possible and that people can play on their preferred devices.

What can we expect to see from Other Tales in the future? Is there anything we should be on the lookout for?

More stories! We have a few games in the drawer right now; some are just ideas, and some are developed prototypes. Most likely the next title will be another two-player.

For Miniatures, we are quite excited to show the next two games in the collection – probably early 2024. So far, we have only shared footage of the stories called “Familiar” and “The Paludarium”. The two other stories in the collection will also have their own individual story, artstyle and game play.



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