With the 2015 Indie Game Maker Contest coming soon, let’s have a look at what our 2014 Grand Prize winner has been up to since then. With its charming characters and excellent battle system, Remnants of Isolation won over the judges last summer and has been preparing for a commercial release. As of today, the new and improved version is now available on Steam!
The game was made by a trio of developers now referring to themselves as “Team Isolation.” Red Nova came up with the story and concept and was the de facto team leader, Unity worked on the maps and battles and Sooz produced the game’s art. Since their big win, the team has been polishing up the game in ways which the 30-day time frame of the contest didn’t necessarily allow. All of the battlers have been replaced with new ones from Sooz, while artists Lunarea and Michael Rookard contributed tileset additions and battle backgrounds, respectively. Composer Quigon has added some original music while the lore and backstory of the game’s setting has been further developed.
The core of the game, however, remains the Spell Fusion battle system, where one character uses an innate skill and the other follows with a more traditional magic spell. Depending on the strategy, these combinations lead to stronger spells, spells that hit all enemies, increased resistance to an element or setting up an enemy to be weak against an element. Not only does this make for engaging battles, it was designed to strengthen the story as well.
Red Nova cites ICO as his favorite game and wanted to capture the way gameplay was used to increase attachment to the characters. “That’s what I wanted to do, but I had no idea how to go about doing it,” he said in an interview following the contest win. But when unity came forward with the idea for the MP charging mechanic for a battle system, I saw that as a jumping off point for the backstory. After that, we bounced ideas back and forth until it became the final result shown.” The satisfaction of using a powerful spell fusion is also intended to create a bond between the two characters and the player.
Another notable trait of Remnants of Isolation is that one of the lead characters (Celesta, pictured above) is almost entirely silent for the full game, leaving her companion Melchoir more or less talking to himself for much of the dialogue. Sooz made the important decision to try and convey her character more through artwork. “I suggested the dual facesets; the initial idea was for Celesta’s interaction to just be in the sprite, but I knew it’d make her more relatable and endearing if we could see more subtle, detailed expressions.”
With the acclaim of the original version and the new additions going for them, Team Isolation hopes the game’s unique charm will draw in more players as it makes its debut on Steam, an outcome they could have scarcely imagined when they first began working on it. “Follow-through is the most important aspect of game-making,” Unity said. “So many people lack this and will start a project just to set it aside before completion. I’m guilty of this myself. To anyone who has this problem, contests like this one are a godsend as they force you to make a more manageable-sized game and have a deadline to keep you working on it.”