Winterpath Games and their game, Atlaga, a narrative-focused, Viking survival game, started as most games start: as a hobby-project. For Valur Zophoníasson and Lukas Gnaur it began over a couple of drinks and the question of, “could we make a game?”

Winterpath (site)

w/ iOS and Windows download options.

[We] were having drinks and one suggested making a video game on the side of our studies (Digital Design). We wanted to put into practice, what we learned in our studies, and making a video game seemed the perfect way of doing this. It began as a discussion of making a tactical Viking game for mobile.

Slowly we assembled a team, but none of us had any experience with any real game development or the mobile platform. We found that learning how to make a video game, from scratch, is an extremely painful process and along the way, a lot of team members jumped off, which, of course, is always difficult (we were initially 6. Now we are 3).

We also found that learning how to make a video game, from scratch, is a thrilling, exciting and enjoyable experience. Having released something that you’ve been working on for more than 2 years and getting such a good reception after working so hard is a feeling worth the struggle.

Let’s talk about the game! The following is from Winterpath’s website, with the headliner reading, “Ready to Start Your Misadventure?” Continuing it explains the premise of its story.

You are stranded and alone. You were a passenger on your father’s vessel that now lies wrecked on the shores of a mysterious land. As a high-borne lady from the north, you must take matters into your own hands and endure the hazards of your new surroundings.

Adding about the game in general:

Atlaga is a story-driven survival game. To survive and grow, you must make challenging decisions in a harsh environment. Journey through hand-painted and atmospheric environments to unravel the mystery and discover the truth behind this unforgiving, brutal wilderness.

 

As always, I had a chance to talk with one of the developers on the project. This time, I had the pleasure of chatting with designer and co-creator, Lukas, who answered this… when I asked him about the inspiration to the game:

The original thought was to make a Viking game, where we try to go against the otherwise popular glorified Hollywood Viking and try, instead, to depict a more real, dark Viking story. A Viking story where a raid had gone horribly wrong. This idea became the inspiration for our concept in almost all the different stages of Atlaga. Although the game went through massive changes during development the thought of the real and de-glorified Viking tale persisted.

The game is, by the way, free through their site. You can download it for both iOS and Windows, meaning Atlaga is finished. To some dismay, when I asked Lukas if they’d planned to continue Atlaga, he said this:

For the time being, we are not doing an Atlaga sequel […]

However, adding:

[… ]it would be a shame to say that we will not revisit the Atlaga universe. We want to make sure that our next project incorporates what we have learned over the past 2 years.

We found some things that we believe we are good at, and some things we need to be stronger at.  Atlaga evolved naively from a part-time school project, but now with a bit more experience, we are a dedicated team that wants to develop more games. We want to create something new but we want to stay true to what we like – dark and serious.

So, although the dark, Viking survival game maybe a case closed, it’s not certain it won’t be reopened… someday. This news might be most devastating for the fans of Atlaga as the game has gotten quite a bit of following, praising the game for its story, art, and survival aspect.

A good community can be vital for an indie studio’s survival. Like Atlaga, the world of games is a pretty tough place where only an elite has the supremacy and although it is possible to rise in the ranks, the few who do so are far in-between the norm.

So I was curious to know how it’d felt, receiving such a backing for a project, which initially was a display of present skill:

Receiving all the great feedback that we have took us by surprise and having such backing has been crucial to our mental well-being. We had all heard, on numerous occasions, that the internet is a foul, nasty and unforgiving pit of hellish pus when it comes to feedback and criticism.

So far the internet people have been nice to us and that warms our hearts. We’ve actually gotten really good and kind feedback, which is part of the reason why we want to continue making stuff.