At Gamescom this year, I also had the opportunity to talk with Bruno Laverny from CCCP about their latest PC-game Dead in Vinland.
It’s the sequel to the survival-game Dead in Bermuda, where you have to make sure that several characters, stranded on an island, survive. This time, you control a family from the Viking period, who were banished to an outside island. Not only do you have to make sure that your characters will survive and have something to eat next day, but you also have to face intruders. Fight them in a strategy-based fight and protect your characters from any attacks.
Dead in Vinland will be released in early 2018. Read our Interview with Bruno for new, interesting details!
I’m here with the developers of Dead in Vinland. Do you want to introduce yourself quickly?
I’m Bruno and I’m working on Dead in Vinland. We’re a small team of more than 10 people in the northern France in Lille and we’ve been working on the game for one year now. We’re aiming to release Dead in Vinland early 2018.
Two years ago, you released the title Death in Bermuda to much praise from critics and fans. Now in 2018, you’re going to release the sequel Dead in Vinland. How much did you change and add since the last game?
Well, in Dead in Bermuda, we didn’t really have much budget for the game. So there were some ideas we had to cut. And now that we have more people working on Dead in Vinland, we have more budget so we could implement more new ideas like the turn-based fighting system. There’s also a weather system with rain, sun, clouded and storm. The management gameplay on the camp are really improved and there are way more characters. In Death in Bermuda, there used to be like 6 or 7 characters and now in Death in Vinland, there will be 14 characters. The story is also much more interesting because there are many storylines like the family that stranded on the island and have to stay alive. There will be storylines for different characters who will join your team. There’s also a story of Björn, the big infamous guy that you have to defeat. And there’s also a little bit of a story about weird blue characters that you will meet in the game. It’s really mysterious. There will also be sidequests. So yeah, we really improved it in every way that we want it.
It sounds very different from Dead in Bermuda, which was set in a modern time with a crashed plane and such. Why did you change the setting for the sequel to the Viking period?
We’re big fans of shows about Vikings. Our game designer Matthieu Richez made a trip to Island a year ago and he was really inspired by the stories and landscapes. Dead in Bermuda was the first episode and we wanted to make a series which starts with “Dead in”. Every game has different settings so it can be in a modern era, in the past or in the future.
A “Dead in the Future” would be actually very interesting.
Yeah, we actually have some ideas for a futuristic setting with the technology and stuff. That would be really fun.
And all those games are linked by a backstory about the people of Atlantis. So all those characters, that are brought together into one place, they’re linked to that backstory. It’s really mysterious and that’s a backstory we will develop throughout the series.
Where did you draw most of your inspiration for the style and setting of Dead in Vinland?
Our Art Director is a fan of the comic Siegfried from Alex Alice and it was one of his inspirations. Our background artist used many references of landscapes in the Viking era and general landscapes with volcanoes, beaches etc. We also have some landscape inspirations from some of Ghibli Studio’s movies and we want our characters to be a little bit realistic, but not too much. We want the players to be really attached to the characters and care about the characters.
Since this is set in the Viking period, there’s a big knowledge difference about medical aid and science between the Viking period and our time obviously? Will this affect the gameplay of Dead in Vinland? Do players have to adapt to what Vikings knew back then?
Not really. We want to have the game accessible for all players, so it has to be easy to play and hard to master. And with the Vikings setting, we tried to be accurate with history technology at this time, how they used to heal and to eat. But the game still has to be accessible for the players, so they don’t have to be Viking-fans to understand the game.
On your web page for Dead in Vinland, you displayed in full detail your progress on the game and you are pretty transparent about the development. How important do you think community-feedback is for game development?
When we released Dead in Bermuda 3 years ago, there were some players who weren’t happy with the ending or the difficulty-settings. They also said it was too hard at the beginning and too easy at the end. We really used those feedbacks to adjust the difficulty and we really worked hard on the endings and the story in general. Actually, before we started working on Dead in Vinland, we asked the players on the Steam community-page which kind of setting they would prefer: If they prefer the same setting from Dead in Bermuda or a new setting set in the past. The majority of players wanted a new setting, so that’s how we came up with Dead in Vinland and that’s how we could improve our game so much.
So the fans kinda decided what the sequel will be?
Yeah, but we were really lucky. What they wanted was something we wanted to do as well. So it was perfect.
So far, you’ve focused more on bringing your titles on PC and mobile. Might there be a chance for Dead in Vinland/Bermuda landing on consoles like Switch, PS4 and Xbox One?
Actually, we’re thinking about it a lot. We’re using the Unity-Engine, so it would be quite easy to port. But the game is considered as a PC-Game because we’re using mouse-controls for the characters. We would love to release our games on consoles, but we have to think about the controls so it doesn’t feel like a rushed port. If there’s going to be a console-version of Dead in Vinland, it will be released after the PC-release.
Makes sense. The user interface is something people don’t really take into account. So you’re taking your time with it.
Exactly, we’re taking our time to think about the controls and the optimizations for the controllers. That’s something we really have to work hard on it before we can release our games on consoles.
After Dead in Vinland has been finished, would you want to create a new “Dead in”-game with a new setting or would you like to try out a different direction?
Actually, we already have some plans for a new Dead in-game. We have finish Dead in Vinland first and we also have to see how well it sells since we need the money to make the game. But before we make a new Dead in-game, we are going to work on another type of game that’s different from the Dead in-series. I really can’t speak about it right now but we’re working on it.
You’ve localized your games in several languages. But what about the Japanese and Chinese market? Would you like to bring your games to the Asian audience?
We would love to bring our games to the Chinese audience particularly, because we know there’s a demand for it. There are many Chinese players who would love their game [in their language], but that’s something we have to think about with our localization-team. So yeah, that’s something we would love to do, but we don’t know yet if that’s possible.
With so many people releasing their titles on Steam through initiatives like Steam Direct and Early Access, do you get the impression that the PC-market is flooded with “too many games”?
There are many people who talk about the Indie apocalypse. There are many many games releasing each week, probably like 120 Games a week. So it’s physically impossible to play all the [Indie]-games. There might be too many games, but Steam Direct has been out for 2 Weeks, so this might change some things. The thing is, as an Indie-Developer, it’s really hard for the game to be recognized by the audience because there are so many great games. But we see this as a difficulty because we would love to be more visible for players. I think that could change over time but we have to see what happens.
And as an Indie-Developer, marketing is a huge difficulty. You can’t invest as much as AAA-Publishers, who can put more money into marketing. So it’s really difficult to tell people “My game is great!”. What advice would you give other Indie-developers, who want to promote their games?
Well, my first advice would be to communicate [with many people] to make sure that everyone knows about your game and they have to keep talking about it. They should have Adlist: One for the blog and one for social media like Twitter and Facebook. I think that’s something that every Indie-Developer needs. There are some games that don’t need to be marketed. Playerunknown’s Battleground f.e. just came out few month’s ago and no one knew about it before and it’s today a really huge game now. But this is really rare to happen to Indie-developers. So they have to be present on social media and on their website. If they can, they should go to events like Gamescom or other local events like PAX in the US. At least they should make sure that everyone knows about their game because there might be many people, who would love it but just don’t know that it exists. So they need to make sure that there is a place where they can have the information they need about the game.
Now our last question: What does being “Indie” mean to you?
Being Indie means to have much more control on big stakes on the game. There are just two artists for Dead in Vinland and they can go out on everything in the game. They can decide what they want and what they don’t want to do. We don’t have managers to give their okay on decisions. If you’re an Indie-developer, you can decide more. You have much more freedom when you make a game. I think that’s the big thing. Also, we have a smaller team, so you can communicate more easily. I think most of the time, Indie-developer share the same office and share the same project. Each person can have a big difference in the game.
Alright. Thank you very much for this Interview!
Dead in Vinland will be released for PC in early 2018. Please check out their website DeadInVinland.com and also Dead in Bermuda on Steam, with a playable Demo!