A desolate beach. A set of architectural structures of inexplicable origin. A mysterious figure dressed in a scarlet tunic. And you, under the shaded skin of a small child, feel the Mediterranean breeze caressing your hair while gently opening your eyes. You just woke up in the world of RiME .
SKYLAR & PLUX: ADVENTURE ON CLOVER ISLAND
“He who marvels finds out that that in itself can be wonderful” MC Escher (1898-1972)
It was the year 1997. Fumito Ueda, a young man whose aspirations took him to the field of the interactive – not before devoting himself body and soul to cul
ivating as an artist – was beginning to shape a promising concept: the not-so-popular “subtractive design” ” This practice consists of discarding all thos
e elements that do not add value to the video game due to its superfluous character, similar to the Japanese Haiku poems , where the reader plays an active role in the creation of the story.
During the development of titles such as Ico or Shadow of The Colossus a new generation of developers saw the Japanese creative as the inspiring mirror in which to look. Of this current highlighted personalities such as Jenova Chen, Ken Wong or Matt Nava, giving us the opportunity to enjoy such outstanding productions as Journey or Monument Valley .
But the design of subtraction – taken to the limit in titles like Abzû or Shadow of The Colossus – is not a foreign term to many other videojuegos. In fact, it is a principle that is evident in the very genesis of both interactive and artistic design, established in the basic principles of movements such as Renoir’s Impressionism or Picasso’s Cubism . Even in
the most complex videogames a subtraction work is carried out based on saving resources in favor of the playable experience: the mountains that surround Los Santos in GTA V, of having the height equivalent to reality, it would take us days to explore them, not without first running the risk of dying of sheer boredom. Similarly, in a role title we can change clothes ins
tantly, and have to carry all the gear we are accustomed to accumulate during the adventure is not represented in-game by means of a backpack full of swords, armor or food that is beginning to rot, because many times we would have the impulse to throw it downhill to be more comfortable.
” It is the color and only the color that must control the structure, not the drawing ” Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
The Valencian Joaquín Sorolla, unlike painters like Antonio López or Eduardo Naranjo, based the representation of his scenes on a structure based on color, on the energetic and expressive brush strokes that defined the forms bluntly, and on the l
ight that bathed his figures and scenarios through wide strokes of oil . The attention for the detail is not considered as something substantial (here lies the subtractive concept), the dense painting protrudes from the canvas making its texture palpa
ble and the sensations that transmits to the viewer through light and color transport us to those Mediterranean scenes , similar to what was achieved by Tequila Works in RiME . After the success harvested in titles like Deadlight or the most recent The Sexy Brutale , the Spanish studio is preparing to launch its most personal project.
THE CURIOSITY OF A CHILD
In the videogame that we ar
e dealing with, there are no dialogues, there is no voiceover to guide us through its beautiful landscapes, our character will not need to drink or eat during the adventure (it was something that came to be contemplated), there is no combat -though we can d
ie a few times if we are not careful- and we will have to discover the mystery that surrounds us without the help of a map, without markers on stage and without HUD assistance .
During the initial scene, we feel the warm sand on our cheeks while we wake up in a mysterious island. The first thing we discovered is a desolate coast bathed by an intense sun. It seems deserted, calm and the sound of the waves mingles with the croaking of the seagulls. The smell of fresh grass and the almost blinding plastered cement structures that adorn its plateau
s (with Ibizan reminiscences that will also remind us of places like Altea or the Greek Islands), define volumes of fantastic cut, bridges elevated
several kilometers towards the sky and, in the background, a tower crowned by what appears to be a giant lock. A dark and mysterious figure, dressed in a red tunic, seems the only entity capable of shedding some light on this hidden place.