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By Ishaan . December 10, 2010 . 1:26pm
A side-scrolling action platformer with light role-playing elements, the original Trine was a rather unique experience with its interesting cast of characters and mix of old and new game design. Developer, Frozenbyte, are now working on Trine 2, being published by Atlus on PC, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.
Siliconera recently had the chance to ask Lauri Hyvärinen, CEO of Frozenbyte and designer of the Trine games about Trine 2, and what improvements Frozenbyte are hoping to make to the sequel. The short version is “everything.”
Trine 2 won’t be a completely different game from the original, but everything from the game’s physics, to the skill system to the puzzles is being fine-tuned in the pursuit of doing things the original game couldn’t. One of these is the addition of online co-op multiplayer, which wasn’t present in the original Trine. A lot of the touch-ups and newer elements of Trine 2’s design extend to the game’s multiplayer mode as well, and several are even designed around it.
In part 1 of our interview, we discuss the game’s characters, and what improvements Frozenbyte have made to the thief, wizard and knight.
Why did you choose to return to the same cast for Trine 2, rather than new characters belonging to the same classes?
Frozenbyte CEO, Lauri Hyvärinen: We felt the story was not yet fully told, we had just scratched the surface with Trine. There was a lot of potential that we wanted to tap into, and now with Trine 2 we’re able to present the characters in the way we want. Perhaps more importantly story-wise, we have a couple of additional characters who make sure the story is a lot better and more focused this time around. We’ve also added a new writer to the team. Thanks to all this, Trine 2 is going to be a great fantasy fairytale.
Trine 2’s story takes place a few years after the first game, doesn’t it? How have the characters evolved in terms of personality and experience since their adventure with the Artifact of Souls?
Trine 2 is set a few years after the original, yes. We’ve given each character a great deal of more depth, a wide variety of new skills, and they get a little more personal in tackling the new threat facing the Kingdom. They’ve grown a bit as characters but they still have different personalities. There won’t be a lack of drama or laughter! :)
In terms of art direction for Trine 2, how are you trying to set it apart from the original? Did you have any aesthetic themes in particular that you looked to for inspiration?
Trine 2 goes much deeper into the mix of fantastic, colorful settings and strange machinery. On the technical side we have improved especially lighting, with proper shadows and a lot of tweaks. Our art team has also created all-new assets for Trine 2, and now all the vegetation and other items in the world are beautifully animated. You could say that the fantasy world of Trine 2 is full of life.
The Wizard, Thief and Knight each had their pros and cons in Trine, but in terms of abilities, Zoya was probably the most balanced, since she could navigate a really wide variety of obstacles, and, if you kept your distance, you could use her effectively as an offensive character as well. Amadeus and Pontius, in comparison, weren’t as flexible. Are you planning on making them a little better-rounded this time around?
Yes, that’s one of the areas we’re focusing on. We haven’t removed anything from Zoya (in fact the opposite) but we have added a great deal of new abilities to both Pontius and Amadeus.
We have also designed all the puzzles in the game to be unique, and this time they’re a bit more challenging – they’re going to require a bit more than just the grappling hook or a couple of boxes. However, to maintain the smooth gameplay that Trine is known for, we have also increased the number of possible solutions, and this is especially true in online or offline co-op where a lot of clever solutions are just waiting to be found!
Speaking once again to Zoya’s abilities, she can slow time down this time around. How does this spell effect the Wizard and Knight’s abilities while it’s active?
In singleplayer, the time slow ability is only effective when Zoya is in use. This changes drastically in online or offline co-op where the time slow effect is the same for everyone. It slows down the world around the characters but not the characters themselves, so it’s a huge benefit to the player. We can’t wait to see some of the tricks that people pull off with it!
Skill progression in Trine was a little linear in general, and the game only let you add points to specific skills when you leveled up. Are you planning on making this a little more flexible in Trine 2, to give players a little more freedom with how they want to shape their characters?
We’ve made big changes to the skill system. While all of the great abilities can still be found in the new system, there’s a bunch of new, cool abilities, and the skill progression system gives the player a lot more freedom and choices.
It’s possible to skill up the characters unevenly. Still, each character has a nice set of abilities so none of them is going to become useless. We’re hoping that players give good ol’ Pontius a little bit more love this time around.
Look forward to part 2 of our Trine 2 interview in the very near future!