We’re excited to announce that Spiritfarer, the new narrative-driven management game from Thunder Lotus, will be arriving on the Stadia store when it launches later this year! The hand-drawn graphics envelop an endearing tale of compassion and adventure that engages players on the topic of death. As the ferry-master of spirits on their way to the afterlife, players will embark on a journey filled with positive memories and cherished friends.
We spoke with Rodrigue Duperron from Thunder Lotus about Spiritfarer’s gameplay, narrative, and development inspiration in anticipation of its arrival on the Stadia store.
Hello! Could you introduce yourself and Thunder Lotus?
Hey there! I’m Rodrigue from Thunder Lotus. We’re an indie studio based in Montreal, Canada that specializes in making gorgeous, hand-drawn games. We previously released two games on Stadia, Jotun and Sundered, and are looking forward to Spiritfarer being available on Stadia at launch!
For those players who haven’t heard of Spiritfarer, can you tell us more about the game and what features we should expect?
We call Spiritfarer a “cozy management game about dying”. You play as Stella, the newly-appointed ferry-master to the deceased. You must build a boat to explore the world and its varied islands in search of spirits ready to begin their transition to the afterlife. You’ll manage your boat like a floating hotel, caring for your passengers, gathering resources throughout the world, and making each spirit’s final voyage a memorable one. In essence, Spiritfarer is a journey through which you learn to say goodbye to your cherished friends.
We’re seeing new characters and environments in the gameplay teaser trailer your team released today (above). Can you tell us more about them?
Sure! Stan the Mushroom Spirit is certainly one of the more quirky and energetic spirits you’ll encounter – likely because he’s also by far the youngest passenger. But he nevertheless proves to harbor knowledge and wisdom beyond his years. Meanwhile, Giovanni the Lion Spirit is best described as charmingly obnoxious. Though he’s passionate and loving, you’ll discover that perhaps an undue amount of that love is directed towards himself!
Today’s trailer shows off a variety of environments that make up Spiritfarer’s world. You’ll see above that Alice the Hedgehog Spirit proposes a trip which will take you from the peaks of the Japanese-inspired Mount Toroyama, to destinations like Oxbury and other urban, billboard-strewn locales. We can’t wait for players to discover how these diverse environments relate to the larger story.
The topic of ‘death’ is rarely featured in games as prominently as it is in Spiritfarer. What inspired the team to develop Spiritfarer and tackle this topic?
Those familiar with our previous games would say that our games are somewhat death obsessed! Like with Jotun and Sundered, mythology proves to be the common inspiration for our stories. The initial pitch for Spiritfarer was to do a farm sim-lite game with the concept of the myth of the souls of the dead on the river Styx. But we wanted to approach that material in a much more colorful and bubbly way, and this was nicely supported by the art direction.
Once we had that core idea, we thought about the actual theme and message and knew we wanted to talk about death in an uplifting way. Especially compared to the more grim setting in Sundered, we sought to create something with more optimism.
Why are you excited to bring Spiritfarer to Stadia?
I believe Stadia is the first step in bringing a state-of-the-art gaming experience into reach for players who have been unwilling or unable to invest top dollar every few years for new hardware. For example, Spiritfarer simply isn’t playable on a PC without a dedicated graphics card. But with Stadia, players can experience Spiritfarer on their phone, TV, or other PCs, which means that more people who are interested in our game will be able to play it.
Why is Spiritfarer an important experience for players to play for themselves?
This game came in part from the individual desires of the members of our team to explore the themes of what death means. I believe we’ve found a very… approachable way of doing so, so that any player can engage with their own feels as much or as little as is comfortable. At its core, Spiritfarer is a cozy management game. There are a lot of chill times to be had, and this latest teaser shows that there’s a lot of fun times too. And there are characters that we hope players will connect with, and be thankful for their journey with them.
In your opinion, what’s the most exciting or impactful moment when playing Spiritfarer?
I think there’s going to be a cumulative emotional effect for many players. You spend the game meeting, befriending, and ultimately saying goodbye to the game’s characters, and what we’ve found in testing is that everybody has their own favorite character. The departure of each spirit may not affect each player the same way, but we hope that for some, saying goodbye to their one favorite spirit is going to stick with them for a long time – possibly a little bittersweet, but with the emphasis on sweet.
What makes Spiritfarer unique within the genre of management games?
What isn’t apparent at first glance is how intricately the management mechanics are weaved into the narrative. Yes, you’re going to farm, fish, harvest, mine, and transform raw materials into other elements, as you do in many management games. But we’ve tried to make these activities more meaningful than the norm, by the fact that they’re taught to you by the spirits, and that they’re performed by your character in order to care for the spirits. In other words, you’re not merely building the most efficient ferry as an end in and of itself – you’re doing so as part of the larger journey.
We’re definitely looking forward to playing Spiritfarer when it launches later this year. Is there anything else that players should know today?
Just that this is a very special game for our team, and that we can’t wait to share it with the world. If anyone wants some behind-the-scenes tidbits about Spiritfarer, our newsletter is where it’s at! You can check it out and subscribe here: http://bit.ly/SpiritfarerNewsletter
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