After several years of independent developers creating innovative and unique games using classic 8-bit and 16-bit pixel art, the hand-drawn aesthetic has begun to gain some traction, as well. Tsioque, a Kickstarter-backed game for OhNoo Studio, previously resurrected the 2D animation of classic Disney films, and the adventure game Candle looks to take the medium into a space we haven’t really seen before: watercolor.
“Instead of making a game based on a previous concept-art step, we decided to create a game that was the concept art itself,” says director Jose A. Gutiérrez in a Candle developer diary. “And that’s how we started working on Candle.”
The team opted for a watercolor visual style, but this game wasn’t just “inspired” by this style of painting; the backgrounds and characters were actually painted by hand, and the “texture of the canvas” is actually visible in-game. As the painting process was much more permanent than Illustrator or another digital tool, the team at Teku (also the name of the game’s main character) had to plan each scene completely before they began doing any actual illustrating.
“There was also a random effect to the process that created some imperfections here and there, but that’s what gives the game its own personality and makes it feel more authentic,” adds artist Jorge Rueda.
A similar, albeit intentional effect is visible in the upcoming action-platformer Cuphead. Burns, hairs, and other minor scuffs are visible on the screen to emulate the imperfections of traditional film and animation.
Though the official release lists Candle‘s release window as “Q3 of 2016,” the game’s Kickstarter page is more specific, stating that the game is scheduled to be released this month as both a physical and digital release. It will be available for PC, Mac, and Linux. While audio options will only be available for Spanish and English, there will also be subtitles for “French, Italian, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Russian.”