As the release of Tandem: A Tale of Shadows nears, we got to speak with the game’s producer and creative director Jean-Bernard Grasset and the game designer Gabriel de Laubier from the young independent French studio Monochrome Paris to take stock of the development of their puzzle-game set in a fantastic universe of the Victorian era.
Initially specializing in creation of VR experiences for artists, museums or even brands, Monochrome launched into video games. After a few forays into this world, Tandem: A Tale of Shadows is their real first professional title. Developed for two years by a small team of 5 peoplenow increased to 8, the software has indeed been able to benefit from a comfortable budget thanks to the participation of the publisher Hatinh Interactive, but also of the CNC and some Ile-de-France region.
Thanks to this, the competition various stakeholders may have been requested to complete thehelp from friends like an opera singer of their acquaintance and the System D. A single person is, for example, behind the soundtrack and the sound effects. Note also that since our preview of the demo, these have been remastered and that more than 500 sound effects have been added, allowing in particular to now benefit from variable sounds of the steps depending on the material of the ground trodden.
Always no french version on the program, however, except for the interface and the subtitles. Rather than medium dubs in multiple languages, it was preferred to retain the successful work of theAussie actor telling the story with his retro English accent Of the nicest effect. Remember that the title takes place in a 19th century Victorian London with many references such as English pastries of the time. It is not, however, a narrative title, the story only serves as a guideline.
Likewise, if the universe is realisticit is also subject to theromantic imagination of a fearless little girl in an enchanted mansion. We thus find an artistic direction very fun and cartoony inspired by Tim Burton, Disney, Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. THE 44 levels what counts the game, haloed withabout twenty secret rooms containing artworks allowing to feed the lore, should occupy you between 5 and 8 hours depending on how you play. Note that the title is intended accessible to as many people as possible and that everyone should find their account.
These are in all 5 fantastic universes that await us. After Kane Manor Gardens that we started to explore in the demo, we will enter the house through the basements where the boiler room is locatedthen we will have to cross the kitchens before joining the reception room with its musical instruments and finally reach the winter gardens where vegetation will gradually take over.
If the title is above all a puzzle-game with a gameplay based on 2 characters evolving in 2 different dimensionsit also offers some platform passages, but these should be kept fairly simple. Moreover, death is not punitive since we then resume the game just before the fateful moment. In return, this is often quite cruel.
Rather than constantly increasing the difficulty using the same mechanics, it was chosen to vary these, especially between each universe. Certain basic principles (levers, push-buttons, etc.) remain, however, in order to serve as a binder and avoid the feeling of embarking on a new game each time. Similarly, it is always a question of play with light and shadow by making the two characters cooperate and forcing continually switch from one to the other. Long passages at the controls of one of them, almost forgetting the existence of the other, have therefore been prohibited.
The developers also sought to avoid unnecessary round trips and preferred to opt for smooth and intuitive learning of each new game mechanic. These gradually accumulate to the final boss of each universe where you have to use a summary of everything that has been learned previously in order to take up a tougher challenge.
Variety was also sought in light and shadow mechanisms. This will be, for example, play with liquids like ink. Cubis (kinds of English Jelly cubes) will replace the classic pull and push crates within the kitchen. The reception hall will require exercise discretion and timing, in reference to musical instruments. Finally, in the jungle that will take place in the winter gardens, a green light will repel enemies or conversely attract them, like mosquitoes. It will also be a way to enable or disable certain elements.
Tandem therefore promises toinnovate regularly and to vary the taste of the pleasures and it is there that one waited for it. It is now a question of seeing the final result with the controller in hand. The title is expected for the October 21, 2021at least on computerand maybe a little later on consoles PS4, Xbox One and Switch. There is no new-gen version planned, but it will also run on PS5 and Xbox Series.
As for the question of the two player co-op which the soft inevitably makes think of, this one has could not be considered here. But if the title were to do well, who knows, she might see the light of day in a Tandem 2But this is another story…