Get Sneaky; Solve Puzzles; Play the Lute? Interview with ‘Ghost of a Tale’s Creator

If you haven’t heard about it yet, know that ‘Ghost of a Tale’ is an indie title created by Lionel Gallat, a 15 years old veteran in the animation department, following the exploits of a brave little mouse on a mysterious island. Check out its first details, then continue reading our exclusive interview with the creator.

First of all, I have to admit that when I first saw the game, I was intrigued about the protagonist being a mouse. Why did you choose to feature animals instead of humans?

There is a long tradition of talking animals in animated movies, so of course because of my professional background I’m influenced by that. But when you think about it, when we were children, the first stories we usually heard often featured animals. And in the game having protagonists that are animals allows me to deal with symbols, situations that belong clearly to the realm of imagination. And yet we can recognize some of our feelings in those characters, even though they obviously don’t look human. What interests me is the empathy that gets created in the process.

But I have to be honest: quite often in video-games I don’t like the character design for humans. I find it to be lacking in stylization and it rarely strikes me as genuinely appealing. There are exceptions of course. So that being said, I think for an artist to work on humans (modeling, texturing and animation) is truly a fantastic way of honing your skills. It teaches you proportions, anatomy, etc… And in any case, in order to establish empathy with non-human characters you need to know what makes us humans tick in the first place.

You mentioned this game being a combination between an action/adventure and an RPG. As such, will the game feature more of an open-world environment, or will it be more linear?

Well, the term “open-world” environment definitely seems too big for this game. The game will happen on the Island of Periclave, which is not very big, but that’s the price to pay for not having a big team of developers. All I can say is topography will be consistent. Which means that all the different locations share the same unity of space and time. The game will also be linear story-wise. There is a progression towards a goal. This is not going to be like ‘Skyrim’ where you can spend hours wandering through a huge world with 50 quests going on at all time. Which is why I always emphasize the “small” aspect of the game.

How varied will the environments be? (Like snow, vegetation, etc)

The part of the island that I showed in the alpha trailer is pretty desolated, rocky and wind-swept. But there will be locations with interesting architectures and where vegetation will play a bigger role. Those places I haven’t shown at all yet. Because again I don’t want to reveal too much. I don’t believe there will be any snow though; so that could be kept for a next installment of the series!

How divided are the gameplay segments? (For example: 40% combat, 60% navigation)

That’s too soon for me to say, but I think you’re not far from the truth; combat will certainly NOT be the main focus in ‘Ghost of a Tale’.

Our little protagonist seems to be out-numbered and out-powered. Is it possible to avoid conflict, perhaps through sneaking?

Yes, it is my wish that as the player you’ll never have to charge straight-on into enemies. And anyway that wouldn’t work; as you mentioned you don’t play a super-hero. So elements of sneaking and stealth are to be expected, with indirect methods of confrontation. The alpha trailer video was shot and edited a couple of months ago and while I’m happy it has garnered pretty positive reviews I also know that it doesn’t show much in terms of gameplay and story. But that’s mostly because the game is a very long way from being finished!

Will the game feature puzzles to solve? Also, are boss fights in?

Yes, you will be confronted to some problems along the way and you’ll have to think about potential solutions. I don’t think they’ll be devilishly difficult either; they’ll rely mostly on observation and exploration. Regarding boss fights, there will be just a couple, yes, but they’ll be integrated in the story, not like something that feels tacked-on for the sake of having a boss.

I noticed our little mouse carrying a lute on his back. What will be the use of it?

Let’s say it will play a role but I’m afraid that’s a secret for now… 🙂

Regenerative health seems to be included in almost every game in this day and age. Will the game embrace it as well, or will players need to collect items in order to keep our little friend alive?

To the best of my knowledge at this point in the game’s development, I can say there won’t be any regenerative health in ‘Ghost of a Tale’. You’ll have to find ways to maintain or regain health on your own by picking up some items or accomplishing certain actions.

Will ‘Ghost of a Tale’ support gamepads?

Currently gamepads are not supported (I’m a mouse-and-keyboard person) but I would like to eventually implement gamepad support before the game is released, yes.

Through which service will you deliver the game?

If the game can get on Steam, that will be one way. But I’m sure there will be others (direct sales on the site, Desura, etc…). It’s just that at this point I have no certainties about which service I’ll use. Probably a combination of different ones.

Have you thought about promoting the game on Steam Greenlight?

In fact there is already a page for ‘Ghost of a Tale’ on Steam Greenlight, in the Concepts section. It’s located here.

Lastly, if ‘Ghost of a Tale’ proves to be a success, where would you see the franchise going?

If I manage to finish the game to the level of quality that I would like, and if enough players enjoy the game, then there will definitely be other installments where we get to discover a much bigger part of the world. So other games could very well happen. Although for the moment my hands are pretty full with the current one!

If you’re interested in supporting ‘Ghost of a Tale’, you can find its Campaign page right here.