The team behind Laya’s Horizon is interviewed.
Snowman has earned a reputation for creating games with a steady, relaxed pace. They don’t put any strain on you and provide an environment where you may go to escape reality. Their newest offering, Laya’s Horizon, is available for iOS and Android devices by way of Netflix Games. Laya is a girl who lives in a community of gliders who have perfected the skill of flight with the use of special capes. You may explore the world at your own pace by skydiving and landing anywhere, or you can complete tasks to up the difficulty level.
There’s a really interesting backstory, and this game is one of the biggest Snowman’s worked on. We were able to sit down with many key members of the development team and discuss the game’s past and future. The developers explain how they came up with the idea for the game and what they hope players will take away from finally having the chance to experience the thrill of flight in the palm of their own hands.
Thank you a lot for making time to talk, people. Prior to we dive right, why do not you present yourselves and your functions?Ryan: To introduce myself, I am Ryan Cash, and I am a co-founder of Snowman. I’ve been involved with this project since its infancy in 2018, when I was a member of its core team. Though I spend most of my time on the business side of things, you can often find me doing whatever dirty work has to be done on the games itself.
Jason: Hi, I’m Jason Medeiros, and I’m in charge of Snowman’s aesthetic and development as the company’s head. So, I had a hand in all of our projects at some point, and I was the creative director for this one.
Owais: I’m Owais Akhtar, and I worked as the game’s lead designer and programmer at Snowman on the Laya’s Horizon project.
Remarkable, it’s excellent to satisfy you all. Let’s get rolling with the video game principle. How did you create it?Ryan: This is a little history lesson. Every player has their own theory as to the game’s inception, mine being an early interest in aviation. My grandfather was a glider pilot, and he used to take me up in the air frequently throughout the summer. When I was old enough, I enrolled in glider pilot school and started learning about the science and technology of flying. Every youngster has a moment of fantasy flight, and I got to experience it here. When we first started developing computer games as a business, this question and the kinds of games we could produce occupied a lot of my thoughts.
Inspired by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2’s manual system, we decided to add a wingsuit to Alto’s Adventure so that players may experiment with new and interesting combinations of tricks and moves. This wing-suiting diversion never quite satisfied my curiosity, and I realised it was a topic we wanted to delve into more thoroughly in its own game, one that may perhaps record what it feels like to truly fly. We started watching a lot of wingsuit movies to learn more about them and get an idea of what we wanted to accomplish with our own flight simulation.
This is what led to the wingsuit job, Jason. We paid close attention to where they were standing, how they were using their bodies to fly, and whether or not they were relying only on motion as they watched these films. Kinesthetic was the thing that caught people’s attention and kept them engaged. We planned to design the controls such that they felt like something a gamer would do.
I certainly felt that while playing. Is this your most significant video game to date?Ryan: I think it’s safe to say that Snowman is our finest video game to date.
Owais: It’s the biggest universe we’ve created, and we have the biggest team supporting it. The game’s focus on handcrafted elements stands in stark contrast to the procedurally generated settings of the Alto series. Everything in the game, from the buttons to the player’s personal belongings, was created and placed by hand. Since it’s an open world, it’s also the largest playable area we’ve ever made.
Given the game’s massive interactivity, have you given any thought to adapting it for use on other platforms?
Jason: Many aesthetic choices were made in this game with the mobile gaming market in mind. Even though the open world was designed with mobile devices in mind, it’s the perfect size for a quick session on the go. In a few of minutes, you may launch yourself from the mountain, glide to the valley floor, and either land safely or crash. With quick reloads and minimal packing, you can repeat this cycle of bite-sized fun as much as you choose. The fact that our dual-touch kinesthetic controls translate so well to touchscreens is another reason we think it’s a good fit for mobile. Alternate control schemes might significantly affect the gaming experience; perhaps one day.
That makes a great deal of sense. In regards to reach and ease of access, is this the very first time you’ve dealt with Netflix?Ryan: The computer game Lucky Luna was actually published on Netflix in the autumn of last year. Our first contact with them was like that. To explain, Netflix allows us to create games without worrying about inundating players with unnecessary commercials and in-game content. It’s another barrier that’s been removed, as it’s quite difficult to find someone who doesn’t have a Netflix subscription.
Owais: Netflix has a global audience of over 200 million, so we have a real opportunity to introduce our games to gamers who may not have ever considered playing them before. The unique opportunities available to them can be highlighted. Microtransactions, such as in-app purchases or excessive marketing, have made many modern mobile games nearly unplayable. Working with a major player like Netflix gives us a fantastic new chance to reach a wide audience with our message.
It’s fantastic to see more places crop up where we can make games from scratch without having to worry about ads or in-app sales. The most important part of the game for the player is the core experience, so we can expand from there. Netflix has always been a great place for stories, and the company encourages the submission of fresh, original ideas. It makes perfect sense to work with them as a partner.
Okay, I can comprehend. Now, despite the fact that the video game simply launched, exist any strategies to broaden it or include brand-new material?Ryan: I think there are two ways I can answer it. There is currently nothing of note to share. When developing a video game, we often come up with several ideas that are ultimately scrapped. It’s great to hear from the players and get their input on potential future releases of some of them. We added Zen Mode to Alto’s Adventure, for instance, after learning that many players were using the game as a means of relaxation. We’re waiting to hear from players to find out what they think of Laya’s Horizon, although the game does have a lot of content.
Owais: Just so we’re clear, it takes somebody on the team who has worked on the game for years between 12 and 14 hours to complete all the content. Twenty to forty hours is a reasonable estimate for a novice gamer who is making progress.
That’s incredible and I’m curious to see if it will end up being even larger. Prior to we finish up, I wish to ask each of you: If there’s something you ‘d like gamers to eliminate from Laya’s Horizon, what would it be?Ryan: I believe for me, my primary hope is that individuals feel that they can scratch a bit of that itch of that youth imagine sensation like you’re flyi
Ryan: My biggest wish is that others would have a return to the childlike wonder they felt when they first imagined what it would be like to fly.
Jason: I think there is a good deal of it. I’d like to think that people appreciate the peace and quiet we’ve created, the concept-free world we now inhabit in which there is no contention. I suppose I should say that the most important thing is that I am rooting for people to like the kinesthetic controls. For them, that one minute should feel fantastic and all-encompassing.
Owais: I guess the feeling I want them to have is one of wonderment. As they go through it, they realise that the world as seen via a smartphone is dense and crowded. I’d like them to appreciate how the team worked to ensure that they’ll always have something to do in the game whenever they fire it up. That they may hide out there safely.