Hold hands in solo or couch co-op with Haven

Posted by on 10.28.20

Play the two heroes at the same time, alone or with a special someone.

In Haven, you play as two lovers who gave up everything and escaped to a lost planet to be together. It’s a romantic RPG about love and freedom, but a strong characteristic of the game is that you play two characters at the same time: Yu and Kay. It’s first and foremost a solo game, in which you play these two characters, but with such a duo for main characters, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to make it also a couch co-op experience. In this blogpost, I’ll dive in details about the co-op experience for the first time.

Haven can be enjoyed solo, it’s designed for that. But at any time in the game, another player can join by simply taking another gamepad and pressing a button. The UI will show that co-op has started, it’s completely seamless.

Here, the UI shows another player just joined and triggered the co-op play.

An important part of the gameplay makes Yu and Kay explore the deserted planet gliding over the grass, collecting flow and food, and cleaning the rust in search for resources and new paths (learn more about the gameplay in our previous blog post). While gliding, one player is leading, and the other is following. The character that is following has the freedom to roam around the lead one. Each time you stop, you can exchange the lead, and “take the wheel” like it’s your turn to drive.

However, the following player is not just a co-pilot. They can control what we call a “flowblob”, a circle of flow on the ground that they can project around them to interact with the world as they glide. They can use the flowblob to clean the rust or gather resources. The lead character chooses where to go and the following character helps clean the area.

The flowblob can also be used to slow down a creature that’s chasing you:

In solo combat, the game pad is split in half. You use the dpad to load Kay’s actions and the buttons for Yu’s. In co-op, each player controls their character. The players have to combine their actions.

For instance one can be shielding while the other prepares an attack.

You can exploit temporary weaknesses by having a player stun a creature, while the other prepares an attack that will make critical damage. Or you can synchronize two similar actions on each character to make powerful duo attacks.

Last but not least, if one of your hero is down, the other one can help them stand up again.

While it’s common to see co-op mechanics for action gameplay, it’s much more unusual to see them intertwined in the storytelling. Narration-wise, when the characters talk, the player regularly has dialog choices to make, which sometimes have an impact on the game. When playing co-op, both players have to agree and validate the same dialog choice to progress. From what we’ve seen, it’s very engaging and creates heated discussions between the players on the couch.

We wanted to make a game that can be enjoyed by everyone: solo for a deep immersion with Yu and Kay, or co-op with a friend or a romantic partner. As you read this we are adding the finishing touches to the game. Haven will release December 3rd 2020 on PS5 and early 2021 on PS4.

Haven will be available on December 3

Posted by on 10.28.20

Hello everyone,

That’s it, we have a release date!!! We’re so pleased to tell you that Haven will be available on December 3rd 2020 on PC (Steam, GOG.com & Microsoft Store), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox One. We can’t wait for you to share Yu & Kay’s adventure! The PC version will be available at launch on Steam, GoG and Windows store. And yes, we also hard at work on our Nintendo Switch and PS4 versions, slated to launch Q1 2021.

We are also happy to share with you a brand new story trailer « Can love conquer all? » Watch it below:

 

The trailer has subtitles in English, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish.

Also check those new screenshots from the game:

36 days left before the launch of Haven! We can tell you we are counting the days too!
Looking forward to having you play the game,

The team at Game Bakers

Interview with Pierre Corbinais, Haven’s writer

Posted by on 10.22.20

Pierre Corbinais has been writing for and about games for a decade now and he is the writer of Haven. He’s mostly known for Bury Me My Love, a reality-inspired fiction about love and exile, and ‘Til Cows tear us apart, a two-cowgirls’ road-movie in space but also created a lot of other small games during various game jams. Haven is the biggest project he worked on so far (and he can’t wait for you to play it).

What’s your opinion about romance in video games? What is good and bad, from your point of view?

My main opinion about romance in video games is that we don’t see enough of it, and when you think about it, it’s actually a bit baffling. Romances are everywhere except in video games: I don’t know about the other countries, but in France, every year without fail, the best selling novels are love stories. Turn on a mainstream radio and there’s a fairly good chance that a love song will be playing. And romance (whether it is comedy or drama) had always been one of the strongest film genres: While released more than 20 years ago, Titanic still is the third highest grossing film of all times (#1 in France!), how crazy is that? Everything points to think that people LOVE romances, but a bunch of exceptions aside, we don’t have romance in games, at best we have flirting (in dating sims or RPGs). Why is that? There is this idea floating around that video games are mostly played by men and that men aren’t into romance, but I think both these assumptions are untrue. To me, the main reason why there is so few romances in game is that we, game creators, still don’t really know how to make them. It’s “easy” to make a game where you shoot people (“If bullet collides with enemy then enemy = dead”, but how do you program a game about falling in love? Being in love? Falling out of love? Everything must be rethought, reinvented. That’s a tough job, and a lot of work, but what a great challenge!

Where would you like to see the genre go? What kind of romance story or style would you like to see in a video game?

I would like it to go in every directions, form-wise and content-wise. There are so many different love stories to tell, and so many ways to interact with them to invent. Just try to imagine how every video game genre could be twisted to become a love story: What is a First Person Romance? What is a relationship management game? A heart racing game? A love puzzle?
And we’re not even talking about the new genres that might emerge.
As for the content, there is a subreddit called r/relationships where people share relationships stories (romantic or not) to get advice from the community. I love browsing through the posts there. They are sometimes funny, sometimes grave, sometimes relatable, sometimes just plain weird… I think these posts tell a lot about what being human is, about what loving is, and I’d like every single one of them to be turned into a video game.

Haven has quite a modern treatment in terms of dialogs, compared to traditional RPGs. Was it difficult to come up with that? How do people react to that style?

Haven’s dialogue style came up pretty naturally. While you can find some epicness in the game, I felt it was more about the little things, the daily life, and I needed the dialogues to reflect that. Yu and Kay shouldn’t talk like badass-and-somehow-also-super-witty heroes, they should talk like us, with our hesitations, verbal tics, cursing… I’m really into alternative comics that tell “slice of life” stories (Hernandez brothers’ Love & Rockets, Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, Vanyda’s The Building Opposite to cite a few), I probably draw this style of writing from there.
I didn’t get the chance to see a lot of people playing the game so far so I’m yet not sure how people will react to that style, but the team and voice-actors seemed to like it! The very first dialogue I wrote to try out that style and see if it fitted the game ended up becoming Haven’s first scene.

There’s also a lot of humour in the game. Do you think it’s a way to make the players have fun or to make them get attached to the characters?

Yes, people usually enjoy to laugh and smile, so why not allow that? But humor is also a useful tool for Haven’s narrative structure. In Haven there are a lot of dialogue scenes that aren’t there to make the story advance toward an ending. They’re just slices of life meant to create attachment to the characters, chill moments spent in the Nest. How can you satisfyingly end such scenes that don’t really lead anywhere plot-wise? There aren’t that many solutions: You can end it with something cute, something deep, or something funny. Juggling with the three is the best way to keep the player surprised, and thus entertained.

Do you have a special process for writing dialogs? What’s your one advice for writing dialogs?

Writing is a very weird and personal thing, the more I talk with other writers the more I realise there aren’t two writing processes alike. Some people will tell you that you need to precisely know where your dialogue is going beforehand, me, I tend to just go with the flow and let the characters decide for themselves. Most of the time, when I start writing a dialogue scene, I have no idea how it’s gonna end. This is a terrible thing to do when you work in movies for example, because movies only lasts 90mn and you don’t have one minute to spare. But I think it works pretty well with video games, especially when you want your dialogues to branch in different directions: not having an ending in mind is a great way to allow the emergence of multiple ones.
As for the advice I will give this very simple one: whenever you’re stuck in your writing, drop your pen (or keyboard, or typewriter) and go outside. Walk. Sit in a park. Have a coffee (and don’t forget your notebook in case the inspiration comes back). Breaks aren’t a waste of time, sitting in front of an empty page is.

Finally, everyone wants to know. Are you more a Yu or Kay person?

I put a lot of myself in both characters, Kay got my poor sense of humour and Yu my terrible sense of direction, but I’m probably more a Kay person overall. Yet, when playing the game, I mostly play Yu. Go figure.

 

Fugitive lovers in space

Posted by on 10.22.20

I like to pitch Haven as “Romeo and Juliet, but they survived and escaped to a deserted planet to live together.” But that doesn’t say much about the gameplay. So I would like to share more about your experience as you play the game — what you actually get to do.

The game experience in Haven is created by the intersection of three systems:

  1. Exploration through gliding
  2. Combat
  3. Preparing for your next expedition in the Nest

The story is told during these three types of gameplay sequences. But let’s dive a little deeper in these systems.

Gliding over the tall grass

In a Japanese RPG, what we call “traversal gameplay” is usually pretty simple. You just move your character without any challenge, until you start a fight or reach your destination. With Haven, we wanted to reinforce the feeling of being a couple, even during exploration. We wanted to make it feel relaxing, beautiful and fun. Going down a ski slope with a friend can really feel like that. Gliding over the tall grass is Haven’s version of skiing together.

In order to explore the planet, you follow “Flow threads” that will fill your boots and gauntlets with Flow, the natural energy that powers pretty much everything in their world. It’s also used to get rid of the Rust, the red crust that corrupts the planet and creatures. Gather Flow, clean the Rust and discover resources: food or medicinal plants, materials for combat or to repair the Nest (your spaceship/home), or even souvenirs and items for your home.

Following a Flow thread is usually as chill as going down a simple ski slope, but sometimes you can find more difficult ones that will require to drift, and anticipate tight turns.

Exploration by gliding will also open up new “bridges” that connect one floating fragment to another, and allow you to reach new areas.

Combat and pacify rusted creatures

While exploring the fragments of the planet, you might encounter aggressive creatures and have to fight them. Combat is, again, thought of as a couple’s experience. It’s pretty much necessary to coordinate Yu and Kay’s attacks, or have them protect each other.

Combat happens in real-time, but you charge orders by holding buttons. Sometimes you have to react quickly to shield yourself, sometimes you have to time an attack performed by both characters, and sometimes it’s better to chain attacks, one weakening the creature and the other dealing the heavy damage.

That combat system is thought to make you want to optimize your chain of actions so that everything flows, a bit like in a rhythm game. When you’ve found the right pace, it feels very satisfying to chain actions one after the other, minimizing the hits taken and maximising the damage to the rusted creatures.

At the end of the fight, the creatures are “pacified,” meaning they are cleaned from the rust and they go back to a peaceful state.

Cuddle and prepare for your next expedition

Eventually, you need to go back to your ship to either heal yourself, cook some tasty meals or bring back the stuff you found. The ship is called The Nest for a good reason: it’s a place for nesting.

In the Nest you can craft different things: cures for improving your health, combat capsules that’ll prove helpful against the rusted creatures, and of course you can cook delicious meals.

As the characters have meals, they are not hungry anymore (when they are hungry they complain and are less efficient in combat). But most importantly, cooking and having meals together is the time for bonding. Cooking, sharing a good meal and taking a little break is when they grow, as characters and as a couple. It develops their relationship, and leads to levelling up.

In Haven, you won’t gain that many experience points in combat, you gain more by just spending good time together. That really makes Haven different, as it’s usually skipped in RPGs. You never see your heroes in their intimity. In Haven, you do.

 

Be with them at all times

The story is a key element in Haven’s game experience. Are they going to settle quietly on that deserted planet? Will the Apiary find them and come to separate them?

But the pace of the story comes from that intertwined game experience of gliding together to explore the valleys of planet Source, fighting and pacifying creatures and coming back home for resting, cocooning and preparing the next expedition. All in all, Haven’s game experience is about living with Yu and Kay, every minute of their adventurous daily life.

We’re hard at work to finish the game and we will soon be able to let you know when you can play Haven, so stay posted!

Offre de stage en communication

Posted by on 09.17.20

NOUS NE PRENONS PLUS LES CANDIDATURES
Nous recherchons un·e stagiaire en communication pour participer au lancement de Haven, notre prochain jeu consoles et PC et au suivi de nos jeux actuels (Furi & Squids Odyssey). Nous pouvons vous accueillir en télétravail.

Poste : Chargé·e de communication – stage conventionné

Dates : de 4 à 6 mois – en couvrant la période octobre 2020 – janvier 2021.

Lieu : en télétravail ou à Montpellier*

Mission :

  • Participation à l’élaboration de la stratégie de communication
  • Gestion et suivi de la liste de presse
  • Gestion des demandes de clés par les créateurs de contenus
  • Analyse des résultats des mises en avant et promotions
  • Aide à l’élaboration des communiqués de presse et newsletters sur MailChimp
  • Aide à l’organisation des salons et évènements en ligne
  • Adaptation de contenus et visuels de communication (vidéos, images, gifs)
  • Coordination de partenariats avec les communautés (Groupes Facebook, Reddit…)
  • Veille concurrentielle

Profil :

  • Etudes de marketing et/ou communication
  • Passionné·e par les jeux vidéo
  • Très bon niveau d’anglais
  • Organisation, débrouillardise, bonne humeur et autonomie
  • Plus : maîtrise des bases d’un logiciel d’image et de vidéo. Connaissance de Twitch & Youtube.

*: le stage peut se faire à distance en télétravail ou dans nos locaux à Montpellier (quand la situation le permettra). Notre équipe travaille déjà en télétravail depuis sa création.

Rémunération : rémunération de stage conventionnelle (environ 554€/mois)

Pour postuler : un petit mot avec votre CV à magic@thegamebakers.com

Merci de vos candidatures !

Furi – Fan Art Contest

Posted by on 09.11.20

We are celebrating Furi’s amazing community with a Community Week starting this Friday September 11th. You can see all the detail here (LINK).

We are running a fan art contest with the theme “Fall down seven times, stand up eight”. The fan art can take the shape of your choice (drawing, illustration, sculpture, collage, installation…) but has to be created especially for the contest. You have to be the original author of it. The contest runs from today until September 25th at 11:59 PM CEST / 2:59 PM PT.

To participate, please send your fan art, your nickname, your social media profile and the name of your art to fanartcontest@thegamebakers.com. Don’t hesitate to share it also on social media with #furifanartcontest or in our community hub here! Be careful, you have to send us an email to participate, posting on social media doesn’t count.

Here are the prizes for the winners:

  • 1st: Limited Run Furi Definitive Edition (Switch or PS4) + Furi Artbook + Furi Original Soundtrack LP (Vinyl) + Poster Rider Victory + Poster All Bosses
  • 2nd: Furi Artbook + Furi Original Soundtrack CD + Poster Rider Victory + Poster All Bosses
  • 3nd: Furi Original Soundtrack CD + Poster Rider Victory + Poster All Bosses
  • “Coup de coeur”: Furi Original Soundtrack CD  + Poster Rider Victory + Poster All Bosses

Since the release of Furi, you have created fantastic fan art, it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate your talent, and to share some of our favourite ones!

Deltarune x Furi Game by Aamakuruu

 

The Edge – By Leviafun // Genderbending Furi’s rider – By Nikoneda

 

Rider – By Surejanel

Rider – By Alga // The Strap – By Mysnaileatspizza1

The Chain – Cosplay by Pandadorf

 

Rider – By Rohantohu

  

The Strap – By ChainSawTeddyBear

 

We can’t wait to see the new creation you will share with us for the contest!

Furi – Community Week Announcement

Posted by on 09.11.20

Since the launch of Furi, we have been amazed by the love we received from the passionate and supportive community. As such, we want to dedicate an entire week celebrating you, the players! 

During this Community Week, we will put the spotlight on all the amazing art, videos and messages you shared with us, on your world record speedruns or even on the new games you have been developing based on Furi! We will showcase those on our social networks and on our Discord server. And get your pens ready as there will also be a Fan Art Contest. You will also get the chance to win some of Furi’s merchandise.


We will also share even more about Furi. We have organized Ask Me Anything sessions with the dev team, livestreams to focus on the work behind Furi’s story or on Boss combat design, we will share some Behind the scene facts and more.

That’s not all! We are discounting the game this week so you can encourage your friends to try it! The game gets its biggest discount ever on Steam (75% off) and on Nintendo Switch (65% off).

We planned a lot of things during this Community Week! Here is the full planning to be sure to not miss anything!

  • 11th to 25th of September: Fan Art Contest “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
  • 13th September, 9 PM to 10 PM CEST / 12 PM to 1 PM PT: Q&A about Furi on Discord with Audrey Leprince
  • 15th September, 11 AM CEST / 2 AM PT: Livestream Environment Art with Simon “Hutt” Trousselier on Twitch, Steam and Youtube.
  • 16th September, 5 PM CEST / 8 AM PT: Boss Game Design video on the Burst with Benjamin Le Moullec, on Youtube
  • 17th September, 8 PM CEST / 11 AM PT: Livestream on Steam and Youtube on Furi, Running Commentary focusing on the Story

We’re often asked to share numbers about Furi. This community week is the perfect time to do that. So here are a few, remember the game launched as PlayStation Plus free game of the month and on Steam in July 2016, released on Xbox later in 2016 and on Switch in 2018.

Furi’s first month was at the same time spectacular with over 2.8 million downloads on Playstation and very scary with only 17 000 sales on Steam… Did the free downloads canibalize the sales? Or did it compensate with the extra visibility? We wil never know. But what surprised us with Furi, and what we happily discovered after a few months, is that it never stopped selling! With the game quality – it was rated for a while 95% by Steam players and is still today at 91% – and the support we received from you, the game continued selling over the years. We were lucky to have created a game unique enough to become an “Evergreen” title. This was also helped by the launch for Furi on Switch in 2018, where the game performed really well, of our DLC and our continued support of the game (patches with fixes and new features like the Invincible mode, new languages, …)

All in all, in addition to the 2.8 million free downloads, the game sold over 700 000 copies, about 40% of those on Steam. There are still 273 000 Steam users who have the game in their wishlists today! If you are, it’s the perfect time to buy it (or to offer it to a friend!)

The game’s soundtrack has also come a long way, with over 40 million streams on Spotify only, 45 million on Youtube. What a journey!

Don’t hesitate to join the community on our Discord server or to follow us on our social media to be noticed about our next announcements!

Haven – Gamescom rendez-vous and summer shows recap

Posted by on 08.26.20

Hello everyone,
We hope the summer has been treating you well. We wanted to give you a heads-up about our upcoming rendez-vous later this week and update you on what happened over the last months!

Do not miss: Haven at Gamescom!

We still have a couple of new announcements and info to share with you… In particular, we have prepared a few delicacies for Gamescom in August. Do not miss:

  • Visit us on our cosy virtual Indie Arena Booth from Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th. Some of our team members will be on the booth, and if we are not, you will be in the good hands … errr paws?… of a friendly Salamash… —> This way to the booth.
  • Join us on the booth for our Ask Me Anything sessions: with Pierre Corbinais, Haven’s writer Saturday 29th (10 AM CEST) and with Audrey Leprince, Executive Producer Sunday 30th (3 PM CEST)
  • Haven demo will also be up on Steam again for those of you who haven’t tried it yet.
  • To conclude catch the Awesome Indies show Saturday, streamed on IGN. The count down will start Saturday 29th at 7:50 am PT / 16h50 CEST and you won’t want to miss the beginning (hint, hint) …

Haven Booth on the Indie Arena Booth


Haven – Coming to PlayStation 5

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dwMpjFoWWx0

The Nest will land on PlayStation 5! That’s quite big news, right? We were happy to be part of the surprise Sony Indie Day on July 1st with a bunch of excellent indie games. We are very excited about bringing Haven to PlayStation 5 and working hard to make the most of the new console capacities and features! We will share more soon. For the occasion we created a new trailer that you can see above.

The most perspicacious of you might have guessed that this was going to happen… Especially if you spotted our studio co-founder during her split-second cameo in Sony PlayStation 5 big reveal earlier on this summer…


Haven – PC Gaming Show

E3 didn’t happen this year, but the shows that traditionally take place during the conference took place online, like the PC Gaming Show. Haven got featured among amazing games, and we were happy to bring Yu and Kay in front of many PC players eyes. You can find below the short trailer we created for this special occasion.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IPyRa76nTlg


Haven in Indie World Showcase

We know the Nintendo fans among you have watched the latest Indie World, last Wednesday. We hope you enjoyed a glimpse of new footage from Haven.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BogOkvVIj8&feature=youtu.be&t=1187


Haven – Summer Show Summary

Yu & Kay were invited to quite a few other shows this summer and we shared some new footage of the game. As it can be hard to keep track of all of them, you will find below all the videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3m4fBhMEHSA

5 minutes of Gameplay – Guerilla Collective

https://www.youtube.com/embed/QJ6dpNrSqvA

Commented Trailer – IGN Summer of Gaming

Follow our YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss anything, or of course follow us on our Social Networks.


Thank You

We are receiving amazing fan for Furi and Haven! Thank you to all of you who made some art inspired by one of our games.

Yu & Kay by CrystalCaverns

The Guardians portraits by Katu_Jan

The Scale by sack_arts

 

Yu & Kay by Shaxx_Olivia

Interview of Danger: Composer of Haven Soundtrack

Posted by on 07.20.20

The original soundtrack of Haven will be fully composed by French electronic musician Danger. With one foot in the world of music and the other in computer graphics and gaming, Danger is returning to the spotlight with his work for Haven after his first album 太鼓 and Origins. The first single “4:42 Still Free” is available and you can listen to it for free on YouTube or on other platforms like FanLink.

Emeric Thoa (Haven Creative Director): Musician, designer, gamer, video maker, visual artist… You have a very eclectic profile as an artist. Where does this come from?

Danger: I never wanted to choose between music and images. I grew up listening to music in movies and video games and watching music videos. Music and visual arts are just manipulations of waves, and their basic vocabulary is practically the same: wavelength, frequency, amplitude, whether it’s a color or a musical note. My music is enriched by what I learn through the images.

With all the media that we consume daily, I take advantage of everything I can to express what I feel, and I’d hate to be stuck doing just one thing. Writing the soundtrack to a video game is a great chance to expand this spectrum.

Emeric Thoa: Your music is usually quite dark, but Haven is a “feel-good” game. What was it like to step away from your preferred tone a little bit?

Danger: It’s true that I do like a mysterious, nocturnal atmosphere. If I take an overall look at my work, I realize that I’m more generally drawn to all the feelings that stem from childhood and adolescence. I’m still pretty connected to that part of me.

I feel like people tend to romanticize the emotional world of kids: it’s this wonderful world, a time of innocence where everything is just joy and “simple” happy feelings. That’s not what I remember: for me, childhood is a world where everything is new, everything is strange, where things are undefined, a world made up of irrational fears. It’s a world that’s weird, intuitive and chaotic, where everything is built on sensations. Hayao Miyazaki’s work offers a very nuanced representation of this particular vision of childhood, and his work was an important reference for me as I worked on this soundtrack.

While so far I’ve been more interested in exploring the nightmare zone in my music, the Haven soundtrack gave me the chance to explore other, brighter aspects of childhood.

Emeric Thoa: Even though the music from Furi and Haven are quite different, do you think there is some kind of link, a shared DNA between these two games and soundtracks?

Danger: Furi is a more warlike game, in one-player mode only, with a very retro/synthwave musical vibe. The music had to be really “tough,” “hard,” yet “knightly,” with an underlying idea of rupture. Haven is a game that leaves much more space for exploring the environment and the relationships between the characters.

Very early on, I felt that the most important emotion was the idea of a connection that the player has to weave little by little between all the various parts.

The music for Haven had to express this connection: something that’s built up little by little, that becomes increasingly solid, encompassing, reassuring, bewitching, while never denying its underlying fragility.

The design and conception of the two games are also linked through their Franco-Japanese identity, and my work in general shares these influences as well. I was heavily influenced by the Franco-Japanese animation series from the 80s, like “Ulysses 31” and “The Mysterious Cities of Gold,” two series with soundtracks that were really important to me, and I wanted to evoke memories of those childhood moments in Haven.

The two soundtracks are also connected through a feeling of adventure, a hero’s journey, and an epic quest. These emotions are also fundamental in my music, which really made things easier in general for our collaboration.

Haven and Furi also share the fact that they’re games that don’t focus on realistic graphics but rather a distinct visual approach with a very unique style and color palette. I was also careful to use a more restrained musical palette, and I hope it’s very recognizable without being a purely synthwave product.

Emeric Thoa: As videogame fans, we are curious to know if there is any iconic video game you would like to compose music for?

Danger: I’d love to do more soundtrack compositions in the future. There’s a bright future for cross-over projects between video games and music, in the same way that in movies there are often director and composer partners who work together. I think the video gaming world could benefit greatly from this (Fincher and Trent Reznor for example, or Miyazaki and Joe Hisaishi).

Video games are in their golden age, where even AAA’s are trying out some weird things. There’s still a lot to be done in soundtracks. Personally, I don’t consider any movie or video game to be a “cult classic” if it doesn’t have an incredible soundtrack.

For now, I imagine my music more in the world of independent video games, which allows for projects that are a little rougher around the edges, but on the other hand I’d love to imagine my music being used in a game like Final Fantasy, a game from Hideo Kojima or Fumito Ueda.


To learn more about Danger, you can check his website.

Haven is coming to PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PlayStation in 2020. More info here: https://www.thegamebakers.com/haven/

Take a break in Haven

Posted by on 07.10.20

People often ask me why we didn’t do a sequel to Furi, and I usually answer that we made Haven because our goal is to surprise players, to innovate, to explore new experiences. This is the absolute truth. But there’s another side to it that I don’t always tell: Furi was exhausting to make. I needed a pause from fast paced action. I wanted a game that felt like a break between two action games. 

When I was working on AAA games, I played pretty much every blockbuster to know the market, the competition. But between a game of Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed, I needed a pause, and I used to play 30 minutes of Flower. I remember this time fondly. This game helped me relax between two overwhelming experiences.

That feeling was at the core of what I wanted to make with Haven: a game that feels like a gentle breeze. A game that lets you relax. A game that’s like holding hands on a nice outdoor walk. One way to achieve that was of course with Haven’s concept: the love story of a couple trying to stay together. A couple gliding over tall grass on a deserted planet. 

Gliding and leaving a trail of tall grass is relaxing

But that relaxing feeling doesn’t come only from the game setting. All the game design around it has to make the experience smooth and chill. I wanted a game that felt light. Lighter than most modern big games that ask you to remember so many things.

If you don’t see what I mean by that, think about any big AAA open world game or RPG. They all have tons of features, most of the time the same features but with tiny differences in their implementation. Character progression, with lots of characteristics. Weapons and upgrades. Skill trees. Combos. Vehicles. AI teammates. Consumables items. Wide variety of lootable objects. Exotic gameplays like puzzles or races… 

All those features and content are exciting. It sometimes adds depth, it helps build the lore and makes the experience immersive. But it’s also a bit tiring. Playing those games is like learning a new language. There is so much content that, naturally, it means a lot to learn and remember. 

In order to create that relaxing feeling in Haven, we had to drop all that content. We had to reduce the amount of information needed. It’s a game where we want you to feel free: you broke from your chains and you explore a mysterious planet. We don’t want the game to be a drag by asking you to remember too much. To make it feel simple, we needed to make it lighter. 

Here is a bunch of concrete design decisions that came from this philosophy: 

No quest log

A RPG needs a main quest and side quests, right? Well, there are lots of secondary things to do in Haven, they are just not formatted in a “to-do list”. If you are like me, you already have tons of to-do lists in your real life… I didn’t want Haven to be yet another game with a list of objectives to complete. So in Haven, there’s a simple main objective, given by the story and no objective list! 

You can always have a chat on the couch to get a reminder of what to do.

After that it’s just about you exploring Source. To be honest, Yu and Kay do have a logbook. It helps you remember what to look for on the different fragments of the planet. But it’s not a list of tasks. There are no “tasks to complete” in Haven, because tasks are boring and tiring.

The logbook (bottom right) lists what’s been done and left to do on each fragment.

Simple economy

In many games, you have to manage resources, currencies, and optimize your spendings to save every little gold coin you can. In Haven you won’t have to worry about micro management. You have enough or you don’t, that’s it. 

The inventory screen is rather simple compared to most RPGs

On Source, Yu and Kay gather flow, a very handy energy they use for many things. The flow meter isn’t a detailed gauge with number and an advanced refill system. It’s a ball of energy that’s more or less bubbly depending on how much flow you have. 

You never need to know “precisely” how much flow you have, you just need to know if you’re running out.

You don’t have to check how much rust (the red crust that covers the planet) or food you have, you just go craft something and you’ll see. Basically, you never really think about managing your inventory. 

Very few numbers

Even action games can be crowded with numbers these days. In Haven, you don’t have a precise health bar in combat, but instead your characters show their health status through the color of their energy suit and by the way they move. The game is designed so that you don’t need the precise info (note: and it’s also designed to be colorblind-friendly). 

When their health state changes, the characters walk and stand differently.

Their stamina and hunger are reminded through the dialogs. The only number you see is the damage when hitting an enemy or taking a hit. 

Numbers here are not really important, they just show which attack deals more damage.

Simple crafting

Crafting can be very fun and prompt experimentation. But it can also require a lot of memorisation. In Haven, the UI simply shows you the ingredients you have. You can start mixing them and you’ll see a preview of the result. 

Aaah… Creamberry flambé <3

No weapons or skill tree

I’m a RPG lover. I can appreciate spending hours choosing the best equipment for my team. But Haven’s taking a break from that. There’s no choice of weapon or skill tree. Sometimes it’s also fine to just focus on being good in combat, by yourself. And to drop the burden of comparing stats for each item in the game.

Yu and Kay evolve and gain new skills, but the game is not about becoming more powerful.

Very little HUD and UI

It seems easy to state “there will be no HUD”, but eventually you find out that people don’t understand a complex game without help from the interface… That happened to me on many games, indie and AAA alike. The only way you can achieve this is by actually having a very simple game. Journey pulled it off brilliantly. In Haven, the HUD is really super light, because the game is simple from the root.

While gliding, you just need to focus on your characters and where you want to go. 

Play coop seamlessly

Even starting a co-op session has been designed to be easy and simple. If you’re playing solo and want someone to join your game, they just have to take the gamepad and press a button. Co-op will start automatically. There’s no menu. You don’t have to start over a new game. 

A second player can join simply by pressing a button on their gamepad.

Of course simplicity is not the only way to go. I love a hairy and dense RPG as much as anyone else. But sometimes, between these deep and exhausting systems you learn in games, it’s good to take a little break. It’s what we wanted to achieve with Haven. Make it a gentle breeze, a soft hand that will take you through its journey without asking you to care too much about details. In Haven, we only want you to care about Yu and Kay.