Ask someone why they chose something, anything – from what type of sandwich to eat, to who they voted for in the last election – and chances are their reasoning will boil down to one statement “It felt right.” We may like to think that we’re rational, logic-driven animals, with full access to free will, but fact of the matter is, we’re largely directed by an emotional compass that points us towards doing whatever makes us feel good.
Below is designed to make our various internal compasses point in multiple directions at once, without us even being aware that we’re being psychologically drawn and quartered. The urge to survive, to dominate your enemies, to hunt and gather for cool stuff, to see what kind of bizarre monstrosity might be hiding around the next corner are all at play at the same time. Committing to one of those drives while abandoning the others will surely lead to regret. Balancing them all, while being prepared to start all over again at any time, is the only way to make it to the end.
Creating Below has led its developers to walk a similar path.^( , they were committed to the game’s flat 2D art style. That’s where their compasses pointed them, and they were confident it was the right direction… until some time passed, and they began to further chisel away at what they wanted from their work. As they changed as artists, so did their feelings about what they were making, which led their compasses to point them toward a deeper, 3D look, as well as further changes to the underlying systems at play in the treacherous world they were building.
Now, many iterations later, Below should be ready to release this year. It’s a game that took years of patience, hard work, and a leap of faith to create, it asks the player to do the same at every turn.