NewRetroGaming Interview - Crossing Souls Promises Nostalgia

Crossing Souls is an independent and retro-inspired video game currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. You can check out the trailer for the game on the Kickstarter page or on YouTube. Does the song in the trailer sound familiar? Yep, that's Timecop1983! He is going to be contributing the soundtrack to the game. I had the chance to interview the Crossing Souls team.

We should probably start with the most basic question. What is Crossing Souls: An Adventure Between Life and Death?
Crossing Souls is an Action Adventure with an orthogonal 2D view with an 80s looking style, slightly similar to classics like The Legend of Zelda or the most recent indie game Hyper Light Drifter

We’ll be able to control five different characters, each one has different abilities and weapons, which will have to be mixed in order to overcome all the challenges that are waiting for them: exploration, hundreds of NPC from different epochs, solving puzzles, looking for treasures and fighting against enemies.

The game will have plenty of references to films, TV shows and video games that marked an epoch in our childhood. We will look for an emotive touch that make the player remember those titles. Because it’s mainly based in the 80s, the “easter-eggs” will be related with audiovisual content of the decade, but we will also find references to more recent pieces.
How did the Crossing Souls team come together?
We were three friends who wanted to make something different. There are not too many jobs in Spain right now so we talked about starting up our own company. That was more than two years ago and since then, we have completed all kinds of jobs like websites, mobile apps and games but a year ago we decided we just wanted to make games so… here we are!
Which old-school video games served as inspiration for Crossing Souls?
 Our main inspiration are Zelda games, mostly A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. We LOVE that games and we would like to make an adventure similar to them.

We also are taking some inspiration from a French game that we love, a classic gem that unfortunately, many people don’t know: Little Big Adventure 2. If you haven’t played it yet, you’ll find it on GOG so run and buy it!!

Which modern video games inspired Crossing Souls?
We love indie games and they were the reason why we are making games, so we should say: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery (although we love every game that come from Capy Games :D ), Paradise Lost: First Contact, Gods Will Be Watching and Hyper Light Drifter!!
We love Timecop1983. How did teaming up with him come about?
 Hahah we love him too!! We think it just was our destiny! We love synthpop music and we listen to a lot of Soundcloud playlists while we’re working. One day, “Childhood Memories” came up and we fell in love with it. 

Instantly, we sent him an email asking him to collaborate with us as we need some tracks in our Kickstarter video. He agreed and made “Mercury” which is one of the awesome tracks we use in our video. We knew people would love his music so we asked him to create the entire OST of the game. We’re really lucky for having him with us. Crossing Souls wouldn’t be the same without his wonderful music!

What step in designing a video game would you say is the most difficult?
As a good and rich plot is one of the most important steps for us while designing a video game, we believe that the process of looking for a set of fun mechanics and fit them with the plot in order to create what we call a “game” can be the most difficult and frustrating part of all.

Related tasks with development itself like pixelating, animating or programming can be a little tough sometimes but we really love that part as we’re creating what we really want :)
What aspects of gameplay are you most excited for players to experience?
The use of the DUAT stone of course! This is a mysterious stone that players will find earlier in the game and will be able to connect to the death plane and the thousands of souls that exist there, awaiting their trial to be able to finally rest in peace.

You will have to use it wisely to collect clues or solve some puzzles. Thanks to it, you will be able to interact with NPC from different times who can help you in your adventure. The character holding the Duat Stone will be the one we’ll be controlling in the dead zone and it’s the only one who can see the ghosts.

Besides, we really like the idea of controlling five different characters because it makes the game varied and players will have to mix the group abilities with the DUAT stone to overcome all the obstacles they will find along the adventure.
As the medium of video games matures, narrative becomes a focus as much as mechanics. How did the narrative of Crossing Souls come about?
 The idea of Crossing Souls is born from the desperation of working in what you can, not in the things you want and it’s, undoubtedly, one of the best creative moments we ever had as indies. We sat down and thought what plot fascinated us more. Decide which gender it was going to be, the story and the background of your first game’s style is not an easy task. So it was time to look inside us, see what our concerns were and our strongest influences and pulling the thread out.

We basically found out that we missed being kids. In a moment that you’re planning your near future and your possible adult life you always look behind you and you remember what you were and you realize how things change over time. We missed those kind of adventures you used to see in films, where everything was possible and where any kid could become a hero living an unique adventure without stepping out from his town.

We think that epicness is somehow lost. We live more stressed and we don’t enjoy that “magic” anymore, as we call it. In current films more of the same happens. How many people think that Prometheus is not like Alien or that Super8 is far from the magic that E.T. or The Goonies had? 
Is there any inspiration for Crossing Souls that isn’t a video game, such as films or music?
 The game is very influenced by our entire childhood so we take inspiration from a lot of sources. Movies like E.T., The Goonies, Stand By Me, or Explorers are very important for us and we have very lovely memories from them so you can expect finding a lot of “easter eggs” in the game coming from them :)

We also want the players to remember their childhood while they are playing so we have included some cut scenes which are based on the 80s cartoon shows like TMNT, He-Man, Dungeons & Dragons, or Visionaries. We hope people enjoy watching them!
Gaming, and in particular indie gaming, has seemed to draw heavily from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras over the last five years. Why do you think that is?
Well, we believe that many people still miss the old classic video games. Those pixels had a special charm thats why many indie developers opt for that style. But it is also true that working with pixel is easier and simplifies the development of the game so it’s good for small studios that have few resources. You know, if you decide to make a 3D game you will need to know modeling, rigging, animation, illumination, etc… so the development will take ages! (or it would be really expensive)
If somebody was on the fence about contributing to the Crossing Souls Kickstarter, what would you tell them to convince them to support you?
Do you remember what you felt when you saw Michael J. Fox turning into the coolest werewolf ever? Or when Gary and Wyatt created the perfect woman with parts of a scanned magazine? When Elliot and his band of friends took off with their bikes? Or when you saw a DeLorean with a flux capacitor could travel in time? That was PURE MAGIC. The way the stories were told made you believe in them and you could step into the shoes of any character in a special manner.

With Crossing Souls the team wants to revive those childhood feelings. Those adventures that could happen to anyone. We want to develop a funny and profound game, with a great plot that can make the player remember those times with a bit of nostalgia: more than one has used a towel as a cape, a broomstick as a sword or have had a hidden cabin.

Help us to make this dream come true and we can make sure that you won't regret it. You will live a great adventure filled with nostalgia that you will remember all your life!

You can support the release of Crossing Souls by contributing to the Kickstarter campaign.

- Joey Edsall

Joey Edsall

Joey Edsall was born and raised near Scranton, Pennsylvania. He has always immersed himself in art, being an avid fan of film and music and an amateur creator of both. In addition to the electronic production aspect of music, he is the lead guitarist of Scranton-based post-hardcore band Give Us Your Bones. It was his love of film that initially drew Joey to NRW and the unique sounds of the genre, through modern classics like Drive and retro classics like Big Trouble in Little China. He is also a middle school English teacher. Email: