The Sea Will Claim Everything is a whimsical, sharp, somewhat inscrutable adventure game by Jonas Kyratzes. Launched last week as a downloadable title for PC, the game caught our attention not just beacise of its idiosyncratic visuals, but also because of its idiosyncratic themes.
Kyratzes describes the game as “literary, political, personal, silly, serious, and somewhat obsessed with details.” But there’s also a childlike quality to the game, an inscrutable authenticity that derives from the designer’s desire to make a game without the baggage of the adult game-maker.
“I tried to go back to thinking about games as I did when I was a child: full of enthusiasm, without cynicism, before I heard of game design dogma and strange debates about what makes a game a proper game,” he says. “It’s just the sort of game that would have made little Jonas happy, that he could have spent hours exploring and playing with. It has a lot in it of the games that I played back then, sometimes without fully understanding them.”
Hookshot wanted to find out a little bit more about the game, so we sat down with Kyratzes to, er, find out a little bit more about the game…
Hookshot Inc.: What’s your story?
Stubborn Greek/German working-class guy insists on making the games he’d like to play. Fails to be successful, tries again anyway.
Marries an equally stubborn woman. They make games together. Still fail to be successful, try again anyway.
In the end it turns out they’re being controlled by a cat.
Describe your game in 15 words or fewer.
A story about the places we call home.
What made you think: I have to make this game?
The 1€ on my bank account. (Later, when I knew what it would be about, the fact that the story mattered to me. But when I began? The one euro.)
You describe tour game as ‘literary, political, personal, silly, serious, and somewhat obsessed with details’ What is your primary intention with the game?
To make a good game – a game I would like to play. Everything else proceeds from there.
What did you do before making this game?
I made other games. I tried to make a living while remaining creative. I worked in a Writing Center, teaching people how to write academic essays. I struggled with an angel of the Lord, but the angel always won and made me clean that yucky bit in the sink where bits of food accumulate.
Name one way in which being an indie developer is better than your previous job, and one way in which it’s worse.
It’s better in that I get to make my own hours. It’s worse in that the hours I make are all the hours in the day.
How did you go about designing the game?
It grew organically, actually, which is rather fitting given that much of it is about organic technology. When I started making it, I tried to be a good designer and plan out everything in advance, but the results were terrible. I simply got stuck. I had to discover the game (not the story, but many of its elements) much like the player does, by experiencing it. This also means that in many cases my wife’s pictures shaped the design in unexpected ways.
What is your favourite moment in The Sea Will Claim Everything?
The end. The game’s last words came to me in the same instant the title came to me, and they define the entire journey.
What’s the dream? Where are you headed next?
The big dream, the dream I started out with, is to make games and screenplays and movies and books. To make it as a writer and a filmmaker as well as a game designer. I haven’t quite given up on that
(and our first children’s book is being published in Greece later this year), but the last few years have taught me humility. So the little dream, the hopefully more realistic dream, is to somehow manage to make a living by making games. To keep a roof over our heads.
There are plans, including ones for another Lands of Dream game, called Ithaka of the Clouds, but for all I know I’ll be working some crappy 8-to-5 job a month from now.
What two pieces of advice would you give to someone wanting to get into independent game dev?
Have a steady source of income or something to fall back on, because even if people like your work, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to make a living. And don’t believe in any of the dogmas that tell you what a game should be. Make your own thing.
You can download The Sea Will Claim Everything here for $10.