An Interview With Nomada, The Studio Behind GRIS

We have an exciting new interview this week from Nomada Studios, the creators of GRIS. A few weeks ago, I got to interview Berlinist, the musicians behind GRIS, and this week is Nomada’s turn. Read on for the interview!


How did GRIS get started? How did you meet Conrad Roset?

We met at a common friend’s party. We clicked almost instantly and soon jumped into the creation of GRIS.

How long did it take to make everything in GRIS? How long does it normally take in a video game?

The huge differences in project scale and team size means that the development times vary wildly; some can take days or even several years. Most commercial videogames take at the very least several months. GRIS has been in development for about three years.

The effort gone into the game is clear to see.

What advice would you give for people who are interested in game development?

First, find something you like inside the industry, because there are a lot of different roles. Then follow along those lines and try to find an internship in a company. Once you finish a game, it doesn’t matter if it’s not professionally made, don’t be afraid and try to get into any company in the world.

What software are you most comfortable using and why?

For me I’d say I prefer Unity, is the one I have more experience and therefore I feel more comfortable working in it. Most big companies use their own engines, but in the end they are a lot like Unity or Unreal.

What, according to you, was the coolest moment in GRIS?

I think, barring the ending, the moment that works most for me is the aftermath of Gris crossing the Sandstorm, when she enters the temple and encounters several columns with engraved statues of a crying woman.

It truly is a beautiful scene.

What is the best way to learn game design? How did you go about it?

I can’t say it enough times: create a game, from beginning to end. Formal education is important, but nothing beats first-person experience!

What challenges did you face as a burgeoning studio? What challenges did you face with GRIS as your first game?

It was especially difficult to compromise in terms of art; our vision was one of a game that felt as one cohesive illustration. Asset repetition is inevitable, but we didn’t want that to kill the organic feel of GRIS. In the end, we believe that we achieved a really good balance between performance and aesthetics.

What do you think is the most important aspect of a game?

That depends a lot on the kind of game one is trying to make. Usually, the key is to try and strike that balance between the one aspect that you are prioritizing and others, without sacrificing some things in order to create the experience you are after.

How do you feel about the reception that GRIS has had?

We are amazed! We didn’t expect the great reception we are getting! It’s overwhelming, but everyone at the studio is positively delighted!

How long have you been in the video game industry? What, and how much, would you say has changed since then?

For about 9 years. Many changes are human: our work is more widely recognised, there’s more women working in the industry and there’s been a good movement against abusive work schedules. Besides that, there’s been a huge indie explosion.

Out of all the games that you could have made, why did you decide to go with GRIS?

GRIS’ concept felt really interesting to us. Besides, we were really into creating something smaller and closer; something more personal to us.

How different was GRIS when it first started out?

Not too much, the core idea was clear and the game evolved from the basic idea.

What is something really cool in GRIS that no one seems to have noticed?

The great variety of animations for Gris. It’s something that you don’t usually see in other games. Another cool thing is the great effort that went into not repeating assets.

How did you figure out the best way to approach GRIS?

Both Roger and I had a few years of experience, which really helped plan and set a course, so to speak. There were a few unexpected incidents, but we managed to handle most pretty smoothly.

What was the hardest part to figure out in GRIS? What would be the hardest thing to design in a game?

Implement things like the lack of death and still maintain a sense of urgency or challenge when the moment called for it.

How well did everyone get along?

Extremely well! The work environment felt chill and focused, and we get on really well at a personal level! Except when we were playing Mario Kart.

What do you think is the advantage of working in an indie game studio rather than a AAA studio?

You have a more personal involvement in the project you are working for.

What do you enjoy most about Barcelona?

The food, the people, and the weather.

What would you recommend to a first-timer in Barcelona?

The nightlife is great, a thing that one must experience. Also, if you go sightseeing, walk. It’s much more enjoyable!

As someone who’s put so much effort into making the game, can you actually enjoy playing the game? How does it feel?

I do, actually. It is a shame that I can’t experience it from a know-nothing basis, but I can still feel many things that we intended to transmit.

What are your plans for 2019?

I want to travel around a bit, take a well deserved rest and plan for our next projects!

What kind of game would you like to make next?

We have some ideas. But no spoilers! 😉

So there you have it, folks! You can check out GRIS, available on Steam, my interview with Berlinist, and my thoughts on GRIS. To see more of their work, check out Nomada’s website and follow them on Twitter, too!

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