Snowman, the makers of Alto’s Adventure, the award-winning endless snowboarding odyssey, has teamed up with the folks over at The Game Band, a Los Angeles-based studio, on a brand new project—Where Cards Fall, a “dreamlike journey through youthful uncertainty.”
The game challenges you to build various structures using cards only to break them down and rebuild them in different ways. What started off as a fun school project at the University of Southern California about four years ago is now a full-time project.
Where Cards Fall does not have a release date just yet and they’ve only released two teaser images thus far. But if Alto’s Adventure is anything to go by, this could easily become another smash hit for Snowman.
Developer Sam Rosenthal told The Verge that the idea to write a game about building a house of cards was inspired in part by the Radiohead song “House of Cards”. While Rosenthal was pleased with the mechanics in his early version of the game, he wanted it to incorporate a powerful coming of age story about the wistfulness of adolescence.
“The houses of cards become homes for characters, platforms to traverse, places to visit, and so much more,” Rosenthal explains. “After building them, you can knock them down and build them again in a different way.”
After meeting game designer Ryan Cash in 2013, who at the time had an early version of Alto’s Adventure running, the two men decided they would together start work on Where Cards Fall. They have been developing the game full-time since last year.
“When I first showed Sam Alto’s Adventure back in December, 2013, he shared a project he had been working on with me,“ Cash wrote in a blog post.
“That very project is the project we’re working on together now. And so it really has been a long time in the making. But good comes easily. Great takes longer.”
The game incorporates cut-scenes which advance the story by introducing characters that have their own ambitions. “We challenge you to balance their needs with your own.”
I’m not entirely sure how the story-telling aspect of Where Cards Fall will enhance the experience of building a virtual house of cards, but am glad that it’ll be a narrative driven single-player game.
That said, if their earlier work is any indication (Rosenthal created puzzles for Where’s My Water? and designed characters for Activision’s Skylanders series), I have no doubt in my mind that this game will be enchanting.
Where Cards Fall has a minimalist and flat look similar to Alto’s Adventure.
“We’re aiming for the game to feel like a bittersweet memory of adolescence,” said Rosenthal. ”Our visuals and soundscape are welcoming, yet slightly unnerving and melancholic.”
“Whether you’re building dreams in a lake or solving puzzles with skyscrapers, you can always expect to use the houses of cards in new and surprising ways,” he explained.
Rosenthal’s studio, The Game Band, is charged with the game’s development while Cash’s own studio, Snowman, will help with artwork, design and marketing.
“It’s a much bigger project than Alto’s Adventure, so it should be pretty awesome,” Cash told me in an email, adding that Where Cards Fall will be available for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. A version for the Apple TV will probably come a bit after, although they haven’t decided on making it yet.