Interview: Prideful Sloth of Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Take a Closer Look at the World Within Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

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Earlier this year, indie developer Prideful Sloth released their first-ever game; Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. A light, playful adventure about a young hero on a quest to save the island of Gemea, Yonder is an open-world RPG with one major twist: a total lack of combat. While doing away with what many consider such a paramount mechanic, Yonder certainly presented its players with an interesting experience — and a very enjoyable one as well.

Recently, Hey Poor Player was given the opportunity to sit down with Prideful Sloth, in order to get a closer look at Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles looks. So, if you’re interested in learning more about how this quirky, combat-free RPG came to be, keep reading on!

HPP: Tell us a little bit about Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles.

Prideful Sloth: Yonder is an open-world, sandbox exploration game full of fun activities such as farming, crafting, questing and fishing.

HPP: Creating an open-world adventure game can be quite the endeavor. What made you decide to tackle such a large project for Prideful Sloth’s first-ever game?

PS: Our team has quite a few years of experience with large scale and open world games so we didn’t feel that making an open world game posed too many technically challenges.

HPP: How did the idea for Yonder come about? Did anything in particular inspire you?

PS: Yonder is a mixture of inspirations; from the games that I love to play, to the innocence of Studio Ghibli movies like Totoro, to the beauty of the world I’ve seen in my travels.  We are also inspired by our friends and family – some of whom you meet travelling Gemea!

HPP: Although an open-world adventure game, Yonder is completely devoid of combat. Why did you decide to leave combat, an element that many consider crucial to games in this genre, out entirely?

PS: We really wanted the tone and feel of Yonder to be comfortable and warm place.  When we started to design the mechanics with that in mind, combat never came up as a mechanic that we felt fit with what we wanted from Yonder.

HPP: Combat can also take up a lot of time in a game. How did you decide on which other activities to include in the game, in order to keep play time appropriate with that of other open-world adventures?

PS: As you said, combat is one way to provide pacing and encourages movement of the players through the world.

We worked to keep these same drivers through collection and discovery. From the start of the game we setup more freeform play that allowed the players themselves to determine how they played the game and in what order they wanted to tackle things in.

HPP: Was it your plan to leave combat out from the start, or was this decision made partway through the design process?

PS: It wasn’t intentional to leave it out, it just never really fit into the world we created.  Even now, loading up Yonder, I still believe it was the right decision. Gemea is a beautiful, peaceful, gentle place.

HPP: Based on a certain area in the game (I won’t spoil anything, don’t worry), you seemed to be aware of potential complaints that players may have regarding how the game was designed. Have you actually received many of these complaints, or has the game been well-received overall?

PS: Overall, Yonder has been well received and we are very pleased that so many people shared in the vision we have!

We’ve also been working on updates since Yonder launched to address some of the pinch points players found were detracting from their experience.

However, at the end of the day we know that not every game is for everyone. 🙂 So when potential players ask about the game on our Steam forums we always send them to Let’s Play videos.  I think it’s the most direct, and accessible way, for players to see if games are for them.  So we very much appreciate all of the wonderful content creators out there who’ve invested time into creating these videos.

HPP: There’s no question that the Murk enshrouding Gemea is bad news. Past that however, it remained very mysterious. Are there any further details that you can give us on what Murk is?

PS: Without giving too many details away, the Murk exists between then Sprite’s World and the human world Gemea exists in.  When the humans over utilized their environment a hole between the worlds forms and it allowed the Murk to seep into both of them.  It’s why the Sprites, who could freely travel between worlds, have become stuck in Gemea, and why Aaerie can only visit you within the void.

HPP: What’s the deal with the rock that says “You are not supposed to be here – Level Bored” on it?

PS: That is one of many Easter Eggs we tucked into the world.  That specific Easter Egg is a homage to an Easter Egg found in a Duke Nukem level.

HPP: What was your favorite part about working on Yonder?

PS: I think the fact that Yonder exists at all is the best part – it means everyone on the team shared a vision of what Yonder is, was, and could be and we all succeeded in making that vision a reality.

HPP: Do you plan on developing another Yonder, or a game similar to it, in the future?

PS: We really want to continue supporting Yonder for a bit longer.  And we truly hope to take all of the lessons we learnt from making Yonder and put that into whatever we do in the future!

HPP: Are there plans for any other genre-defying games in the works?

PS: We are always throwing new ideas around.  However, I never thought of Yonder as genre-defying so now I feel like I need to step up my game!

HPP: How on earth does someone manage to lose 55 cats? And how did they end up all over Gemea?

PS: I am not sure the cats were lost, so much as wanted to escape… 🙂  As for how they scattered all over the world… I am not even sure myself.  Cats are very mysterious and seem to be the only creature not affected by the Murk in Gemea!

We here at Hey Poor Player would like to thank Prideful Sloth for taking the time to sit down with us and answer some of our questions reguarding Yonder. If you’re interested in learning even more about Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, feel free to check out our official review of the game right here!

Starting out with nothing more than a Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Kenny has happily been gaming for almost his entire life. Easily-excitable and a bit on the chatty side, Kenny has always been eager to share gaming-related thoughts, opinions, and news with others and has been doing so on Hey Poor Player since 2014 and has previously worked with both PKMNcast and SCATcast. Although his taste in gaming spreads across a wide number of companies and consoles, Kenny holds a particular fondness for Nintendo handheld consoles. He is also very proud of his amiibo collection. You can also find him on Twitter @SuperBayleef talking about video games and general nonsense. Some of his favorite games include Tetris Attack, Pokémon Black Version 2, The World Ends With You, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, Yo-kai Watch, Donkey Kong Country 2, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Kirby's Dreamland 3, Mega Man X, and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (among many others).

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