Ten Questions With… Rasmus Stouby (Bolverk Games)

Ten Questions With… Rasmus Stouby (Bolverk Games)

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We recently had a blast with the pure platforming action of Glyph by Bolverk Games, which features more than 80 challenging levels. The combination of exploration, puzzle-solving, platforming challenges, and beautiful visuals certainly makes for a memorable experience, and the game scored a well-deserved 8.3/10 in our REVIEW. To learn a little more about this charming game and the studio, we asked one of their marketing managers, Mr. Rasmus Stouby, a few questions.

Can you give our readers a quick introduction to yourself and the studio?

My name is an exotic jumble of letters that comes out to Rasmus Bonde Stouby. I’m one of two marketing managers (also named Rasmus, so alien) at Bolverk Games. I’ve been working with Bolverk Games since June 2020, and the other Rasmus joined us in November that year, IIRC.

With 12 employees, Bolverk Games is a relatively small studio. Usually, it’s mainly focused on VR games. We have two titles out (Kittypocalypse and Dick Wilde 1&2). Right now, and for the past year, we have, however, been focused on our new platform game, Glyph. Glyph is made for Switch and Steam and is not a VR game.

How did the idea for Glyph come about?

Glyph was presented at an internal game jam (before my time). This was the process with which Bolverk Games decided to determine the next project to work on. The funny story here is that it was actually another game that “won” the jam. I believe it was called ARM and was a factory game of sorts. Well, the guys and girls at the office went to work on ARM but kept making new levels for Glyph as well. Then they’d compete on them in their brakes and spare time. At one point, it got so much that ARM was canceled, and serious work went into Glyph. The rationale was that if Glyph is this addictive, fun, and challenging, why are we forcing ARM? We should build the best platformer of all time, instead! Enter Glyph.

What is it that sets Glyph apart from other titles in the genre?

Short answer: The ability combos that make movement in Glyph one-of-a-kind. And the fact the game demands something of you: Concentration and focus, especially if you’re not a seasoned platform player. The mix of exploration and time trial levels is clever, I think. The exploration levels increase in difficulty, so you need to improve your skills. The Time trial levels, scattered throughout, will help you get better. It takes a lot of repetition, but when you’ve won silver or even gold in a time trial level, you should be ready for the next batch of exploration maps. I really like that dynamic in Glyph.

But, interestingly, we’ve learned a lot about our platformer after it was released. Initially, we felt that Glyph was for everyone. Young, old, experienced, newbies, casual players, and speedrunners. It isn’t. Glyph has a less varied audience than we first expected. Like, while there is a lot to explore, lots of secrets to uncover, and so on, in Glyph, the game is probably better suited for speedrunners and collectors and 100%’ers than casual exploration-type players. There are no time limits in the Exploration levels, so you can take your time. So, we figured casuals would like this, but, I think, the difficulty level of Glyph is just too testing of the patience of these kinds of players. It becomes repetitive for them, and the satisfaction of completing the challenge in front of you, though tremendous, is not enough to leverage the frustration with managing the challenge. At least, that is the presumption we are working with now.

In January, the game had its first release on Nintendo Switch and the PC release followed in August on Steam. The reviews on one end and the player feedback -we have a pretty lively discord server- on the other shows us that Glyph is not precisely the game we thought it was. What really works for Glyph is the controls. The mechanics. The Physics. These elements are almost always praised as “tight,” “refreshing,” and so on. The graphics of the world and the music also get nice words, while the difficulty level is mentioned as either a negative or a positive factor depending on the player’s preferences. So, you know, Glyph appeals mainly to a player type reacting with positive emotions to overcoming tough challenges.

Most games of this type use height to instill a sense of danger; what motivated the choice to set Glyph in a desert environment and make the sand lethal?

Glyph is a pure platformer. Literally: You live on the platforms, and you die everywhere else. It’s part of what makes the game demanding. Initially, you’d think that this limits the game space, but it doesn’t. Hello, vertical platforming. The wall climbing, where you spam jump against vertical surfaces, which then propels you high into the air, is just genius and sooo much fun, and it really opens up the maps. You can use any up-right surface to do this, making it possible to experiment everywhere with short-cuts and alternative routes.

Glyph is accessible in a way that doesn’t compromise the challenge. Was this an important objective during development?

As I said before, our initial presumption was that this game caters to all, but we are revisiting this perception. So, it has something for everyone, for every type of platform enthusiast, so if you’re big into platformers, Glyph is for you, no matter what play style you like. But, if you’re less trained, maybe the casual players get frustrated with the game. So, we are changing away from that at the moment in our messaging about the game.

The Glyph soundtrack really complements the game. Was the style of music set from the start, or did it go through iterations to find a perfect match?

The music is expertly crafted by our sound guy music genius, Frederik Keglberg. His soundtrack is available on Steam in full-length versions. The tracks in the OST don’t immediately recognize as the game’s soundscape. That’s because the sound and music in-game are dynamic to match the progression you’re making as you move through the world and collect keys. It grows in intensity as you approach the end of the map.

Glyph is packed to the brim with secrets and skins; which one is your favorite?

I haven’t managed to collect it myself yet. I’m not even sure it’s actually included in the game, but there’s this lovely eagle skin; It’s a classic eagle, but when this thing is rolling, it doesn’t fold up into a ball, so it’s slapping its wings over the ground and sort of flops and flaps helplessly as it goes. It looks really confusing but also super funny. Also, I’ll always appreciate the turtle with a rainbow trail. It’s a bit of a Mario tribute, and I like that.

What are the future plans for Glyph/Bolverk Games?

Right now, my focus is on Glyph. We need to lift sales, and when that happens, we have various directions we can go in, but that’s speculative at the moment. A multiplayer option would be fantastic, and I think the fans would appreciate that, but first things first. As a studio, we are looking to go back into VR development with our next project. There’s a couple of ideas on the drawing board atm, but no binding decisions yet.

What is the most unusual thing on your desk right now?

I’m not sure if it’s the 20+ years-old picture of myself, the even older Bip Bip games, or my daughter’s 4th-grade homework.

Anything else you would like to add?

I would encourage everyone who ever had fun with platform games to check out Glyph. We have free demos on both Steam and Switch, so I suggest you check that out. It’s three levels designed to be a demo, so… not a “cut-out” from the actual game, but an independent piece of work. If you like the free demo, you’ll like Glyph as a whole, and Glyph has 80+ levels, so you’ll be getting your money’s worth!

A big thanks from our side to Rasmus for answering our questions and giving us a glimpse into what shaped the development of Glyph. Check out our review HERE or watch our First Look Video to see more of the game in action. We also recommend trying out the free demo to get a feel for what to expect from the full game.

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2 Comments

  1. swiftshot 11 days ago
    Reply

    Wait a minute, is that a camera tripod aimed at the neighbors window in that photo? Hmmmmmm. Kidding aside, I’m envious of that mug. Looks like something I can drink my coffee from and use to Hulk smash co-workers who bother me. Great interview, I hope these become a regular feature again.

  2. Erland1995 11 days ago
    Reply

    I like the look of this game but I know my reflexes are too poor for it. Any plans to maybe add an “easier” setting to game with more lives or chances per map instead of the mess up once and its back to the start mechanic? Just that alone would make it much more accessible for many players.

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