Unravel Two

This year’s relatively disappointing EA Play was underpinned by one glimpse of positivity, and that was the surprise release Coldwood Interactive’s whimsical co-operative adventure Unravel Two.

Speaking to gamedaily.biz, Coldwood Creative Director Martin Sahlin opened up on the release strategy for Unravel Two, the possibility of porting the title to the Switch, and implored developers to ditch their reliance on dystopian settings.

Sahlin was especially passionate about the viability of surprise releases, seeing the strategy as a nice balance between saving heavily on marketing costs and ensuring the pace of development remained steady. Comparing the release of Unravel Two to the first title, he stated:

“Either you announce and release super, super early, or you just try to keep it under wraps for as long as you can because that in between is kind of awkward. This is something we noticed with the first game. When we put it out there it made a really big splash and then nine months later, it’s sort of like people forgot that we were a thing […] So that’s why I think, especially for smaller games like ours, you have to make the most of your time in the spotlight because you can’t count on billions of marketing dollars.”

Sahlin admitted that the studio could only afford this surprise release luxury as it was developing a sequel; doing so would be impossible with a new IP as the developer would miss out on vital feedback. By incorporating the feedback from the original Unravel, Coldwood was able to build a game without specific player feedback, as well as make the decision to focus on co-operative play:

“I think for the most part, most of the decisions that we made for this game were kind of informed by what we saw and what we learned from the first game […] It’s also very much an idea borne out of just watching people play the first game because we noticed that so many people played it together with their children or their partners. […] [It] just felt like the completely natural choice that there has to be two characters in this game.”

The move to co-operative play, too, served another of the project’s goals, which was to push for optimism and regress from negativity. The move to having two central characters was central to the title’s utopian outlook:

“Solidarity essentially is what is going to get you through this adventure. I wish that there were more positive games out there. I wish people would make more utopian games rather than dystopian games because I feel that as much as we shape our culture, our culture also shapes us.”

Of course, where co-operation is present, the question about a Switch port soon follows. Sahlin stated that a Switch port would have slowed development down far too much, but “would so love to put [Unravel Two] on the Switch.” More details can be found on gamedaily.biz’s excellent in-depth interview with Sahlin.

Be sure to revisit Rhys Cooper’s glowing review of Unravel, and to follow OnlySP on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Ben Newman

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