Creators around the world are using Unity to bring their imaginations to life and make the world a better place. The Changemakers Showcase is a place for us to share their stories. We spoke with Felix Bohatsch, Game Director of Gibbon: Beyond the Trees to learn more about how he came up with the idea for this Apple Design Award-winning game, and his motivation for raising awareness of gibbon poaching and rainforest destruction.
Felix Bohatsch is CEO of Broken Rules. Indie at heart, he co‐founded Broken Rules right after finishing his studies in 2009. He loves to create games that touch people all around the world and linger in the minds of the players, long after the device has been put down. Lately he was game director on Gibbon: Beyond the Trees and Old Man’s Journey, which both won an Apple Design Award.
What sparked your interest in real-time 3D?
Developing games. The great thing about games is that they are so multidisciplinary. Their mix of visual, interaction, narrative and audio design means you work with a very diverse group of people and have to deal with variations of challenges. It never gets boring, and the real beauty is when it all comes together and the game experience is more impactful than the sum of its parts.
How did you network, find communities, and make the connections needed to succeed? Did you run into challenges along the way?
Our first game And Yet It Moves came out of a student project and was selected for the Student Showcase at IGF 2007. We were invited to show it at GDC 2007 and that introduced us to the amazing community of independent game developers. This community is friendly, helpful and full of interesting people. Ever since, we regularly visit conferences and showcases and meet both old and new fellow indie devs. Hanging out with them is always great!
What made you want to change the world?
I think that every game teaches players something and through every design decision, we the developers, communicate with our players.
“I also know that games are really hard to make and take a lot of time and energy to produce. So, I’d rather use this time wisely and focus on topics that I think are worthwhile for the audience of my games to think about.”
Please tell us more about Gibbon: Beyond the Trees.
Gibbon: Beyond the Trees is a hopeful game about the beauty of wilderness and the destructive force of human civilization. It takes the viewpoint of the gibbon and you play this gibbon through a procedurally generated jungle inspired by Southeast Asian jungles. It’s all about exploring this beautiful world with the movesets that the gibbons have.
At its core it’s really about ‘how cool would it be to swing through the jungle like a gibbon?’. And because we were so interested and amazed by gibbons and their habitat – the beautiful jungles – we wanted to show people that this habitat is being actively destroyed and that there are less and less gibbons out there in the world. Of course while our game is really about gibbons and how sad it is that their habitat is being destroyed, they’re kind of a placeholder for all of the other wonderful creatures out there that are losing their habitat and are being driven out of this world into extinction.
“It’s really about putting our players into the shoes of a gibbon and make them feel what it means to lose your habitat and your fellow creatures.”
Source: Unity Technologies Blog