The exciting sixth qualification round of the Nordic Game Discovery Contest (NGDC) took place during the Exposición de Videojuegos Argentina (EVA) this week. Three selected game studios competed in the online pitch battle, hosted by Nordic Game’s own Jacob Riis and judged by the brilliant Eugene Maleev from Xsolla, Esther Tan from WhisperGames, and Alexey Izvalov from Global Game Jam.
In the end, US-based studio Funky Dango swayed the judges most with their game There You Are, an exploratory narrative experience about moving away from the past and accept loss, featuring stop-motion-inspired graphic design and two endings from the player’s choices and actions.
There You Are dives into the topic of grief through the story of a young girl, Su, and explores what has happened to her family, as well as the young girl and her father’s relationship as they move forward and accept the past and the loss of her mother. While many games already touch upon this type of topic to a certain extent, There You Are uses both storytelling methods and game design principles to exquisitely craft each story beat and depict an emotional bittersweet story.
Started from a thesis project about unresolved grief by one of the developers, There You Are was created with the idea that in life the loss of loved ones is inevitable. Those who can remember our first encounter with death know that childhood experiences can be frightening and lonely. If handled with warmth, understanding, and caring, our early experience with death can be an opportunity to learn about living and dying.
Rong Deng, the founder of Funky Dango says “To be a qualifier at Nordic Game was a happy surprise! It was a big fortune for us could be selected to attend the Nordic Game Discovery Contest. We are so grateful that we could have the opportunity to show our game to publishers and get direct comments and feedback from them. Nordic Game provides us, indie developers, a bridge to discuss, and learn from each other. We cannot express how thankful we are!”
The player has the opportunity to decide the fate of the story and get one of two different endings based on the player’s choices and actions throughout the game.