The Germany-based indie game developer Grimbart Tales has turned out to be quite the cheeky creative team, which makes us all the more excited for their debut game to launch. In a recent interview, the small team shared some of their inspiration behind ITORAH, the 2D action platformer that will be their introduction as a studio to the gaming world.
Grimbart Tales was founded by the creative director Artur Bäcker and managing director Sascha Vogel. The two met in university, where they started the idea of ITORAH, and then they officially launched their team of seven in 2018. Though if you ask them, they are all just doing the bidding of their badger overlord, Grimbart, who apparently has a habit of smoking a pipe while telling long-winded stories. This may be the best story behind a company name ever.
The team listed several inspirations for the vibe they were going for, including “Zelda, Rayman Legends, Secret of Mana, Donkey Kong Country, and Studio Ghibli’s films.” That’s a diverse list but they have a couple of main points in common. They were all beloved by the team when they were children, which is something that is important to them. One of their big goals as a company is to recreate that feeling that they had while playing those games or watching those films for current kids to love in the same way.
The team also explained that “what those inspirations have in common are particular atmospheres and high visual fidelity, so we strove to create something in a similar vein.”
This inspiration definitely comes through with ITORAH. From the purple-haired heroine to the hand-painted Mesoamerican world she travels through, the game’s atmosphere is lively, colorful, and unique. Bäcker described the goal of finding a balance in thwarting and meeting expectations in the game. He describes the opening location of Aracan as a prime example. The cave is dark and full of spiders, but it is still lush with moss-covered floors, enormous mushrooms, and other flora. Somehow they manage to be fantastic without hitting whimsical.
In ITORAH, the main character is Itorah, the last human in a lush world full of masked beings. For anyone who is unsure, Mesoamerica was an area that occupied some of south North America and most of Central America. The masks of the beings were designed to show who the beings are at their core. Itorah has her trusty talking axe as protection and company as she races through the 2D world to discover her past and save the world from a plague. You can check out the trailer below.
Clearly this game was made with love, and a hand-crafted world is like kryptonite for some of us. ITORAH is available now on Steam if this gets you too!