36 Unravel: An example of Swedish DIY game design

EA had been promising us a “new IP” that was “unlike anything we’d ever seen” – and while we obviously didn’t quite know what to expect, I don’t know that anyone in the audience was not charmed when Unravel was revealed.

Coming out of a tiny 14-person studio in Sweden, Unravel features a tiny, anthropomorphic ball of wool named Yarny. He is – as you might expect – unravelling all the time, leaving a red thread “of emotions” behind him. This thread forms a key part of the gameplay mechanic – it’s not just something you leave so you can find your way home. Instead, you can swing from it, rappel with it, or use it to lasso fish or other creatures.

The idea was spawned while developer Martin Sahlin was on a family camping trip – and while he had no access to a PC, he did have a little wire and some yarn, so Yarny actually exists as a doll that was used to act out potential scenes from the fledgling game.

We don’t have a set release window for Unravel at this stage (of course!), but trust me – we’ll be all over this one across the week to come.

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