Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Music from the Lost Realm

Music – the thing we listen to while we drive the car, exercise, walk around, meet with friends, live. Music makes us dance, it keeps us on our toes, it makes us cry and sing along. It enhances and sometimes manipulates our feelings until we feel part of the story being told, or actually until we really feel there, side by side with our favorite heroes.

Video games abide by this rule too – players need to know that the fate of the world depends on what they're going to do next. How we underline their actions, especially with music, has big repercussions on the feelings a game can evoke.

In November we met with Kalle Ylitalo, composer of Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, to discuss what fans can expect from the new soundtrack. Kalle had already worked on the Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas original soundtrack, alongside Japanese legends such as Nobuo Uematsu and Kenji Ito. When we met, Kalle was taking a small break with Arttu Jauhiainen, flutist, one of the six talented musicians attached to the project.

"One aspect that makes composing for Oceanhorn so pleasant, is that I can concentrate on creating beautiful melodies which often have a hint of Finnish folk music in them," says Ylitalo. "This is something that comes very intuitively for me, so composing music for both the new title and the previous has felt very natural. These melodies have their roots in my early childhood when my mom used to sing a lot of Finnish folk songs to me and my brother."

His involvement in the project has roots in the past: "I've been a friend of Heikki (Repo, Cornfox & Brothers Creative Director and Co-founder) for a long time. Back then, as a teenager, he was already developing games. I don't think I helped him out with the music at that time, but I am now!"

Kalle is currently composing the Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm soundtrack in a new direction. "I feel that the first game was more of a classic adventure, and the soundtrack reflected that. Oceanhorn 2 has more diverse elements, and I've been trying to create musical traditions for each of the cultures in the game." The Pirta theme is a good example of that. There's a shakuhachi flute there, and steam-pipes sounds. "I'm really happy with those tracks because they sound like no existing music culture that I know of," adds Ylitalo. "The role of the real instruments and musicians here is to really make the score come alive. Everyone can hear the difference it makes when a talented professional interprets a melody, compared to a midi-instrument."

Arttu has worked on many different projects, but this is the first game he works on. "I haven't had a chance to play the game yet, but can't wait to try it when the music is implemented, can't be anything other than great!"

Along with Arttu (Flute, Piccolo, Alto Flute), the game's score features Lauri Sallinen (Clarinet, Bass clarinet), Sanna Niemikunnas (Oboe, English horn), Rista Tuura (Violin), Anna Grundström (Cello), and József Hárs (Horn).

"In the first game, there was this flute theme played by the protagonist's father", said Kalle when we asked about how's the main team shaping up. "It was an excellent melody, so I decided to base the main theme on it. That is the only melody in Oceanhorn 2 we have used in multiple tracks. I can't say anything more, or it would be a spoiler!"


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Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Oceanhorn team whishes you Happy Holidays

On behalf of the whole Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm team, we wish you Happy Holidays and a great New Year!

Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm will see the welcome return of a familiar face

The cleverest among you will notice that Hero in the postcard is wearing something peculiar in his head, what could it be?

Yes! That is a diving helmet!

Oceanhorn 2 will feature underwater areas and with Diving Helmet item you'll be able to go for a treasure hunt in the depths, or just enjoy and explore the subnautical scenery!

We can't wait to tell you more about diving and other features, but it is soon time to say goodbye to a brilliant and beautiful 2018 and welcome the new year with open arms.

So without further ado, see you in 2019!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The 5th Anniversary, Oceanhorn 2 and a new website

We know, we know – there hasn't been a blog update in a long time, but we're making up for it! Today marks the 5th anniversary of Oceanhorn first launch on iOS, the perfect occasion for a few things. First of all, we'd like to say 'thank you' to our incredible community – over the years and for each platform release we've seen an incredible amount of passion and support for the world we created. We wouldn't be here without you, and we'll always keep that in mind.

Solve the mysteries of the ancient Arcadians in Oceanhorn 2

It's also an excellent time to talk about Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm. The game is coming along great, and we're confident it will be worth the wait! We are targeting 2019 for the announced iOS release. Over the next few months we'll have updates on various aspects of the game, but for now, you can feast your eyes on the brand new Oceanhorn website we are launching today. It features never-before-seen screenshots and info about Oceanhorn 2, with more to come. If you'd like to cover the game in one of your channels, head to the Press page and download our Press Kit.

Oh, one last thing: we're also setting up an Oceanhorn newsletter, where we plan to send updates on the game before they become public and celebrate the fifth anniversary this whole year in one way or another. If you want to be the first to know what we are up to, make sure you sign up on oceanhorn.com homepage!

Until next time!

Oceanhorn 5th Anniversary label! Let's celebrate the whole year!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Come and play Oceanhorn 2 at GDC 18!

This year we travelled to a (not so) sunny San Francisco on Epic Games’ invitation to show Oceanhorn 2 at the Unreal Engine venue at GDC 18. What an amazing opportunity! We prepared a great demo to show at the expo, so if you’re an Oceanhorn fan, make sure to drop by and play the latest build of our game. You will also meet us, the developers, and have a chat!

Look at that! Our latest demo takes you to the Great Jungle of Pirta, where the Owru nation is divided by an old grudge. Will our heroes be able to unite the owrus and get them to join the fight against Mesmeroth’s Dark Army.

Yes, I said heroes! One of the defining features of Oceanhorn 2 is the party members, who will be on your side through the adventure. Trin, the granddaughter of Arcadia’s leader Archimedes and Gen, a mysterious robot wielding an old samurai weapon eki.

The game is still far from being finished, but it will be worth the wait!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Oceanhorn 2: Development update

All the roads lead to Capital

It has been too long since we gave you guys an update on the development of Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm. Well, all five of us have been focusing on the game, and when you're really concentrated on your work, the time flies!

Grand Core: The city sized machine in the heart of Capital.

It feels like it was only yesterday when we released our first gameplay video of Oceanhorn 2 and even let people play the game at Nordic Game, but the truth is it has been months! The reception of the gameplay video was awesome. We could not get enough of all the impressions from youtube and forums. The excitement of our audience really inspired us to work harder.  After we came back to our studio, we were determined to move to the next step with the production!

Capital's seedier backside

So, what have we been up to? We have been building an adventure! More gameplay, more story, more levels, more worlds. A city. Capital is one of the central locations of Oceanhorn 2's story and it offers tons of open-ended exploration for curious adventurers. In the heart of the city is the gigantic machine Grand Core.

Meeting with friends at Master Mayfair's penthouse study

We hope to bring you more updates in the future, along with some video teasers to give you a real good look at the game! Productions like this require a lot of time and effort, but the outcome will be a cool video game so it is all worth the trouble! When you are making your dream project, you don't count the hours.

Enjoy these iPhone screenshots folks!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Holidays from Oceanhorn 2 team!

Happy Holidays and New Year from Oceanhorn 2 team! See you in 2018!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Oceanhorn on Nintendo Switch - OUT NOW!

Today, Oceanhorn is being released on Nintendo Switch!

Nintendo Switch is an amazing video game console and when I first got my hands on it, I immediately fell in love with it. The ability to go from portable mode to TV works flawlessly, and it all comes down to the genius design of the console. Nintendo has nailed the screen size of the device, to diminish the disparity between the modes – making sure the same game works perfectly on both modes. We investigated a lot of this when we ported a portable game (iPhone, iPad) to the big screen for PC and consoles and it is not as simple as it sounds. People have different expectations when it comes to big screen titles.

Oceanhorn on Switch is probably the most definite version of the game. The game is based on the remastered PC version of Oceanhorn and you can play it in both portable and TV mode. The game runs beautifully 60 fps / 1080p in docked mode and equally impressively 60 fps / 720p in portable mode. The game includes an amazing soundtrack from the industry legends Nobuo Uematsu and Kenji Ito, and our own brilliant composer Kalle Ylitalo. Voice talents range from Ray Chase (Final Fantasy XV, Noctis) and Kevan Brighting (Stanley Parable, Narrator) to Fryda Wolf (Mass Effect Andromeda, Sara Ryder). We could not be more excited to give Nintendo fans a chance to enter the world of Oceanhorn.

Oceanhorn on Switch is probably the most definite version of the game.

From the personal perspective of a small indie developer, this moment feels historical. Like many others, I grew up with Nintendo consoles and games, and this Kyoto-based company will always have a special place in my heart. Nintendo has played a crucial part in the history of video games ever since the dawn of home consoles, and they keep setting the standard for video game entertainment from one decade to another.

From this love and admiration, comes my driving force to cherish the experiences I had in my childhood. I got into making video games, because of the ever-inspiring experiences such as Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Zelda.

Oceanhorn is a game for the Nintendo fans, because it was made by a bunch of them. We are well aware that it is a smaller title and a different title from many of the console experiences that inspired it – but I truly believe that we were able to capture some of the essence of the classics in this game, as well as establish Oceanhorn as a franchise of its own.

Have a great adventure, Switch owners!

Heikki Repo
The creator of Oceanhorn