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Luto - Broken Bird & Selecta Play Arucas Gaming Fest Interview

Right before its PS5 demo was released, we got to catch up with the studio's programmer & producer Santiago Miguel, and with the publisher's head of gaming Javier Puertas, to learn all about one of 2024's potential horror indie darlings. In the interview we touch upon inspirations, Unreal Engine 5, platforms, puzzles, atmosphere and more.

Audio transcription

"Alright, we are at the Arucas Gaming Fest in the lovely and beautiful Canary Islands and today we're gonna learn about a local game that is not as colorful, it's not as warm, it's very cold and dark and it's called Luto, which for those who don't speak Spanish, means mourning it's a game about death and about... well, tell me, tell me Santi, what is Luto about?
Luto is a psychological horror game, you play as a first person character and we have..."

"it's not like a big jump scare game, we try to have more ambience, more calm down experience but also very focused on horror and to scare you out of your chair I've seen it has some Japanese touch to it, a little bit of the tone I got, it looks to me like Japanese horror I don't know if this is true, but I know you told me about a Japanese story with this game, Javier, what can you tell us?
Yes, that's right, like three months ago we were visiting Tokyo Game Show and before Tokyo Game Show there is an event happening which is Matsuura Games all Spanish publishers introduce their games to Japanese publishers and in one moment I was talking with several friends, showing Luto, showing the trailer on my cell phone and one of the organizers of Matsuura says, whoa, whoa, whoa, this is from Spain?
Yeah, absolutely, this is our game, Broken Bird, select and play OK, next year Luto is going to sponsor Matsuura so the look, as you told five minutes ago, which is like a horror Japanese movie like The Ring, like Dark Water, this kind of ambience that has the game I think this is perfect for Japanese people speaking and worldwide as well OK, now you mentioned the name of the studio, Broken Bird, is it your first game, if I'm correct?
What can you tell us about the team? You do many roles, as we've written here in the graphics you do a lot of things, so what can you tell us about the structure, the artist, the head of the studio which is behind the camera, so what can you tell us about the studio itself and the studio in the Canary Islands?
Nowadays we have six people working on Luto there's a producer, a big producer, creative, also manages emails and things like that then me as a programmer, I do all the programming of Luto another one does 3D, only 3D, materials, things like that another 2D, sound and animation, that's all and we try to touch everything with the only ones that we have What are you going to share in your panel about the studios in the Canary Islands?
For people who don't know about the talent in this region, what can you tell us about is it easy to find talent, is it easy to work in video games from the Canary Islands?
Yeah, we're going to have a conversation about how we as a team develop the company and create the game, the help we have from the government, from other entities and things like that here in the Canary Islands, of course What about the status of the game? I've seen trailers, I haven't seen much What can you tell us about your plan, your roadmap, is it going to release next year, on which platforms?
What's the status right now?
Ok, right now there is not much to tell but what I can tell you for sure is that Luto will be released next year we are considering Q2, Q3, but it's not set yet but the development is doing really well we are talking every day with Broken Bird, from Selecta Play to Broken Bird a lot of issues to solve, a lot of troubles to move forward but at the end, the important thing about Luto is that it will happen multi-platform worldwide in some time next year, as I told you, Q2, Q3 We are considering it And being you guys, I expect it to be digital and physical in Spain, at the very least Yeah, that's for sure, and this is something really important that I've been talking with Broken Bird all the time Luto must exist beyond digital We have seen a lot of horror games that are pretty much the same but when I was scouting games, I saw Luto like two years ago, I remember talking with them, because they are from Las Palmas, but I live in Lanzarote, really close to Las Palmas and I really feel really excited about a Canary Islands game We feel that we can penetrate really, really well, and that's it You said that Luto has to exist beyond what we've seen before, which is digital I guess, I don't know about the story of the game I don't know much, right?
So, is it about living beyond death?
Is it about, you know, mourning to sort of try and find something from the dead?
What can you tell us about that?
The game happens when you lost a loved one, someone in your family so you are in grief, in grieving and mourning and you are very depressed about your life so your house, everything about your life becomes the horror that we are trying to represent You cannot go out of your house, you are inside your own routine you start to see things and things like that so that's how you start the game and you have to try to overcome the grief by playing and knowing about yourself and your status and everything It sounds a little bit... I mean, it's about loss, it's about depression, dealing with all this It kind of reminded me of Silent Hill and other horror games But also, what do you have to do?
So, two questions One is about inspirations, other games or perhaps movies, as you mentioned before and the other question is, what do you actually do in the game?
So, you've told me about the atmosphere, the setting But what do you have to do? Do you have to solve puzzles?
Is it a very narrative-focused game?
What are players going to do to overcome grief?
Yeah, mostly you have to solve puzzles in your house, in many placements around the game and the inspirations we have are mostly..."

"The obvious one is P.T. Silent Hill but also we have another inspiration like What Remains of Edith Finch that we use for the narrative part and also not to always think about horror games We have many inspirations, games like that Yeah, to play the game, it's a first-person character game So you have to solve puzzles like putting objects in places looking for something, things like that Typical puzzles, horror puzzles And in terms of the graphics, are you going ultra-realistic same as P.T. did back in the day or are you trying to be slightly more deformed or not trying to be that realistic in a way?
It's pretty realistic, we are working with Unreal Engine 5 Now Switch or Switch?
We'll see That's a difficult one We must talk about it We're talking about 2024 so perhaps there is a new platform, I don't know We have to compress it a little bit It's hard but I think it may be possible to port it to Switch We will see Maybe Switch 2?
That's what I meant So finally we have a VR zone here I enjoy horror games in VR They are absolutely horrifying but I love them Have you guys considered perhaps in a second phase going VR as well?
Is it going to be too scary?
Do you think it's going to work?
Puzzles can work perhaps with manipulation What do you guys think about VR?
We haven't thought about it but as we launch the game maybe the community needs or wants and we see if it's going to have enough success we can develop it but at the moment we don't think about VR And the final one, now that I have you here Javi, let me ask you about your lineup and your games and your recent successful games and the ones that are coming out in the next few months So we've talked about LUTO of course We're going to be looking forward to LUTO What can you tell us about Selecta Play and the games you've seen success with in Spain, etc?
Actually Selecta Play belongs to Selecta Visión which is a company that has 40 years in the entertainment business Selecta Play is 3 years old I'm heading the label for 3 years and we are really proud to have success like Blasphemous I like Aeterna Noctis, like Tadeo Jones Now we are really proud to handle LUTO worldwide For me it's a milestone in my career of video games But we are working as well in really special games like Blasphemous II We are developing worldwide the Collector's Edition for the Game Kitchen hit Blasphemous II We are working as well in a really special Spanish game which is Narita Boy that we are going to release as well on physical as well And together with LUTO we are opening our business for the digital markets and physical as well with titles like Morkull from Zaragoza like Dark Atlas, like Bubble Ghost like Barbarian Saga from Andalucía So we are pushing our efforts in bringing the best games to Collector's Edition but we must not forget that we belong to Spain and we must help Spanish developers to bring their titles to the platforms So we have a really close future, really really shining I'm thinking about it And we have a lot of work to do because there are many surprises to come in a close future It looks bright and it's an interesting contrast to LUTO's theme So thank you so much for your time guys Javier and Santi We are messing with the panel so let's stop this interview now and attend the panel Thank you so much"

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