1Print Games co-founder Iggy recently spoke to members at Swedish development studio Ludosity who worked on the very first Ittle Dew game. Learn what game designer Daniel Remar artists Anton Nilsson (Regnslöja) and Nils Härgestam have to say about Ittle Dew’s beginnings, the Ittle Dew Limited Edition, and the future of Ittle Dew!
1Print Games: First, please share with us how Ittle Dew started out as the game we know today, and how you decided to make it the game’s title and protagonist.
Daniel: It started as a small school project in 2008, which we used as a prototype for the real game. The title originates from the joke that the prototype was “not Zelda, but it’ll do” and it had the subtitle “Barely passable adventures”. The full game was supposed to take place in a single huge castle, but we felt it would be too short so we added the extra dungeons and the overworld as we went along.
1Print Games: Many gamers and Ludosity fans have praised Ittle Dew for its hand-drawn artwork and animations. What did it take to achieve this in the final version of the game?
Daniel: A lot of work, basically. Anton and Nils animated the characters and enemies while I added in-between frames for Ittle in order to double her frame rate.
Anton: We were originally aiming for a pixel style but it didn’t pan out, and in the end we somehow decided to just draw it. The “wobbly lines” is just a flaw we decided to embrace, because it made animating so much easier!
1Print Games: Ludosity frequently encourages players to speed run Ittle Dew. Has your team ever tried to speed run the game, and if so, who’s the fastest so far?
Daniel: I think I and Mattias were the only ones who speedran the game during development. I believe my best time was 11:24 in-game time, which was surpassed by the players soon after release. In hindsight it wasn’t a good idea to add an achievement for beating the game in less than 15 minutes, as some people thought this meant the game was only 15 minutes long.
Nils: During game testing it always ends up with speedrunning towards the later stages of internal testing of our games. Since Ittle Dew was designed to be speedrunning friendly, a lot of extra speedrunning had to be done by pretty much everyone in the office. I think Daniel is still the fastest among all of us at Ludosity.
1Print Games: The various characters that live in the island in Ittle Dew often make puns and jokes. Who came up with these funny ideas?
Daniel: Like most things in our games, the humor and silly ideas were a collaborative effort.
Anton: We joke around a lot during development, and if something is funny we just put it in the game.
Nils: We have a very jokey casual way at the office, joking about things that could happen in the games is very common during production. What usually happens is that something suggested as a joke is liked so much that it ends up becoming a part of the game in the end. Another big factor is the whiteboard in our office: It’s there to be drawn on casually and with no expectations on what will end up there. It’s usually where a lot of in-jokes are born. But from that steady flow of random nonsense drawing, a lot of characters and ideas for games are born. If a character is featured on the whiteboard enough times, it’s likely we enjoy it enough for it to end up in one of our games.
1Print Games: In 2016, Ludosity released a follow up to Ittle Dew called Ittle Dew 2, and later an expanded version called Ittle Dew 2+. What made your team decide to emphasize on combat in Ittle Dew 2, as compared to the puzzle solving element in Ittle Dew?
Daniel: At first it was because some players were disappointed in the basic combat in the first game, but during development it was rather that I wanted to make a game more like the original Zelda, which is quite tough. Unfortunately the puzzles suffered for it and some players found the combat too difficult instead, which is entirely on me.
Nils: When we make games we often try out specific gameplay design ideas and explore what you can do with those ideas. When we talked about ideas for a Ittle Dew 2 we decided to go 3d for 360 degrees turning, instead of 4 directions like the first game. This opened up a lot of ideas and design opportunities on how to bring better action into the second game. We ended up with a lot of ideas on how to use the puzzle items for more interesting combat. A more action heavy Ittle Dew appealed to us and we wanted to explore what we could do with it. More mechanics for combat and a more obviously open ended exploration felt interesting for us to try out with the second game. When we got the opportunity to add the Dream World for Ittle Dew 2+ we wanted to combine Ittle Dew 1 and Ittle Dew 2’s designs by making that extra area very puzzle oriented with very little combat, similar to Ittle Dew 1 since we still like both styles of the games.
1Print Games: Now I would like to talk about the Ittle Dew Limited Edition, which Ludosity and 1Print Games worked together to produce. When we were first trying to figure out the design of the box, our artist came up with 4 drafts (pictured below). How did the team react and decide the best out of the four? Personally, Nitro and I preferred the final design, but we had our own second-choices as well.
Anton: We liked them all, but the chosen one was just more cover-y all around.
Nils: There are a lot of elements to the one that we chose that made it stand out. It showed off Ittles personality with her being ready for mischief, it showed off the island in an appealing way with key locations, and the promise of danger with the bosses in the background. It had the most adventurous feeling to it, but still showed the light hearted quirky side of the game with a lot of goofy characters.
1Print Games: Here’s something that I didn’t tell you – the talented artist behind the boxart is Lazy Jenny (Lazy Radly), a very big fan of Ittle Dew and games produced by Ludosity. I believe he’s quite active in the Ludosity community, so you might have come across him.
Anton: Wow, I know of them from the Discord. I had no idea! That explains why things were so accurate from the start, haha. I think it turned out excellent, and as I wrote that I glanced up at the game standing proudly face-forward on my shelf. Me, I don’t have the patience for large art pieces like elaborate covers. The constant fanart we receive is really encouraging, and makes me wish we could put out more games faster!
Nils: Heeeey, great cover Lazy! Good job on keeping the poker face and not letting us in on your involvement in this!
1Print Games: I know you guys are currently busy with Slap City, which is a pretty amazing fighting game! After Slap City, do you have any plans to work on Ittle Dew 3, and if so, what kind of ideas and/or changes will you make to stand out from the last 2 titles?
Daniel: Personally I’d like to make a smaller, puzzle-focused game again. The overworld in Ittle Dew 2 was unnecessarily large, and making the game more linear would make it easier to design the puzzles and difficulty progression.
Anton: I would love to make Ittle Dew 3. That series is so attuned with us now, it’s easy to work with. For art, I’d probably keep the style of ID2 (because hand drawn is so time consuming) but upgrade it as best I could. I want to design lots of new jennies and turnips.
Nils: We have a lot of ideas and concepts collected. Whenever an idea that would fit in that universe, or mechanics that could be expanded around comes up they are written down. We like trying different types of games in different genres though, and we have many game ideas that interest us. So there might be other games from us before we have the solid vision down for making a third Ittle Dew.
1Print Games: Ittle Dew has become the face of Ludosity, and is also a fighter in Slap City. How do you feel about Ittle Dew representing the Ludosity brand as a whole?
Daniel: Ittle and Tippsie are fun characters, so I can’t think of anyone more suitable for the job.
Anton: Her character design is a bit weird, and her color palette a bit jarring, but I think the most beloved designs are often a bit flawed like that. We at Ludosity always draw Ittle and Tippsie doing funny things on our Whiteboard, and we just love them more all the time. After all, her game did mark the beginning of the Ludosity we know today.
Nils: Ittle Dew was the springboard for a lot of the characters and the jokey cartoony in-house style. I think you see a lot of the tone that was formed in Ittle Dew reflected in our other games, so Ittle being the introduction to us is fitting. Without Ittle Dew our game output might have looked very different. The fact that we always let characters do cameos between our games so Ittle and other characters from the Ittle Dew games making appearances in many of our games also contributes to Ittle being the face of the company.
1Print Games: Do you have any plans to bring Slap City to Nintendo Switch?
Nils: We’re looking into it as we speak!
1Print Games: Last but not least – any words you would like to share with Ittle Dew fans and the people who are reading this?
Daniel: Thank you so much for playing our games!
Anton: Sorry it’s been so few games lately. If I could, I would make Ittle Dew 3 and Card City Nights 3 and Princess Remedy 3… Wow, what’s the deal with all these missing threes?!
Nils: Ittle Dew is a game where we got to express our own nostalgia for games in the genre. Hearing about people fondly remembering their time with Ittle Dew is so very fitting, and incredibly heartwarming. Like a full circle. It was a labour of love to make ittle Dew, so whenever someone expresses fondness for the game it brings so much happiness.
Thank you for reading our Ittle Dew interview! If you haven’t got the Ittle Dew Limited Edition yet… don’t wait too long! (stock running low!)