October 20, 2021
Games Lift: SUPERNATURAL GAMES and their little green friends
Ask them about „The Treepoids”, and SUPERNATURAL GAMES’ co-founders Gerrit and Patrick immediately spring into action. When the two of them are together, you get the impression that their extraterrestrial friends are never far off. The brothers are brimming with inspiration; they can describe game scenes and PR initiatives as if they were ready to go. In reality, there is still a way to go. But the vision keeps growing day after day.
Getting to this point meant taking some detours. SUPERNATURAL GAMES may be a new studio, but the people behind it are seasoned professionals. Gerrit has been working as an art director and illustrator in advertising for over 20 years. Patrick has been a game developer for 12 years. They have been thinking about their creation for a long time, doodling characters and discussing game concepts. But their successful work elsewhere always meant that the Treepoids had to be relegated to “something like a hobby”, Gerrit sighs. For a long time, the Treepoids remained painted characters without a game. Their future was written in the stars.
2019 finally brought about the next step: “Patrick had just decided to go into self-employment, so this was the perfect opportunity”, Gerrit says. The brothers founded SUPERNATURAL GAMES and threw themselves into their first big challenge: Applying for the Indie Pitch Battle. The event is hosted by game industry veterans Wolfgang Walk and Michael Hengst who have infamously called their agency “Grumpy Old Men”. SUPERNATURAL GAMES really went into the deep end. “We didn’t even have a prototype to show”, Gerrit recounts. But then the luminaries commended the project and called it “the best idea with the worst presentation for years”. Behind the backhanded compliment, there was a genuine recognition: There’s much work to do, but it really might pay off.
The Treepoids are funny from the get-go. The friendly-looking aliens each have three legs, but no arms, so “they must solve their problems differently than us humans”, Gerrit explains. They are not just clever, they even have telekinetic superpowers. And they are all about teamwork.
“For us, characters come first”, Gerrit notes. “The Treepoids” demand a friendly atmosphere. SUPERNATURAL don’t want “to make a game in which anyone dies”. The welcoming tone is meant to invite younger players, but adults, too. At the center of attention sits the story, with the alien visitors packing a complex background when they come to earth. Alongside teenage girl Biola, players will get to know the Treepoids, and reveal an ancient secret on the mysterious island of Flora Bora.
Players will have to use their brains. A lot of time will be spent in adventure mode, with an emphasis on tricky, but solvable puzzles. The brothers know of the point-and-click-genre’s worst impulses and promise that “at no time you’ll carry around 20 keys without having found a door yet”. Patrick is teasing an “additional challenge” with brain battles – a strategic game mode which has players competing “in their heads”. The mix will bring more diversity into the hand-painted adventure.
Gerrit and Patrick share a clear vision. First and foremost, they want their Treepoids to be fun. Serious topics around nature and environmentalism will be addressed, but in humorous ways. „The Treepoids encourage you to think for yourself, to root for nature.”, Patrick explains. He and Gerrit both have kids. They know from experience that you can fan the fire of enthusiasm, but you cannot force it. As a result, interesting facts about nature will make the game’s “Greeny World News”. Players can come here to be entertained or informed, but they don’t need them to advance.
SUPERNATURAL GAMES still have big plans for the Incubator’s second half. They want to use their newly-gained knowledge in order “to get a crowdfunding campaign off the ground”, Patrick says. While that was part of the plan all along, now it is finally being fleshed out. Patrick sees two concrete goals: To „work on building a community”, and to get “great assets from our game world” ready for the campaign. Gerrit and Patrick are both taking in the advice on community management and marketing.
The duo still has some hurdles left to clear. But the strong feedback so far is a big motivation for both of them. They have a clear goal in their sight: Making the Treepoids grow.