Unravel introduces players to Yarny, a three-inch figure made completely out of wire and yarn. In the context of the game, the yarn represents the thread of love that connects people together. Yarny must use it to make his way through a larger than life world and solve puzzles without diminishing himself too much.
EA is best known for high-adrenaline games like the Battlefield series, the recently releasedStar War Battlefront, and Need for Speed in addition to its sports games, but Unravel stands out using its own touching charm; created by a unique character and beautifully peaceful setting inspired by the real world.
Brian Austin, product marketing manager at EA, spoke to [a]listdaily about Unravel, and getting the world to love playing with Yarny when the game releases on Feb. 9 — just before Valentine’s Day.
In what ways does Unravel stand out from other puzzle games?
Unravel is unique in that our hero, Yarny, uses the combination of Yarny’s own device, yarn, and the logistics of the environments to navigate through the game. While the tools may be simple, they have the ability to accomplish complex puzzles.
The physics-based elements of the game allow Yarny to use momentum to swing from a tree branch or jump from a yarn bridge. There is another element, however, to traversing Unravel that makes it different than any other game of its kind – the element of Yarn economy. This gameplay strategy requires players to be mindful of how much yarn they have to work with in order to get Yarny safely through each level and keep Yarny from unraveling.
What is it about Yarny that makes him such an appealing character?
Yarny is tiny in size, but huge in heart. In spite of Yarny’s size, there is no obstacle too great that can’t be overcome through perseverance, ingenuity, and bravery. A positive force in a sometimes dark world, Yarny has a charm and kind-hearted spirit that evokes joy in its simplest form. Wonder, curiosity, and courage are infused into the fabric, or in this case yarn, of Yarny’s being and are fundamental to the essence of Unravel.
Is it difficult to convey a story of love and connection when the main character doesn’t speak?
So much of Unravel speaks to the audience, even with the absence of spoken words. The original score, composed by local Swedish musicians, sets an emotive soundtrack to Yarny’s adventure, capturing both heart-breaking and heart-warming moments alike. The rich environments, inspired by Scandinavia’s natural landscape, are more than just a setting, they’re part of the story. They transform players into a visually stunning world that celebrates the beauty in the ordinary and forms the physical foundation of Yarny’s adventure. The emotional foundation of Yarny’s adventure is deeply rooted in the character’s endearing and sincere nature. There is a powerful, unspoken bond to Yarny – a character that says nothing, and everything, all at the same time through an emotional and expressive journey.
How have you been promoting Unravel?
We first introduced Unravel at E3, presented by Coldwood Interactive’s Creative Director Martin Sahlin. Following E3, we brought Unravel to Gamescom where Martin gave attendees a first look at a level called, “The Sea.” Martin shared the inspiration behind Yarny’s story, the level and how that impacts the gameplay experience.
Since Unravel and Yarny have been introduced to the world, fans around the world have created their own Yarnys, sharing them across social channels. To keep fans connected and inspired by Unravel, Martin has given fans direction on how to create Yarny, just like he did, while camping on the coast Northern Sweden. Plus, Coldwood has released several development diaries over the past several months across Unravel’s digital footprint. These videos, narrated by Martin, invite fans into Coldwood to learn about the inspiration and story behind some of Unravel’s most fundamental elements.
What are some of the challenges in promoting a new game that’s not based on an existing IP?
The world of beloved and iconic characters is vast and hard to permeate. These characters carry a built-in affinity and perceived identity – admiration from the masses. With a new IP, there’s white space, a blank canvas to paint a picture of who a character is, who a character will become, and what that evolution means to those that play the game. It’s an opportunity to build a relationship, meaningful and new, with each person who connects with Yarny through Unravel.