Swedish game studio Simogo never does what you'd expect. The duo has made its name creating delightfully surprising mobile games, from the interactive spy novel Device 6 to the creepy, folklore-inspired adventure game Year Walk. This week the developer released perhaps its biggest departure yet: The Lighthouse Painting, an audio drama designed as a companion piece to last year's The Sailor's Dream. "I think at the core it's mostly about wanting to try new things," Simogo's Simon Flesser says of the new project.
"It's mostly about wanting to try new things."
The Lighthouse Painting is being released as a series of four podcasts, the first of which is available now. It's set in the same world as The Sailor's Dream, but tells a new story, about a young girl and her father, a lighthouse keeper, who go missing on a remote island. Just like the game, the podcast is brief, but it's a warm and inviting experience that demands your full attention while it lasts. It also features fantastic new music from Jonathan Eng, the composer behind The Sailor's Dream's beautiful soundtrack. And while it may seem like a big departure for Simogo, the studio's most recent releases have increasingly looked less and less like traditional games. In that respect, a podcast doesn't seem so far-fetched.
Flesser and co-founder Magnus Gardebäck at Simogo's office.
"Maybe some of the discussions about whether The Sailor's Dream was a game or not also started some kind of thought process, which led to the creation of the project," says Flesser. That doesn't mean that the studio is moving away from games — in fact Simogo has at least one unannounced game project in the works right now — but the success of titles like Year Walk has given them the freedom to tackle different kinds of experiences. "But it's risky and tricky," says Flesser, "because we can only have that freedom if people are equally excited and surprised about the things we make."
You can download the first episode of The Lighthouse Painting for free right here.