Tunic was a standout indie game last year, but creator Andrew Shouldice almost scrapped the project during its first year of development.
Shouldice began work on Tunic in 2015, when it was originally called Secret Legend, and the game went through a ton of changes between then and its eventual release. "There were so many old versions of this that got cut," Shouldice reveals to Edge in issue 386.
Shouldice describes one area in particular that was reworked over and over again. " It started out as a desert, then a different desert, then a desert with cliffsides, then a dark forest, then a different dark forest," he recalls. The desert-turned-forest area eventually was removed entirely. "There's a place in the game where it is supposed to go – it just isn't there any more," Shouldice says. He regrets not keeping it in the game, he tells Edge, as he spent a lot of time working on it. "It would have been nice if that effort was realised somehow," he says.
But Kevin Regamey, who was the audio director on Tunic and is a friend of Shouldice, reveals that during the first year of development, Shouldice nearly binned the whole thing. Shouldice sent Regamey a short combat prototype, which Regamey describes to Edge as "basic targeting and circle strafing". After a couple of weeks, Shouldice sent over another build which he called a "macro prototype of the overworld".
"I'm probably going to throw all this in the trash," Regamey remembers Shouldice saying about this overworld prototype, "but I just wanted to get an idea of what it felt like to adventure, to find secrets, to do the whole Metroidvania." The idea baffled the rest of Regamey's team, who could see the workings of a whole game already.
Luckily for us, Shouldice spared the project and created one of the best indies of recent years. Tunic had five nominations at this year's BAFTA ceremony, and snagged the awards for Artistic Achievement and Debut Game, as well as a prestigious DICE award and strong critical reception.
In our Tunic review, Sam described it as a much cuter Elden Ring.