With Apple Arcade making a splash last year, one of the developers it wooed for its fledgling subscription service was a small Lithuanian studio by the name of Hidden Layer Games. Comprising just two people (artist Alexey Testov and programmer Andriy Vinchkovskiy), the duo have been creating games for 8 years and have slowly been building towards their latest story-driven action adventure platformer. With Inmost due out on Switch this year, I spoke to Alexey Testov about his game, and got to ask him as to how he came up with the monochrome art-style. Enjoy!
Inmost has been released on Apple Arcade. I assume it’s now finished?
Yeah, I think so. But you know, that’s the funny thing about the game. There are always things you’d like to add to the game. The game is never ready. You can’t just stop working on it because, as a developer, I always want to add more cool stuff. To polish something, you know… It’s important for me to bring the best polished product to people because I really care about my game. I spent like 3 years of my life on it, so it really means a lot for me. I just want to offer players the best version of the game that I can.
Why Apple Arcade? Why not more established platforms?
You know, for mobile devices, there are a lot of games but it’s mostly games where you can play for a short time. There are so few games with a story and with rich gameplay, you know. And this is amazing that Apple are doing something in this direction. For me, as a player, it’s really important to have something really cool to play. Something that’s like what’s on big consoles, you know. A game which gives you that great feeling about the story and the gameplay, not just more free games, you know. But I also play free games. I’m a developer of free games, and I made a lot of them. But this is a totally different kind of gameplay, so I’m really happy that Apple are trying to go in this direction and I’m happy to be part of it.
What inspired Inmost?
Oh, other games mostly. I’m a huge fan of the Dizzy games. And also I’m a huge fan of the To The Moon game, you know. Our story is inspired by To The Moon, and the gameplay is a kind of mix of Limbo, Dizzy, Inside, Flashback, and Otherworld. So a lot of games…
You’re the artist. Inmost looks like an 8-bit Gameboy game. What inspired the art style?
It was step-by-step. Firstly, I drew monochrome sketches for the game, and then I tried to bring something more with it. I just added some shaders, some particles, and I looked at it and went, “okay, it looks cool.” So it was just an iterative process, you know.
What platforms will the game come out on when it comes to more mainstream consoles?
We’ve announced it for Steam and Switch but we haven’t discussed [other consoles] yet.
The game is already out on Apple Arcade, but what’s causing the holdup between the game coming out on Apple Arcade versus coming out on other consoles like the Switch? Is there some sort of an exclusivity clause with Apple?
No, it’s not because of an exclusivity with Apple, it’s because it takes time to port to the other systems. There was work required and the focus for the last few months in development was the Apple version, because that was the first release.
Thank you very much.