The Quiet Power of Old Man’s Journey

How clever storytelling helped win an Apple Design Award.

It’s easy to forget how much work goes into making our favourite obsessions, the ones we play for hours a day or whenever we have a spare minute. The games that won a 2017 Apple Design Award (ADA) are all beautifully crafted, and all their creators started with big dreams.

In this second story of our five-part series, we look at Old Man’s Journey, an adventure that speaks loudly – without any words.

Broken Rules CEO Felix Bohatsch co-founded the Vienna-based indie studio in 2009.

A walk to remember

Felix Bohatsch was at a friend’s house, admiring a photo of rolling hills, when he began dreaming up the foundation of Old Mans Journey.

“The picture evoked a strong feeling of wanderlust, and I wanted a character to walk on those silhouettes and into the distance,” the Broken Rules CEO tells us.

He thought shaping hillsides with your finger as someone strolled across them would be an engaging game mechanic. And when he shared the concept with Clemens Scott, the studios’ co-founder, they had no problem conceiving a story they could connect to.

“I want my games to linger in players’ minds,” says Broken Rules CEO Felix Bohatsch.

“Over the years, balancing family life and our passion for creating games had been a hot topic for our team. So we decided to focus on a character who also struggled with these issues and is driven by the need to finally reconcile with his family,” Felix explains.

That left these developers with one key challenge: How could they make Old Mans Journey resonate with players around the world?

    Old Man's Journey

    A game about life, loss & hope