BEHIND THE SCENES
A quiet power
The clever storytelling behind Old Man’s Journey.
Old Man's Journey
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. Like Old Man’s Journey, an adventure that speaks loudly – without any words.
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 Man’s 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 as someone strolled across them would be an engaging game mechanic. And when he shared the concept with Clemens Scott, the studio’s co-founder, they had no problem conceiving a story they could connect to.
“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,” Bohatsch explains.
That left these developers with one key challenge: How could they make Old Man’s Journey resonate with players around the world?
No words needed
Their answer was to build a game with a tale told only through images.
“We wanted to remove the barrier of language or even the ability to read or hear,” Bohatsch continues. “This not only helped focus the narrative but also played to our strength of creating strong visuals and environmental storytelling, as opposed to just authoring text.”
“Strong visuals” is an understatement. Hand-drawn mountains and rustic villages give Old Man’s Journey the feel of a storybook that’s come to life. And with the stirring images and evocative music, the character’s memories (triggered at key moments during your stroll) have a genuine impact.
Broken Rules nailed their goal of “creating an emotional progression for the whole game”. The old man’s recollections pull you into a life of joy, discovery and longing, piquing your curiosity for what’s next. A big part of the appeal, Felix believes, are themes everyone can relate to.