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A New Incubee: Giada Zavarise of Selling Sunlight

By Hannah Flynn, March 21, 2017 · Incubations

We have recently welcomed Giada Zavarise to our offices as part of our incubation scheme, to support her with coffee, fruit and insights while she makes literary RPG Selling Sunlight. Giada and her teammates Chiara Boscaro (Background Artist) and Anita Zaramella (Character Artist) took our questions on their project.

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How did Selling Sunlight come about?

Giada: I was working in a marketing agency, where I was spending most of my time playing Fallen London during office hours and farming games at home, to heal my soul.

I was lifeless. I was bored.

Sometimes you work on an idea carefully, and sometimes influences just brew subconsciously in your head and then explode. At some point I just knew I had to make exactly THIS GAME – then I had a job no more, and so I started making it, because why not. Friends got curious, someone started asking “can I draw the little cute icons for the items?” and a team was formed. Accidentally.

Where does the name Selling Sunlight come from?

Giada: We made a big list of word related to our game’s main themes, which are:

  • Traveling vs. standing still
  • Buying and selling
  • The sunset
  • Bees

Then we just meshed the words together until something nice-sounding came out. Not very fascinating, I know.

Chiara: I remember we were torn between this title and Sunlight Seller, but Selling Sunlight just rings better.

Tell me a bit about the player character in Selling Sunlight.

Giada: Your character did something BAD, and as a result has been forced to lose their identity and wear a mask.

We want players to truly immerse themselves in this world, but this would have required countless customization options. By having a faceless character, everyone can decide what’s behind the mask! This also makes you no ordinary merchant, but a MYSTERIOUS RASCAL. Non-player characters will also have a reason to be curious about you, making interactions more natural.

The world in Selling Sunlight is stuck – the planet itself used to turn, but no longer does. What kind of design and story opportunities does this offer you?

Giada: The planet stopped turning only 300 years ago, so people are still getting accustomed to the changes. Different communities now share a very tight habitable space, and they sort of tolerate each other, but old grudges are still very much alive. There’s also a religious crisis ongoing, because the Sun was once considered a God.

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Someone believes that the Earth fell in love with the Sun, and now can’t stop looking at him. Others just think that the Sun is trying to burn everyone.

Chiara: Besides the storytelling options, a still world has an undeniably charming atmosphere: everything is suspended between darkness and light, nothing is clearly defined and everything is mysterious. Exactly like our stories and our characters.

What inspired the watercolour art style?

Anita: We decided to do what we’re best at: traditional drawing. The whole project is based on the feeling we could make an awesome product without fancy materials or shiny graphics. Of all the choices we had, watercolours happened to perfectly fit the mood we wanted for the game, as well as being our first choice in traditional colouring.

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Chiara: I admit watercolors aren’t my favourite medium, but as Anita said they perfectly fit our game’s atmosphere. Background after background, I’m starting to appreciate their versatility. Trying to get the lighting just right in every picture is proving to be especially difficult and exciting.

You’ve chosen a combatless experience in this game – what inspired that choice?

Anita: The game we wanted to make had to be relaxing, yet challenging. Also, it seems like fighting is almost your only choice when it comes to RPGs: we’re so used to get out of every uncomfortable situation by drawing a sword! How about something different, once in a while?
Follow @sellingsunlight to find out more about the game and be notified when it comes to Kickstarter later this year!

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