AereA is a music-themed action RPG, a brand new IP from developer Triangle Studios, creators of such games as ‘It came from space, and ate our brains’ and ‘Cross of the Dutchman’, and publisher SOEDESCO, who’ve published titles such as ‘N.E.R.O’, ‘Wuppo’ and ‘World to the West.’
AereA tasks players with finding ancient instruments to repair the shattered world of Aezir. Playing as one of four characters, each with their own unique instrumental weapon, there are bosses to defeat and puzzles to solve as you collect Music Sheets to upgrade your abilities in singleplayer or co-op.
We recently sent questions of musical inspiration, RPG features, and instruments that didn’t make the cut to SOEDESCO’s Bas de Jonge. Read on for his answers!
XOUK: Using weapons to inspire instruments and characters is an original idea. How did it come about?
BdJ: We think a lot of RPG’s feature the same kind of fantasy themes. What we wanted to do is bring a fresh theme to the table, a world where everything is connected to music. Naturally, this came with instrument based weapons, bosses, enemies and practically everything!
XOUK: Like a symphony, instruments played together can be harmonious and can sound terrible. Are there any bonus effects for using character and ability combinations in co-operative play?
BdJ: Every character has its own skills and abilities. A lot of them also offer healing and buffs to other characters, but all characters are unique and elaborate enough to be interesting on their own.
XOUK: Are there any instruments that were contenders but haven’t made the cut to be used for a character or a boss?
BdJ: That’s a tough one, because there’s a lot actually. There were a lot of instruments we considered for AereA, but in the end we decided to go for the ones that had the most interesting sound and would make for the most interesting boss battle experience. The boss’ inspired instrument is also the lead instrument of the music you’ll hear during the boss fight, so it had to be interesting for both gameplay and sound.
XOUK: Speaking of abilities, what kind of RPG elements and types of powers will feature in AereA?
BdJ: As I said earlier, every character has its own skill and abilities which can either deal damage in various ways or heal/buff your friends. There’s a specific skill tree for all characters, and they all have different tiers of weapons, attacks and buffs.
XOUK: Collecting music sheets to learn new skills and customise your weapons is another great musical twist. Are there any other such inventive ways you’ve included musical aspects?
BdJ: We’ve tried to include as many musical elements in every aspect of the game. The save stations are record players for instance and every little detail in decoration and all enemies always have something to do with music. Every island has its own Concert Hall as a central point, as well as the fact that nine primordial instruments harness the core power the keep the world in balance. To be honest, I don’t think there are many elements in the game that are not inspired by music, haha.
XOUK: This is quite a simple question, but why does ‘AereA’ have a capital ‘A’ at the end? Is it because it makes for a good palindrome?
BdJ: You hit the hammer on the nail there!
XOUK: ‘AereA’ itself is described as a series, with this game the first instalment. Can you tell us what games or ideas you have planned for future instalments in the series?
BdJ: Who knows
XOUK: Music can evoke many scenes and landscapes. The environments of AereA look exciting and varied – has any particular music inspired the locales of AereA?
BdJ: AereA’s theme is mostly inspired by classical music. As with any other genre, it can evoke many emotions. The soft, soothing sounds for things like the beautiful lush forests and the rough, bombastic pieces for, for instance, the lava caves. The level design was done with these kind of pieces in mind.
XOUK: The composer behind the acclaimed Broforce, Deon van Heerden, is composing the score for AereA. In a game so infused with music, the soundtrack is important – is there anything special you’ve requested for this soundtrack?
BdJ: The soundtrack was, of course, a very important part of the game for us. It was key that we partnered up with the right composer. The process of finding that composer took us a while, but once we received the first demo’s for AereA, we knew Deon was our best choice. As I said before, all the music you hear during the boss fights has its lead instrument aligned with the instrument of the boss. We believe this makes for an interesting and immersive experience! Besides that we didn’t really have to give any instructions, as the demo’s Deon sent us where already perfect.
XOUK: Finally, what’s your favourite game soundtrack, or the music you most like to hear whilst playing games?
BdJ: I know it’s kind of bad to name our own game’s soundtrack here… But I honestly find myself listening to Wuppo’s soundtrack a lot during work! I think it’s really well made and really cheerful.
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