Welcome to Unravel

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Hi everyone,

My name is Martin Sahlin, I’m the Creative Director at Coldwood. We’re a small team made up of 14 people, located in a town called Umeå, in the northern part of Sweden. I wanted to share with you my story on how Unravel came to be, and some thoughts about games and game making.

The way I see it, games are really powerful. They reach so many people, and they have the ability to truly captivate the audience in a way that few other art forms can. As a game maker, that makes me feel a certain responsibility. I don’t want to make games that are just distractions. Time is worth more than that. I want to give players more meaningful experiences instead. Unravel™ was created in that spirit. I wanted to make something more personal, something with more impact. The game didn’t have to change the world, or even try, but it had to be genuine, it had to have a deeper meaning. It had to have heart.

 

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Unravel is a physics-based puzzle platformer where you play a little character made of yarn. The yarn unravels as you move, and if you run out of yarn you can’t go on. Your goal is to try to make that yarn reach all the way through the game, from start to finish. The yarn is quite literally the red thread that ties everything together.

That led to the creation of the game character, a little being made of yarn who unravels the farther away it gets from the things that it loves. The idea kept growing, and the yarn came to represent love, the bond between people. The story would be about Yarny (the little yarn character) trying to mend a broken bond, trying to help a lonely old woman reconnect with all that she has lost. 
 

Unravel is a physics-based puzzle platformer where you play a little character made of yarn. The yarn unravels as you move, and if you run out of yarn you can’t go on. Your goal is to try to make that yarn reach all the way through the game, from start to finish. The yarn is quite literally the red thread that ties everything together.

The game was actually inspired by a song lyric, which goes “while you are away, my heart comes undone, slowly unravels in a ball of yarn”. I thought that sounded just like a game character, a little being made of yarn who unravels the farther away it gets from the things that it loves. The idea kept growing, and the yarn came to represent love, the bond between people. The story would be about Yarny (the little yarn character) trying to mend a broken bond, trying to help a lonely old woman reconnect with all that she has lost.

I created Yarny while I was on a camping trip with my family, way out in the countryside. I was asked to explain more about “the yarn game”, and I figured the best way to do that would be to act it out. So I created a little poseable Yarny doll from some old metal wire I found and some yarn that I borrowed. Then I wandered around in the woods, putting Yarny in different situations and snapping pictures, figuring out fun things you could do with that yarn. The local nature was a huge inspiration, so I decided that nature should play a big part in the game too. All the levels are based on environments from northern Sweden, places with their own little histories and special importance.

The gameplay is all about overcoming obstacles, both big and small. Some challenges are simple, like using your yarn to swing across a gap, or rappelling down a tree. Sometimes things get more complex, so complex that when you look back at the tangled, winding weave of yarn that’s left behind you, you have to wonder how you even got to where you’re at. A bit like life, I guess.

Unravel means a lot to me, and to us at Coldwood. We really put our hearts into it. I hope when you play it, you can feel that. And I hope you have lots of fun with it.

Thank you,

Martin Sahlin

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I created Yarny while I was on a camping trip with my family, way out in the countryside. I was asked to explain more about “the yarn game”, and I figured the best way to do that would be to act it out. So I created a little poseable Yarny doll from some old metal wire I found and some yarn that I borrowed. Then I wandered around in the woods, putting Yarny in different situations and snapping pictures, figuring out fun things you could do with that yarn. The local nature was a huge inspiration, so I decided that nature should play a big part in the game too. All the levels are based on environments from northern Sweden, places with their own little histories and special importance.

The gameplay is all about overcoming obstacles, both big and small. Some challenges are simple, like using your yarn to swing across a gap, or rappelling down a tree. Sometimes things get more complex, so complex that when you look back at the tangled, winding weave of yarn that’s left behind you, you have to wonder how you even got to where you’re at. A bit like life, I guess.
 

mtn_trek_04

Unravel means a lot to me, and to us at Coldwood. We really put our hearts into it. I hope when you play it, you can feel that. And I hope you have lots of fun with it.

Thank you,

Martin Sahlin