How the post-WWII setting and couch co-op shape PS4 adventure Troll and I


Troll and I is a mythical adventure game from
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, out this week on PS4. The game explores the themes of friendship and survival, as two unlikely companions are driven from their homes and must battle evil forces both human and otherwise.

Troll, the elusive beast never before seen by the human eye, and Otto, an adolescent boy living in peace in the Scandinavian forest, experience an unexpected bond after being ripped from their homeland by trophy hunters. Their perilous journey is driven by their shared longing to return home, their keen wisdom of the wilderness, and their desire to outwit and outmaneuver their rivals.

Today we pick the brains of Maximum Games and Spiral House to answer some of the pressing questions from our community.

What is the most defining feature of this game? What will players appreciate the most?

Kevin Oxland, Spiral House: When we started developing Troll and I, we wondered how difficult it would be to design environments and mechanics that would cater to two controllable characters of vastly different sizes and abilities. This was a challenge, to say the least, and took a lot of trial and error until we eventually established a set of ground rules.

The two characters are worlds apart in terms of the way they play, the way they feel, and their function within the game; yet, they ultimately work together as a team. This defines the game and is what gamers will find unique: playing as two vastly different protagonists that share the same goal.

The game is set in a 1950’s post-World War II Scandinavia. How does this setting impact the game?

Kevin Oxland: We didn’t want modern technology to get in the way, like mobile phones and sophisticated military equipment, etc. Setting the game in the 1950s prevented that from being an issue. We also liked the idea of the world returning to some semblance of peace after the Second World War, yet still struggling to regain normalcy.

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Where did the concept for the game originate from?

Kevin Oxland: The idea of two characters that have very different characteristics yet become best friends fascinated me. I had the idea swirling around for a while and knew it was something we had to go for.

We know Troll and Otto are vastly different, but how are they alike?

Andrew Nguyen, Maximum Games: They are alike in many ways. Like Otto, Troll is smart and adept, yet has many things to learn. You discover this during your adventure. Both characters have been torn from their home and are struggling to survive away from their comfort zones. They both have a common goal, and a common enemy. It is these elements that bring Troll and Otto together and forge a mighty friendship.

Is it possible to play through the game as one character or are you required to switch back and forth?

Andrew Nguyen: The game is all about teamwork, so you will be required to switch back and forth to progress through the story. At times, you will need to act as Troll, using his brute strength to pick up a heavy object; at other times, you will need to play as Otto, crafting spears from tree limbs in order to take on advancing enemies.

The exception to this, of course, is when playing in local couch co-op mode, where you can complete the game as one character while your friend plays through as the opposite character.

What made you decide to offer couch co-op?

Kevin Oxland: Couch co-op was something we always played in the past and it’s rarely offered in games nowadays. We wanted to bring that back. We also thought it was a feature that suited the game very well, and made sense with the dynamic between Troll and Otto. With split-screen, the social interaction that happens between players is similar to the interaction between Troll and Otto throughout the entire game.

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How does magic come into play? What magical qualities does Troll possess?

Kevin Oxland: We gave Troll qualities that are renowned in Scandinavian mythology. Trolls are believed to be elusive creatures, so we played on that with Invisibility. They have a mighty roar, and they have magical powers, so we combined those aspects to create the following functions: Bellow (Troll will stun enemies in range); Heal (Troll can heal himself when injured); Hide (Troll can make himself invisible for a period of time).

What features do you think fans will enjoy the most about Troll and I?

Andrew Nguyen: The ability to swap between two very different characters at the press of a button is very cool and feels very intuitive. But one feature that feels satisfying is the ability to squash monster enemies using the Troll’s punch or stomp. Although later in the game, the enemies get smart and start dodging Troll’s swipes and blows, so the player must adopt a new strategy.

Otto’s ability to vary his gameplay is quite rewarding, also. You can fight your way through enemies using melee and ranged weapons, or you can sneak around and take them out using stealth, so the player can use whatever feature and strategy that suits his or her playstyle.

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