Blue Isle Studios Releasing Valley On Switch In March

Continuing the trend of Canadian games being ported to Switch, Blue Isle Studios have announced their first person adventure game Valley is hitting the Nintendo Switch next month on March 7th. Valley was originally released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2016, and we did a small interview with the games composer which you can check out here.

Valley is a First-Person adventure unlike any other. Hidden deep within a remote region of the Rocky Mountains, you find yourself bewildered within a secluded valley. With the power of a recently discovered L.E.A.F. suit (Leap Effortlessly though Air Functionality), run and jump your way through beautiful forests, dangerous ruins and vast environments; all the while utilizing the power to control life and death to uncover the startling secrets of the mysterious valley.

Valley now 60% off on Steam!

Valley by Blue Isle Studios is now 60% off on Steam.

Interview: Aakaash Rao, Composer For Valley Discusses Creating The Soundtrack And More

A few months ago, I was reached out by Aakaash Rao, the composer for Valley from Blue Isle Studios, asking about an interview. I really dug the soundtrack in Valley so I of course said yes! You can check out the interview below, and a lot of Aakaash's work can be found right here. Thanks for doing the interview! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What your role was in creating Valley?

Aakaash: Thanks for reaching out! I’m a game composer based jointly in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Chicago, and I had the privilege to compose the soundtrack for Blue Isle Studios’ Valley. How long have you been creating music? What other games or projects have you worked on?

Aakaash: I’ve been composing ever since I learned to play piano as a child, but I only got into games a couple of years ago. Since then, I’ve worked on several PC, console, and mobile titles — I particularly enjoy writing story-driven soundtracks for RPGs. One of my larger project, a voxel-based sandbox called Planet Explorers, came out late last year. What was the design process like for Valley? Did you have free range to create the music you thought would fit the mood, or was there specific notes from different members of the team?

In general, I had a lot of creative freedom. One thing I really appreciated about working with Blue Isle is that I had a working build of the game almost from day one — which happens a lot less often than you might think. The game itself was a fantastic source of inspiration, and I’d often hit upon ideas while exploring the landscape or leaping around in the L.E.A.F. suit.

That said, the other two members of the audio team (Brenden, the audio and technical director and Selcuk, the SFX designer) definitely gave me plenty of input through the process. I’ve worked with a lot of big audio teams in the past, and I think there’s definitely a “too many cooks spoil the stew” effect when too many people get involved in the music, but Selcuk and Brenden did a great job of balancing their own visions for the game’s soundtrack with my ideas. The live musicians with whom I worked also gave me some very helpful input, particularly in regards to using world instruments with which I was not familiar. There's a lot going on in Valley. There are open world elements within forested areas, buildings, underground mines, etc. You get to move really fast, and jump extremely far as you traverse this world, but there is a lot of historical pieces from the 40s told to the player while they are playing. How did this contribute to the overall soundtrack for the game?

One of the biggest challenges in tackling projects of this scope is balancing variety with cohesiveness. You don’t want to bore the player by repeating the same motifs over and over, but you also don't want a complete musical disconnect between the themes associated with different areas. For example, I made a conscious choice to write sweeping orchestral music for the outdoor areas and more distorted, electronic music for the darker indoor environments, but I approached the indoor areas with a mindset of muting and warping the outdoor style rather than selecting a whole different musical palette. Amrita, the theme for the final level and one of my favorite pieces from the soundtrack, blends pads and electronic sounds with some warped live flute.

There’s a lot of subtle melodic and textural motifs weaved into the soundtrack, so the idea is that they help weave the disparate elements together. This is probably more of a subconscious phenomenon — I doubt that most people are listening intently to recognize the musical motifs as the play the game — but I think it does contribute to the player’s immersion. This is most important at the end of the game, where the final track states outright a lot of the themes that previous pieces have been hinting at. As I’m sure your readers who have finished the game can attest, the ending of the game is definitely a cathartic experience, so I hope that the final piece reflects and amplifies the feeling of cleaning and completion. In your mind, what game excels with its soundtrack?

I’ve always been a huge fan of Nobuo Uematsu’s work on the early Final Fantasy. These were some of the first games I played, so there’s an element of nostalgia, but I still think it’s absolutely incredible how much emotion he was able to convey under the console’s technical constraints. Arnie Roth’s Distant Worlds albums include some fantastic orchestrations of Uematsu’s work. More recently, I’ve also really enjoyed Austin Wintory’s Journey and Gareth Coker’s Ori and the Blind Forest. Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers? What can we look forward to next?

As I mentioned, Planet Explorers came out last year. I’m also currently working on a strategy RPG called Liege, which is a dark, strategy-driven RPG somewhere between Fire Emblem and A Song of Ice and Fire. Now that I’m done with Valley and Planet Explorers, though, I’m keeping my eye out for interesting new projects — I’d love to do a more intimate soundtrack for an RPG or puzzle game.

Thanks so much to Aakaash for taking the time, and remember that Patreon's got access to this interview early. You can check out Valley on Steam, and all of Akaash's work right here.

TorontoGameDevs Podcast Episode 50

Normally I don't write about the podcast on the main news site, but we hit a nice little milestone I figured I would share.

We've hit out 50th podcast! Bret Measor, Dan Rodrigues, and myself sat down over the weekend to talk about some of the recent Toronto Game Developed stuff, but we also answered some fan questions. Check it out below, while also subscribing to iTunes.

You can also check out our podcast page for all the past episodes.

Original Video - Week In Review - Valley, N++, Alone With You Releases

Hey everyone! It's another Week In Review! Our videos which basically summarizes what happened this week for Toronto developed games. Remember to subscribe on Youtube!



Valley And Alone With You Out Now

Valley from Blue Isle Studios, and Alone With You from Benjamin Rivers are out now. You can check out our the review for Alone With You here.

You can get Alone With You on PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita. Valley is available on Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

Original Video - Thoughts On Valley

Hey there! Two Toronto developed games came out today. I've already told you my thoughts on Alone With You, so here are my thoughts on Valley from Blue Isle Studio - full review incoming.

Until then, subscribe on Youtube!

Original Video - This Week In Review

So I'm starting a new thing on our Youtube channel, a quick summary and review of the stories from this page week! You can check it out below, and subscribe on Youtube here.

Valley Releases August 24th - Extended Trailer

Blue Isle Studio has released a new extended trailer for Valley, which is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.  Originally announced for summer - we now know the first person shooter will be coming out August 24th.

"Valley is a First-Person adventure unlike any other. Hidden deep within a remote region of the Rocky Mountains, you find yourself bewildered within a secluded valley. With the power of a recently discovered L.E.A.F. suit (Leap Effortlessly though Air Functionality), run and jump your way through beautiful forests, dangerous ruins and vast environments; all the while utilizing the power to control life and death to uncover the startling secrets of the mysterious valley"

If gamers are looking for more Toronto developed games in August, Benjamin Rivers' Alone With You launches the day before.

Blue Isle Entertainment Releases New Footage For Valley - Coming This Summer

Valley, the first person adventure game from Blue Isle Entertainment was announced last April, and some new footage has surfaced.  Garrett Marks took the PlayStation Blog to talk about the game, which is coming this Summer to PlayStation 4, and PC.

"As you’ll see in the video, intrepid players can do some truly incredible things as they seek to further uncover the mysteries of the valley: give life to dying trees and animals; leap the distance of an entire football field; swing through a Pathfinder training forest of ginormous trees; and even defend oneself against some mysterious enemies. These are just some of the many awesome things you’ll be able to do as you explore the ancient depths of the valley, all the while keeping both it and yourself alive."

Hopefully we'll see more of the game at E3, but until then make sure to follow the studio on Twitter.