An Interview with Treefall Studios' Eli Brewer

An Interview with Treefall Studios' Eli Brewer

We meet the man behind "The Letter"

How old is Treefall Studios, and how big?

EB: The entire thing is about two years old. Now we have three people, but when I did "The Letter" I did it by myself. We haven't made any complete games until recently, really. We're pretty much brand new.

What was the first game Treefall Studios developed and what do you think of it now?

EB: The first game we ever developed was a small game called "Journey of a Special Average Balloon". It had a Kickstarter Campaign, it was an indie game on the PC. It's really, really short, almost like a little app. It's kind of cool, I like looking back on it now, seeing where I've come from, but it's very small.

Who first came up with the idea for "The Letter"?

EB: Me, I did.

Do you feel as if you/he/she captured that idea sufficiently within the game, why or why not?

EB: Not really. See, the game was really short and not what we really wanted it to be was because our funding goal was (chuckles) nonexistent. It was supposed to have a budget of $5000.

How much did you end up making?

EB: $377.

Damn.

EB: Basically, to complete the game I would've needed that much money to allow myself more time to work on it, but basically I had to take the $377 along with some other money. I had to work another job at the time, so I could only work on it part-time for about 1-2 months. So it wasn't as good as it could've been if the goal was met.

What games did you take inspiration from in producing "The Letter"?

EB: I was listening to a lot of horror music from other games, stuff like that. Some of my favorite horror games that I liked to think about while making this would be Eternal Darkness, that whole Gamecube era. I listened to some of the ZombiU tracks, I even listened to some of the Call of Duty Zombie tracks. Not taking inspiration from that though. I guess some of the older Resident Evil games as well, but I didn't get to really put a whole lot into the game, so not a lot really dripped off those titles.

In the music track for the first level, there's someone asking "Hello? Can you hear me?" in the background of the melody, as well as another case of a man speaking in Construction Valley. Why did you include these vocal additives?

EB: They're not actually in the music tracks themselves, they're depending on the areas you walk in. Like, the "Help Me" comes from the [Teddy] bears. The closer you are to one, the louder it is. The "Can you hear me?" thing is hiding in a wall towards the hidden letter, and when you walk over to it you'll be able to hear it, and, uhh, I just put them in there because they're kind of creepy.

The scale of the objects in the game ranges from being oversized to normal, sometimes in the same area. Was this intentional, and how old is the main character, Michael, supposed to be?

EB: (Chuckling) Totally no reason at all. I don't even know how that happened, exactly. I've changed the sizes of everything in the first update.

Are there any sort of future projects in store that you can share, be them Nintendo-related or otherwise?

EB: Yeah, but I can't share too much about it yet. I've got a few more updates coming out for "The Letter" after the first one. I'm working on another secret project for the Wii U. Everything we're working on right now is Wii U specific. And then there's a much larger game that I'm working on with my whole team. That game will have another indiegogo campaign, and we'll be revealing it in about a month or so.

What would you, personally, rate the game out of ten?

EB: It really is a biased question since I made the game, it could've been much better. I think it will be a lot better after some updates, we'll be adding new levels, more content, and save files, but the game as it released... I'd give it a 5 or 6 out of 10. I wouldn't just destroy it, but it's not there yet.

Can we get a sequel?

EB: (Chuckles) That's a possibility, but I'm actually going to be extending the story, kind of like games like The Walking Dead, but yeah, if there's continued support for the game I'll keep adding on to it. But possibly, as we get better, maybe there's a sequel, but as of now there's no plans for it.

Who has the movie rights?

EB: (Laughing) The movie rights? Well, right now we're not planning a movie, but if you want to make a movie, go for it!

Before we go, is there anything you'd like to add?

EB: Yeah, just don't give up on the game yet if you're a hater out there, I guess. I'm working on it best I can, I had no money, and I'm just getting started at this game development thing. Hopefully I'll be able to improve it, but we'll definitely learn from our past mistakes like what we've made with this one, but there's a lot of people out there who have enjoyed it, so thank you a whole lot for your support.

Thanks again to Treefall Studios for the interview!


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Smuckola said:

I was telling Eli on the Miiverse that he really should do interviews. And you guys did some of what I was wanting to see! I would really like a followup if possible, with the IndieGoGo project backers. Who gave $377 to it, why, and what did they think of the result? The demo movie looks just like the ................. final..... product. So I'm just curious what they were thinking, before and after.

1 month ago

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Rob Jones said:

I too wonder what they were thinking. I just checked out the Indiegogo campaign page for The Letter, and what I saw there wouldn't have made me part with any cash.

1 month ago

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