On Sep 9th, it’s time for the 21st edition of the Swedish Game Award (SGA) to take place in Stockholm - the largest award show in the Nordics for student and hobbyists.
Finalists are coming from all over Sweden to take part in the award ceremony, win prizes, and get celebrated by industry giants.
One of last year's big winners at SGA was Da Dawg Team with their game Out of Sight, receiving four prizes including Game of the Year. We had a chat with one of their creators, Per Hallros, to know more about their journey going from a student project to a real company today.
“If anyone is hesitant about applying to game competitions with “just a student game”... then don’t be, it changed our careers forever.”
Hi Per! When did your interest in games start?
I grew up in a small town in Sweden called Motala where I spent a lot of time playing video games. I especially liked being an active part of the experience. Before realizing I could work with games for a living I worked in tourism, trying to match the traveler’s expectations to reality. When I am creating games today, I try to draw knowledge from my background in order to match new experiences with the players’ expectations.
What kind of game is Out of Sight?
It’s a second-person perspective game about a girl who is trying to escape from a kidnapper's house. The girl is blind and can’t see with her own eyes, but she has her teddy bear with her that grants her vision. The player can pick up the teddy bear, carry it around the house and place it down in different locations in order to change how they see the world and interact with the environment.
How did you come up with the idea?
It started with one of our team members finding an article on second-person perspectives in games, which none of us knew what it was at the time. Our interpretation of the term was “you do not see from the eyes of the character that you control”, which we all agreed could make an interesting game mechanic. When I pitched that the protagonist could be a girl who sees from the eyes of her teddy bear we all knew we had something really special on our hands. We had never seen a game like what we imagined Out of Sight to be, and that is exactly why we decided to go for it.
“We had never seen a game like what we imagined Out of Sight to be, and that is exactly why we decided to go for it.”
How was the game first created?
It was created by a team of eight people in six weeks as a school project during our time at Futuregames, where I studied to become a Game Designer. The game was first constructed as a means to highlight our unique mechanics in interesting ways. Setting the experience in a creepy house with a kidnapper felt like the perfect way to effectively showcase the mechanic since that setting greatly strengthened the bond between the girl and her teddy bear. When we finished the school project we got great responses from peers and industry professionals who enjoyed the uniqueness of our game.
What happened after Swedish Game Awards?
When we submitted the game we soon got nominated in five out of eight categories and we ended up winning four of the awards: Best Design, Best Art, Gamer’s Choice Awards, and Game of the Year.
We were blown away by how our game was received by the game industry, something we could never have imagined when working on this as a school project.
By winning in the category Game of the Year, we got the opportunity to present our game at the Redeye Gaming Day in front of investors. That experience really opened our eyes to the possibility of making our game something larger than just a school project. We got many great connections with various companies and a few pitches later we were also invited to be a part of the Dragon’s Den pitch competition, where we ended up winning the grand prize of traveling to GDC in San Francisco.
The journey from winning the Swedish Game Awards has resulted in us entering into a partnership with The Gang, where we are working on making our dream for Out of Sight a reality.
SGA organizers Dataspelsbranschen (Swedish Game Industry) has enabled and supported us since the start, inviting us to meetups, giving us pitch training, and opening doors to business opportunities.
If anyone is hesitant about applying to game competitions with “just a student game”... then don’t be, it changed our careers forever.