Building on the outstanding success of their final-year film, Giacomo “Jack” Ghigo and Leonie Issacs teamed up with fellow 2016 graduates from BA(Hons) Animation & Visual Effects, James White and Leigh Juggins, to create a new animated video game.
‘Rumours from Elsewhere’ is a bright, 2D action fantasy game, produced by their games studio, Notte Studio Games, which they founded in Cornwall.
Giacomo told us: “Rumours from Elsewhere is set in a magical land inspired by ancient civilisations, strongly influenced by stories like Arabian Nights and the Epic of Gilgamesh, but mostly Babylonian, Persian and other Middle Eastern lore, mixed with classical fantasy.”
The gameplay – described as 2D platform roguelike – takes inspiration from classic video games such as Prince of Persia and Aladdin, “mixed with quick brutal fighting and RPG elements”. There are ten characters to choose from, each with their own unique playstyle and story, as well as ten beautiful and mysterious levels for players to explore.
This accomplishment comes off the back of Giacomo and Leonie’s third-year student film, a short animation called Falling in Love, which won a Royal Television Society student award and has been quietly trending on YouTube since its release in 2016. At the time of writing, it has nearly reached 5 million views!
“Seeing the views on YouTube was a really pleasant surprise for us,” said Leonie. “It gave us hope for the future of our next projects. We check up on the comments every now and then; it’s great to see that so many people have really got invested in the story!”
So, what led them to move from film to games?
Leonie explained: “Animation is a core ingredient to making a game like Rumours from Elsewhere. By moving to create games we can utilise our passion for animation as well as learning new skills, to tell even more immersive stories.”
Giacomo agreed: “Both are time-consuming processes and take an incredible amount of work, but if we succeed in delivering the stories and the experiences that we want to share, if we manage to capture an audience and keep them immersed into a magical world, we are glad to put in the effort again and again.”
Having just released the demo of Rumours from Elsewhere, the team’s current focus is on the full release, after which their “dream is to fully establish Notte Studio Games as a media studio here in Cornwall, creating unique, fun games and animation with immersive stories.”