In the grimy world of Let Bions Be Bygones a down-on-his-luck private detective gets a last shot at redemption. John Cooper takes the case in finding a missing upper-class girl in the seedy underbelly of the dystopian city-planet, Terrahive. An intriguing tale full of twists and turns -and multiple endings- plays out in this fully narrated cyber-noir thriller.
The creator of Let Bions Be Bygones (LBBB) is indie game studio Bohemian Pulp, the brainchild of co-founders and life partners, Đorđe and Jasmina Marković. The studio was founded in May 2023 in Novi Sad, Serbia and Let Bions Be Bygones is their debut title. “We’re a close-knit team of six dedicated professionals that all share a deep passion for gaming and design”, says Đorđe Marković, who also works as Team Lead and has a hand in graphics and FX. “I decided to make a game that I can do by myself. With my artistic background, I focused less on programming and mechanics, and more on storytelling and visuals.”
Visual aesthetics play a pivotal role in LBBB’s identity. The game’s graphics showcase a distinctive fusion of modern 3D visuals with a nostalgic pixel-art look. To arrive at the current style Marković explored various approaches. “The turning point came when I experimented with adding normal maps to 2D graphics” he says. “This approach, especially when combined with pixel art, created a visually appealing effect that resonated with me.”
“I then fine-tuned the resolution level of the pixel art, seeking a balance that would spark players’ imaginations while leaving enough room to fill in the details. From a production standpoint, pixel art also offered the quickest method for me to create and animate so it was a win-win. For the 3D environments, I aimed to create a moody atmosphere. “I opted for low poly 3D models with realistic textures, which I pixelated to harmonise with the pixel art style. This decision set the foundation for the game’s distinctive look and continued to evolve.”
Marković names several inspirations for LBBB, both from the world of movies and games. “The most apparent inspiration for our game is unquestionably Blade Runner”, he says. “Gameplay-wise, we’ve merged the essence of classic point-and-click adventures like Monkey Island with narrative-driven RPGs like Disco Elysium and Shadowrun. In terms of visual style, our game shows similarities to the much-anticipated The Last Night, which is more a happy/unconscious coincidence than a deliberate choice.”
Connection to the game
Another pivotal ingredient in the tasty mixture that’s Let Bions Be Bygones is player choice. Players get to pick their own path through the story and thereby decide their destiny. There are no wrong choices, only consequences to your actions. “We’re most proud of our choice system, where every decision shapes the player’s character and the game’s narrative”, says Marković. “By giving players different approaches to problems, we offer a new level of control over the story, based on individual decisions. We believe that this will not only enhance replayability but also deepen the player’s connection to the game.”
But by giving the players access to the complex branching narrative that allows various approaches, choices, and outcomes, the team of Bohemian Pulp has given themselves a very tough task. “Initially, some parts of the game turned out overly complex”, admits Marković. “Now we’re focusing on simplifying the narrative while maintaining depth and variety to meet player expectations and our goals. We engage in regular brainstorming sessions to tackle this, continuously adjusting our approach to balance complexity and manageability. This flexible and iterative process is key to completing our game.”
Thorough and vigilant
With the growth of their team to six members the creative process at Bohemian Pulp has evolved significantly. “Each team member does have specific roles and their area of speciality where they take the lead. Given the size of our team, these roles often overlap. Team members share responsibilities depending on the production phase. This flexibility helps us optimise our workforce effectively.” Marković reflects on the iterative nature of their process, “If something seems easy, we’re likely overlooking a crucial aspect. This realization has taught us to be more thorough and vigilant in every stage of our process.”
Bohemian Pulp’s hopes for ‘Let Bions Be Bygones‘ are set high, with a target release in the first half of the year. “However, given the unpredictable nature of production challenges, we cannot commit to a more specific release date at this time”, concludes Marković.