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HomeRunning a studioBiomorph by Lucid Dream Studio innovates the Metroidvania genre 

Biomorph by Lucid Dream Studio innovates the Metroidvania genre 

In Biomorph, players can assume the shape and skills of defeated enemies, employing their powers to combat other monsters or traverse uncharted territories. This unique ability, previously unseen in Metroidvania games, represents a significant innovation for the genre that the creators at Canadian indie game company Lucid Dreams Studio so love.

“In the team, everyone is a fan of Metroidvania”, says Brand Manager Rayanne Berriche of Lucid Dreams Studio. “So when we really enjoyed the hat-throwing mechanic found in Mario Odyssee, we asked ourselves if that particular mechanic of taking over an enemy existed in a Metroidvania. We did our research and it turned out that it didn’t. From there we embarked on the Biomorph adventure.” 

Lucid Dreams Studio was founded in January 2017. Their debut game, the 2D single-player action adventure Legends of Ethernal, launched three years later. The studio operates in two locations. Part of the team is located in Sherbrooke, while the other part is based in Montreal. In total, the studio consists of 10 permanent members, with additional freelancers joining depending on the progress of production. Biomorph launched in April this year.

Dark universe

Initially, the Biomorph’s power was limited to the room where the monster was located, but player feedback changed that. “We kept hearing the same request: ’Can’t we keep the monsters throughout the entire adventure?’. So, we reworked the design of our game to allow for that. Making a game isn’t a straight-line path where you can’t turn back. Sometimes you have to know how to backtrack when something isn’t working or when it doesn’t provide enjoyment to the player. It’s obvious in hindsight, but when you’re immersed in it, it’s sometimes hard to accept.”

To give Biomorph a mature appeal, the team opted for the creation of a dark universe. The world, called Ilios, is characterized by inked pen aesthetics and darker color palettes. “Our vision was to blend the fantastical Ghibli-universe with the monstrous sci-fantasy ambiance of the 1970s”, explains Berriche. “The creatures in the world possess both funny and strange forms, aiming to create discomfort during the initial encounters. Our goal was to create a game with a dynamic and action-packed look, resembling that of an action/adventure comic book.” 

Lost in production

“At one time we noticed that our zones were too similar in terms of colors. To address this, we added post-processing effects to accentuate the differences between the zones. And it works great!”, says Berriche. “The freedom of expression through art was also one of our strengths, as each artist who contributed to the project had creative liberty and could add their own touch to the game.”

The most challenging aspect during the production of Biomorph was for the team to maintain a single focus. Producing a Metroidvania is a huge undertaking, and the developers could easily be overwhelmed by the content they wanted to create, according to Berriche. “That’s why the bi-weekly meetings with the leads of every department were so important. We reviewed the production schedule, adjusted certain features to have enough time to design and implement them optimally in the game. It’s easy to get lost in a video game production. That’s why it’s important to establish a system to evaluate the progress of production and to close certain areas, locations, features, in order not to spend too much time on them.”

More enjoyable

With Biomorph now available on Steam, the team at Lucid Dream Studio is looking ahead. “We are pleased with the launch of Biomorph”, says Berriche. “It’s well received by the community, both for the Biomorph twist and for the artwork and gameplay. Currently, we are working on ports for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox. This is already taking shape, and we are making good progress. We continue to listen to player feedback in parallel to make the Biomorph experience even more enjoyable.”

Eric Bartelson
Eric Bartelson
Editor-in-Chief of PreMortem.Games. Veteran game journalist for over 20 years. Started out in 1999 for game magazines (yes the ones made of paper) such as PC Zone Benelux, PlayNation and GameQuest, before co-founding Dutch industry paper Control Magazine.
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