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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Finding your true love may win the game in Fabledom by Grenaa Games

There are plenty of city building games around but Fabledom adds a fairytale twist to the genre. Set in a storybook kingdom filled with magical creatures, kings and castles, the game gives players the opportunity to build their own kingdom and find their true love. First time game developers Max Nielsen and João Martinez form Grenaa Games, a Sweden based indie game studio. “We don’t take ourselves very seriously. I think that is clear in the language of the game and players seem to appreciate the humor.”

Nielsen quit his job as a software engineer two years ago and decided to go all-in on game development. “I have no background in game development, it was just a hobby”, he says.  “And João was straight out of university. He never worked on a ‘real’ game either. So the amount of things we have learned during this project are crazy, it’s like we threw ourselves into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. I think if I could do it over, I would make a game with a smaller scope and give myself more time. Making games is hard!”

Fabledom offers a casual, relaxing approach to city building. The fairytale theme was inspired by Disney and Pixar movies. “I am a huge fan of city builders, especially the ones that lean a bit more towards the medieval”, says Nielsen. “But I was missing a really good city builder in a fantasy setting. Since I’m also a big fan of books, stories and fairytales in general it felt like a perfect fit for me! Once I decided that this was the general idea for the game I tried to come up with what it might actually look and feel like.”

True love

And so Fabledom has a certain play style that sets it apart from the city building competition. The goal of the game is to grow your humble town into a mighty kingdom and eventually take over the world. That doesn’t have to be a violent affair though. True to the fairytale setting you can find true love and unite countries that way. Nielsen: “We always planned to have diplomacy but just the default diplomacy/war didn’t feel fitting, we needed something that made us different. One day, Dave Kosak, who helped us with some writing, suggested the idea of finding true love. Once we had that idea, the rest came really naturally, and it’s one of my favorite features!”

About the studio name Grenaa Games: “Grenaa is my family name from my mothers side, so it adds a nice personal touch I think!”

“It’s a game where you can win without ever starting a war. I think our replayability sets us apart. With our completely procedural maps, events and eventually eight different rulers to court, all with their own unique quests, rewards, and abilities. What other city builder has love, war, jokes, giants, witches, and cute flying pigs?”

Several hats

Working as a two-person studio both developers have to be versatile. “We both wear several hats”, says Nielsen. “João does all the art and shaders. Everything from buildings, to grass, to the princes and princesses. He also helps come up with ideas and cool concepts and we cooperate very closely. I do all the coding, game design, day to day production stuff, basically everything else. We use external consultants to help us out though. For example, all the audio is made by Sam Houselander, all the music by Olli Oja and all the animations are done by Nacho de Andres. Then it’s my job to implement their creations.”

“Our goal is to make a really cool game that will be memorable and enjoyable for our players, where they feel like they got their money’s worth.”

After two years of development, Fabledom will go into Early Access on April 13 2023.  “It has a long way to go until completed”, says Nielsen. “I’d say we are not even halfway there. But we will build the game together with the community.”

  • Now a year later, Fabledom 1.0 has been released proper.
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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