The story of Nomada Studio is the story of the serendipitous meeting between two old college friends and a well-known illustrator at a mutual friend’s party. Before that, Roger Mendoza and Adrian Cuevas studied together and started their careers in video game development in the early 2010s. They worked at studios such as Ubisoft Montreal or IO Interactive, where they learned the ins and outs of producing AAA games such as Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Far Cry 3, or Hitman.

Cuevas and Mendoza moved to Ubisoft’s Spanish branch during the mid-2010s and soon met Conrad Roset at a mutual friend’s party. Roset, an illustrator now for its depiction of female characters, was interested in working on a video game, so the trio agreed to meet at a quieter spot to explore ideas together. After that first meeting, the group laid the foundations to create a game that would translate the sensibility and colorfulness of Roset’s work into a video game. After brainstorming ideas, the three decided to work on a prototype of what would become Gris, a game that tells the story of a girl in a world painted in black and white that recovers its colors as she faces her fears. To work on this title, the group created Nomada Studio.

Gris‘ first iteration was an endless runner for mobile. Still, the studio soon agreed that the game looked better on a big screen, prompting a transition to a 2D platformer. Thanks to the prototype, Nomada Studio traveled to Gamescom, showing a very early version of Gris to different interested publishers. Finally, Devolver Digital and Nomada Studio agreed to publish the game on PC and Nintendo Switch, although it would later appear on iOS, PlayStation 4, and Xbox.

Nomada Studio had to face some complex decisions while developing Gris. The studio set a goal not to implement a «Game Over» concept. However, that idea proved challenging to follow as Gris was a 2D platformer who featured final bosses in certain parts of the map, making things even harder. Ultimately, the studio tweaked the game’s level design to solve situations such as the protagonist falling from great heights without resorting to death and restarting the game from a previous checkpoint.

Regarding final bosses and the fact that players couldn’t die while facing them, Nomada Studio created an achievement for players who beat them flawlessly. It’s relevant to emphasize that Nomada Studio introduced these enemies from a narrative perspective, as they symbolize the main character’s fears. For the studio, it made sense not to kill them or have them kill the main character.

Gris was released on December 13, 2008, and was an instantaneous critical and commercial success. The game has sold over a million copies, has a Metascore of 83 on PC, and even won the Games for Impact award at The Game Awards in 2019.

The collaboration of Cuevas, Mendoza, and Conrad Roset will have a new episode with Neva. Nomada Studio’s next game, starring a young girl who shares a bond with a wolf, will be released in 2024 along with Devolver Digital.

Activity funded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport.

ministerio de cultura gobierno de españa
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