First revealed in March last year, at the time we hoped that the nebulous phrase “PC and consoles” included our favourite Nintendo system, and today we can exclusively confirm that, yes, musical adventure Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is coming to Switch in Q1 2024 (alongside all those other consoles).
Developed by Hyper Games and based on Finnish author Tove Jansson’s beloved Moomin series — which debuted a whopping 78 years ago — the brand-new ‘Friends in the Valley’ trailer below gives an idea of the gameplay and “over 50” characters you’ll encounter on a musical quest that, as we’ve learned from Hyper Games’ co-founder and CEO Are Sundnes, is inspired by the original Zelda games.
Check out the video and read on to find out more about Melody of Moominvalley’s genesis, its art style, and how experimental rockers Sigur Rós got involved with the soundtrack…
How long have you been working on the game and what was the genesis of the project?
The project started at the beginning of 2020. The team was working hard on finishing our current project at the time, Mørkredd, which is a really dark and moody game. I guess we were primed for something colourful and cosy after spending years in that dark world! I was reading the book “Who Will Comfort Toffle”, one of Tove Jansson’s beautiful picture books, and started thinking about ways that lovely melancholic story could be adapted to a game format. It took just a few weeks from that first idea until we had a basic concept of the Snufkin game drafted, and then we went over to Finland to pitch it to the owners of the IP.
It’s described as ‘a musical adventure game’, and Moomins have a rich musical history. Can you tell us a little about how the ‘melody’ of the title is woven into the gameplay?
Absolutely! The game is a story-rich musical adventure. As the main character, Snufkin, approaches Moominvalley after his usual winter wandering, he notices that something has changed – the normal harmony made up of the soundscape of wildlife, flowing streams and happy creatures is gone – it is as if the melody of Moominvalley is missing. Music is a very important part of Snufkin’s personality, and he finds inspiration for his tunes from nature and from his travels.
For this game, our vision was to create something inspired by some of the older action-adventure games – like the original Zelda games. But most of these games use swords and fighting as the main “action”. This wouldn’t make sense within the Moomin stories, and so we set out to replace all the weapons with musical instruments. As you progress the game you level up your inspiration and get access to new instruments that affect creatures and the environment in different ways.
From what we’ve seen so far, it’s a lovely-looking game. Moomins have been depicted with different art styles across different media since the 1940s. What made you go for this particular aesthetic over, say, the 3D models of the Moominvalley series or another visual style?
For this game, our vision was to create something inspired by some of the older action-adventure games – like the original Zelda games.
Yes, Moomin has had so many different styles throughout its history. Even the creator of Moomin, Tove Jansson, had a wide range of artistic expressions – everything from pencil drawings, to painting and even sculptures and model-making. For this game, we set out to make something that feels like her own watercolour paintings, the ones you’d find as sleeves on the original Moomin novels, or in her painted picture books. We feel that these paintings really capture the characters and mood in the best way, and wanted the game to feel like something that Tove could have painted herself in her atelier – rather than the very digital format of typical video games.
You’ve collaborated with Sigur Rós for the soundtrack. How did that come around and how has their music incorporated?
That started on the flight back from our first meeting with Moomin in Finland. I was very happy and pleased with the meeting and put on an album of one of my favourite bands, Sigur Rós, to relax on the flight back to Oslo. I’ve listened to their music a million times, but on this flight, it struck me how wonderfully their mood and sound fit with the dark and melancholic beauty of Tove Jansson’s stories.
I reached out to them soon after, and it turned out that some of the band members were also Moomin fans and liked the idea of collaborating on this game. The game features original works by our composer, Oda Tilset, unaltered tracks from Sigur Rós’ Untitled album, “()”, and lastly, we have music that’s a hybrid of the two – sort of like Sigur Rós tracks reimagined by our composer in collaboration with the band.
Will the Switch version use the touchscreen?
You can optionally use the touchscreen to play, though we think the game is best suited to using the controllers.
Finally, is there any personal favourite book or past adaptation that has inspired your approach with the game?
My most nostalgic relationship with Moomins is from the ’90s anime show that I really loved as a child. But after discovering the original Moomin novels as an adult those are closest to my heart now. I think my favourite is the book “Tales of Moominvalley”, which is a collection of short stories. It has the story “The Spring Tune”, that tells the story about Snufkin meeting a small nameless creature and helping them find a name. This story has been a big influence on our design, and an adaption of this story is found at the very beginning of the game.
Many thanks to Are for answering our questions. Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is lined up for launch in Q1 2024. Let us know below if this one is going on your Switchlist.
This story originally appeared on Nintendo Life