«30 Birds» is an adventure game inspired by the tradition of Persian miniatures. Its universe also draws from Persian mythology and more broadly, from eastern fairy tales, but with a modern, anachronistic twist. The story takes place in a city made of giant paper lanterns floating in the sky. Each side of a lantern is a hand-drawn Persian miniature like scenery. It is said that the bird goddess Simurgh painted them directly on the night sky. Here, human beings live alongside djinns, and one can either ride a flying carpet or a tramway to reach the next neighborhood. The player will help a girl named Zig to wake the goddess, who’s been asleep for years. They will have to find thirty quirky bird characters, that is, gather all their contacts in a chat app on Zig’s phone. There will be no violent gameplay in «30 Birds», rather exploration and some detective work, plus puzzles and simple playful interactions in the style of games like Windosill, GNOG, Florence or Vignettes.
The game’s main inspiration is the traditional art of Persian Miniatures.
The project started as an art experiment for an exhibition : the goal was to make the audience experience Persian miniature like paintings in a different way, that is, with a gamepad. That’s when we came up with the cube layout : Persian miniatures are vertical pictures, it’s a defining feature (as they were illustrations for books). Hence, putting them around a cube is the trick we used to make the miniatures connect and expand, while keeping that vertical aspect, and at the same time, introducing a third dimension in the setting. We conceived it as a cross between a kamishibai and a magic lantern projector. These small four-sided paper theaters naturally became lanterns in the game.
Other inspirations include the novel “My name is Red”, a magical realist mystery by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, the city of Istanbul itself, and the character of Simurgh – a famous giant bird from the middle-eastern mythology, similar to Phoenix. The title of the game – “30 Birds” – is a play on words with the name “Simurgh”, which sounds like “thirty birds” in Persian. This has been used by Attar of Nishapur in his mystic poem “The Conference of the Birds”. In this Sufi text, a group of birds led by the Hoopoe goes on a journey to meet Simurgh, who represents God in that context. Thirty of them make it to the ultimate valley to only find a big lake in which they can see their own reflection…
Studio: ram ram / @RamRamGames
Country of origin: Belgium
Single Player only
Platforms:Desktop Computer (Windows), Desktop Computer (OS X), Tablet (iOS), Console (Xbox 360 or Xbox One), Console (Playstation 3 or Playstation 4), Console (WiiU or Switch)
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Meet the Makers:
“At the core of ~ram ram~, there are two artists : Coline and Laurent. Coline is an old-fashioned drawer with a very unique style, she’s a fast worker and is very decisive. Laurent is a musician, a programmer and a dreamer – his main dream being to tell odd stories. They’re leading the project “30 Birds”, a poetic video game inspired by the traditional art of Persian miniature, but it’s merely an excuse to make your screens look all weird. They have friends (thankfully…) who helped them create a demo : Steph, who contributed with 3D visuals and bits of code – Antoine, a drawer and a daydreamer who also helps on the story – Babas, a programmer and a musician – and Gilles and Manu, who created 3D lanterns for the game’s flying city.
Except Antoine, they all come from the south of France, though they live and work in Brussels, Belgium.Now Coline and Laurent are on their way to make those “30 birds” star a full length indie game !”