There is a certain ballet to game design. Perhaps not in the visual sense, but in the dedication—the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to pull off even a simple movement. Like a game designer, a ballerina must work night and day, while knowing every aspect of what goes into the beauty of her art, both inside and out. From the high level concepts to the granular, from the emotion of the piece to the soles of the shoes that help her execute it.
A ballerina must make a world erupt from the rigid structure of her body, creating by pushing the natural limitations of her canvas. Just look at this video of ballerinas preparing their pointe shoes and explaining the rigorous, tedious, and repetitive process—like programming for a game designer, the ballerina could ask a third party to deal with breaking in her pointe shoes. But then she would lose something in the process; that ultimate control over the container that shapes her artwork.
Ballet and game design share a natural passion with each other. And the Polish team of game makers called Plastic Studios will explore this common dialogue of passion as they set out to make Bound. As with the studios past titles (Linger In Shadows and Datura), Bound will be an experimental “notgame” game, but this time about a ballerina. Teaming up with Sony Santa Monica, Plastic Studios hopes to deliver an experience that not only captures the beauty of a performance, but also the rigors of a collaborative piece. With the tagline “sometimes to move forward you have to step back,” Bound will leverage the challenge of one big puzzle against a community of players working together.
In the announcement, director Michał “bonzaj” Staniszewski describes the Modern Art flavor of the game as ranging from “Suprematism, Concretism, Neoplasticism, or what Bauhaus has delivered.” Aside from the captivating art style, players can look forward to the ballerina protagonist played by Maria Udod and choreographed by Michał Adam Góra, who Staniszewski describes as having a “rich personality.”
The richness of her style is evident in both the trailer and the teaser website. Beginning with a focus on the classic pointe shoes, the trailer eventually broadens out to reveal the bird-like shape of the dancer and then the wide, expansive world she unveils with a sweep of her out stretched arms. If watched on the teaser site, the trailer is played over an animated backdrop of the ballerina, her motions mimicking the inward and outward focus of the video.
The music will be a blend of a classic ballet score and electroacoustic stylings as performed by Oleg “Heinali” Shpudeiko. On top of all that, the low poly art pulls it all back together to the quiet yet striking minimalism of its visual stylings.
You can check out the trailer and website for yourself here.