Frozenbyte on Shadwen’s Length, Gameplay, Story & Much More

Finnish indie studio Frozenbyte used to be beloved by their fans, at least until Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power was released last year.

The studio apologized at length recently, and they're now looking to earn back the trust of gamers with their new project, Shadwen. To begin with, they released a free demo of the game on Steam and encouraged as many people as possible to play it as it would have lowered the price of the game, which will now be just $14.55.

Shadwen is an ambitious stealth game with which Frozenbyte is trying to get back to the genre's roots. Its premise and features, detailed on the official Steam page (alongside system requirements) are definitely intriguing, with a strong focus on physics. With the game due to launch in May for PC and PlayStation 4, we've reached out to the team in order to bring you exclusive details on the game. Enjoy!

  • With Shadwen, you moved from platform/puzzle to the stealth genre. What kind of challenges did this provide?
  • The challenges mainly stemmed from having a different gameplay focus. There’s more emphasis on interaction with AI in Shadwen because you have to manipulate your opposition (the guards) in one way or the other to get to your objective, whereas in the Trine series, the gameplay was much more centered on puzzles and platforming bits. So everything related to the AI was more important this time around, like the guard’s field of vision, movement patterns, and the way they react to different sounds and so on.
  • Will the story of the game provide any clues to Shadwen's motive to assassinate the King (and perhaps even if the King actually deserves it)?
  • Yes, you’ll discover Shadwen’s motive during the game, and more will be revealed about the king’s gruesome past as well.
  • You mentioned consequences for choosing whether to kill the guards or not. Can you give us a hint on what those might be?
  • Lily, the little girl who’s following you will get traumatized if you murder guards in front of her. The relationship between you (Shadwen) and Lily will irreversibly change should you decide to do that, and the story of the game will differ depending on your actions.
  • So much of a stealth game's success depends on the AI. What are you doing to make sure that it creates a compelling, yet not frustrating challenge for gamers?
  • While we do want the guards to have good AI and react to a variety of stimuli (visual and audio), they can’t be too overpowered, or that will just make playing the game a chore. The time-rewind feature is something we felt was crucial in alleviating the instant-game-over-upon-detection premise, which could otherwise be very frustrating for the player if he/she gets blindsided for example. It’s all down to balancing, which I think we’ve achieved well.
  • How long will the game take to complete, approximately? Do you believe it will be highly replayable?
  • The game has a lot of freedom to solve the levels in different ways, so there’s definitely room for replayability. You can also experiment a lot with the various traps and different routes and play styles. The option to complete the game in lethal and non-lethal ways also adds a great bit of length, because people will probably want to see the different endings! It’s difficult to say how long the game will take. I would estimate, however, that it takes about 20-30 minutes per level for a new player, and we have 15 levels in total. That would make for 5-7.5 hours in total, but of course this varies a lot depending on your play style and experience. I’m sure we could speedrun the game much much faster.
  • What about DirectX 12 support, is it something that might be added to the game at some point?
  • Not in the near future at least. We need a full engine update first for that to happen, but we’ll see how it goes.
  • Which resolution/frame rate are you targeting for the PlayStation 4 version? Will the game's visuals settings be lowered in comparison to PC max settings?
  • Shadwen will run at 1080p/60fps on PS4 and looks great! Of course if you have the hardware to totally maxed out on the graphical settings and resolution on PC, the game will have more detail.
  • What are the chances that Shadwen might be released for Xbox One at some point?
  • There’s a hope…a chance!
  •  As a developer, what's your take on Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform? Is that something you might be interested in exploring for the future?
  • We haven’t looked at that yet very much to be honest, but it’s a possibility if we get to the Xbox One in the future.
  • With the Trine games, you consistently delivered a great stereoscopic 3D experience. Given that VR is an evolution of that technology, are you interested in adding support for PC (Oculus/Vive) or PS VR for Shadwen?
  • We are very excited about VR! - We’ve got our hands on the different VR kits so once we get Shadwen out on the initial launch platforms, we might try how it works in VR as well. The rope-swinging action could be a bit too much for those with a weak stomach though, but we’ll only know if we try it. 🙂
  • How did your partnership with Gamestop come about? Can you tell us how it's going to work for you and if you'll be releasing Shadwen and perhaps Trine 3 to retail via GameTrust?
  • Can’t really reveal much yet, but Shadwen and Trine 3 are not related to our deal with GameTrust. We’re very excited about the partnership and look forward to sharing more, but all in good time!
  • Thank you for your time.
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