Elliot Collis on his Hand Painted Adventure, desolate

with Greg Micek


[dropcap]d[/dropcap]esolate – no capitalization, please – is a new adventure platformer from Elliot Collis that’s in the midst of a Kickstarter funding campaign.  The game tackles some pretty heavy topics, including depression, abandonment, sacrifice, and betrayal.  Combine those themes with a hand painted graphics that are as haunting as they are beautiful and you’ve got a game that sure to garner some attention.  desolate’s creator, Elliot Collis, was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule to answer some questions regarding his project.  Once you’re done be sure to give the desolate Kickstarter page a look.


Cliqist : So, what’s going on?

Elliot Collis : Hey, not too much today. Tired after a long week, and getting a few things ready for a new update. Could do with more coffee…


Cliqist : Tell us a bit about desolate.  Just another point and click adventure huh?

Elliot Collis : desolate is a 2d puzzle adventure game, so no real pointing or clicking. Its keyboard, or game-pad controlled, and has some light platforming elements to it. The story is inspired by my experiences, emotions, and sense of self growing up. You use the 3 core interactions of gesture, touch, and speak to interact with the inhabitants to solve the puzzles.


Cliqist : The themes of desolate seem like they come from a pretty dark place. How do you stay positive and motivated while creating something so dark and personal?

Elliot Collis : Hahaha yeah, actually I’m a very optimistic and happy person. When I was first writing the game I was in a pretty bad place, and had been for some time. So it felt natural to make a game about change, while I was going through the same thing. Now I’m very happy and things are going great. Great friends and family are the best way to stay positive and motivated though.


Cliqist : The art is interesting in that it makes me feel a certain amount of dread and melancholy, without being overtly scary.  That’s not a question; can you pretend it was?

Elliot Collis : Thanks! So, with the art it was important to me to have a really unique and atmospheric look to it. Also to have the feeling of being not only a desolate place, but also desolate in an emotional sense of the word.


Cliqist : Hand painting sounds like it could be extremely labor intensive.  Any concerns about that?

Elliot Collis : There’s a lot more to be done, so just concerned about getting it all finished. But with anything the more you do it the better you get at it, so it’s becoming a lot quicker to do.


Cliqist : Did the art drive the game design, or did the game design drive the art?

Elliot Collis : A bit of both really. The story drove the game design in the beginning, and from that I found the art style I wanted to use. Then the art drove the game design to evolve. It’s a continuous back and forth between the two influencing each other.


Cliqist : It seems like we’re seeing more games forgoing dialogue in favor of non-verbal communication.  I can imagine the challenges that presents; but what about the benefits from a game design, and player enjoyment point of view?

Elliot Collis : There’s benefits to both. desolate is a very introspective game about interaction and change, so having the puzzles be about the interaction instead of dialog trees makes the change feel more personal. The benefit of getting the player to think about their actions in a mechanical way is a more invested experience for them.


elliotCliqist : What’s it like having such a great head of hair?

Elliot Collis : It’s pretty sweet. Although it gets a bit curly when it’s long.


Cliqist : Is desolate a scam or unattainable pipe dream?  What assurances do backers have that they’re not just throwing their money away?

Elliot Collis : Ah yes, the old Kickstarter scam haha. No No, it’s a reality. I’ve been working on the game for a year now so I’m invested in getting this game done. I’ve set myself up so in Japan so I can work enough to pay the bills and work on the game, but when the bills get a bit much I need to work more. So some of the money will go towards keeping the balance so I can put more hours into finishing the game. The rest of the money will go into hardware, software, and paying my musician.


Cliqist : Can you finish us up with a desolate inspire haiku?

Elliot Collis : I can try!

Friends and family

Taken by shadowy figures

Is it them or me?


Thanks to Elliot for taking the time to discuss desolate with us.  If you’d like to learn more about desolate be sure to check out its Kickstarter page.



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Greg Micek

Greg Micek

Editor at Cliqist
Greg Micek has been writing on and off about games since the late nineties, always with a focus on indie games. He started in 2000, which was one of the earliest gaming sites to focus exclusively on indie games.
Greg Micek


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Greg Micek
Greg Micek
Greg Micek