SteamWorld Dig 2 Studio Talks Game’s Origins & Breath Of The Wild

SteamWorld Dig 2 logo
  • Playstation 4
  • Playstation Vita
  • Switch
  • Windows
  • Action-Adventure

SteamWorld Dig 2 is one of 2017’s highest-rated games, and Image & Form CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson is pleased, but not surprised by its success. He recently contacted us via email to discuss how the addicting project came to be.

As the game’s name implies, Sigurgeirsson feels the act of digging makes the title so enjoyable. “I think its appeal has very much to do with the inherent mystery and excitement of digging,” he said. “Every resource you find is a small reward. Also, there is so much to explore, discover and master.

“But the simplicity is there as well. You don't really have to die very often in SteamWorld Dig 2. It’s not that type of game. Instead you can progress steadily, and that's really addictive.”

That much is clear from the game’s very first mine. The entire landscape is open for players to sculpt, and the limited field of view creates suspense about what awaits below. Possible finds include resources to sell for upgrades, deadly enemies or even small puzzle rooms with hidden rewards inside. Digging down deep and returning to the surface for loot means each excavation is a chance to start anew. Constantly hitting the reset button is a huge part of what has kept gamers engaged.

We found Dig 2’s loop of unexpected adventure mirrored that of Breath Of The Wild. Just like Hyrule, the caves of SteamWorld Dig 2 are full of mysteries that leverage a very specific set of skills. Sigurgeirsson honored the comparison, saying “both Breath Of The Wild and SteamWorld Dig 2 are all about upgrades and exploration. I think our game looks better, but you can't deny that there are more hours in Breath Of The Wild.”

SteamWorld Dig 2 also has the benefit of treading familiar ground. The original SteamWorld Dig released in 2013, and despite minor controversy over the game’s $20 price, it received accolades from major publications like IGN, Eurogamer and Gamasutra. As is common in game development, the praise wasn’t without its problems.

“We were on the verge of bankruptcy,” the CEO admitted. “I had scrounged together half a million dollars and was up over my ears in debt. We had to wrap [the original SteamWorld Dig] up. That meant we had to narrow down the content scope of the game quite a bit, and it was heartbreaking to see many fine ideas hit the ‘s--t list.’”

Those unfortunate financial circumstances, however, are precisely why SteamWorld Dig 2 exists today. “We then spent two years making SteamWorld Heist, and that was really tiring. We needed an ‘easy’ project after Heist, and Dig 2 was the natural choice,” Sigurgeirsson concluded. The game added all the extra content, bosses and mechanics that couldn’t be featured the first time around.

The project itself wasn’t as easy as the team originally assumed, but its leader still feels great about the finished product. “I'm quite proud that we didn't take the easy way out of dead ends at any point. I guess you could say we dug our way out of them rather than turned around,” he quipped.

SteamWorld Dig 2 is available now on Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC, OS X, Linux and Vita.

Come back later in the week for more from this interview including Sigurgeirsson’s frank insight on the state of the Nintendo Switch and indie development scene.

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