Indie Spotlight: Thing Trunk

A small team with huge dreams

Ever found yourself looking at your games library and thinking, I wish I had more time to play these games? I’m sure any lifelong gamer out there can relate to that statement. Well we all grow up and life’s responsibilities begin to stack. Before long, you find yourself with mere slithers of time and an unsatisfiable hunger for a condensed gaming experience which packs in everything you love about games. The team at Thing Trunk – based out of Poland – have designed a platform to achieve just that. The concept is called Return 2 Games.

R2G is a series of unique mid-core games inspired by the golden days of PC gaming. With 7 games in total, each unique but all sharing the same grand vision. Each R2G title is a tribute to a single hit game from the 90’s: a re-imagining of a single universal story for a brand-new audience, using modern means and innovative gameplay mechanics.

Just Game caught up with one of the brilliant minds at Thing Trunk – Filip Starzynski – to discuss the concept of R2G and the first title scheduled for release – Book of Demons. One of the most distinguishable aspects of the R2G games is the paper cut-out design.

“There were many wild ideas – at some point we even considered doing a macaroni style graphics created by gluing together macaroni and photographing it.” Filip said.

Although the idea of running through a dungeon as a delicate collection of delicious pasta does put a smile on my face, the final decision to represent each game in the series as a pop-up book is probably a better choice.

“Paper is such a malleable material that you can work with it in many, many ways. It’s South Park, and its origami, it can be childish and it can be artistic.” He said.

The Thing Trunk team devoted almost a year to defining the R2G paper style. Working with Supergenius, some of the best graphic designers in the industry. Together they designed a style which complemented the games they had in the pipeline.

The concept of R2G has been in development for over three years now, no doubt the team were starting to see the world around them as 2-dimensional folded objects.

“We hoarded pop-up books and all forms of origami. To this day it’s difficult to find a flat surface in the office that is not occupied by paper dinosaurs.” He said.

The Thing Trunk core team – made up of 6 developers – all share a similar background with regard to why they now do what they do. It seems they got their first computer and their futures were made clear to them.

“You could shape the story, be a fighter pilot, a magic ball spitting monkey or an alien invasion defence commander,” he said.

“Once you learned to program?! Frankly speaking, we’re surprised that there were people in our generation who didn’t become game developers”

They tinkered with computers in primary school and all attended the same University, where they met and convinced the school to create a new department – game programming. After that they went off and started separate companies and some even taught programming for a while. The R2G seed was firmly planted however and a few years ago they pooled their resources and started a new company with one purpose – to make R2G a reality.

When we asked Filip for any advice he could offer to our readers who might be aspiring game developers, he recommended resisting the urge to create an open-world MMORPG … even if the idea is tempting.

“Start small. Make up an idea you think you can create, then slash it in half, or better in four. Games always tend to snowball once you start working on them.”

Book of Demons will be the first title released for the Return 2 Games platform. With early access scheduled for May followed by the games official release in September 2016. Fans of old classics such as the original Diablo will enjoy the nostalgia but appreciate the inclusions of a unique card system, randomised dungeons and flexiscope – which enables the player to set the length of each quest.

Thing Trunk have created a program named Sneak Peak, providing eager people a chance to see the games ahead of their release. For more information and to sign up to the program visit the development blog.

With so much time invested into the concept and development of R2G you wouldn’t blame Filip or the team for wanting to disappear for a while when the game’s finally released. Or perhaps celebrate in a subdued manner…

“If we have the means, we’ll buy a huge boat, an old abandoned cruise ship maybe, and convert it into a mobile office and a hub for indie studios from all over the world.” Said Filip.

So to ensure indie studios across the globe all get their passports stamped, be sure to keep your eyes and ears tuned into all things Return 2 Games.

If you’re interested in the game, follow Thing Trunk on FB, Twitter or subscribe to the newsletter on Book of Demons website.

Profile photo of David Chattaway
30 years of age, living in Melbourne, Victoria. Married to the love of my life and father to a gorgeous little girl. I self-published my first novella in October 2013 and have since released another two. Not a fanboy, just a lover of all things gaming … I play PS3, PS4, Xbox One & PC.

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