February 24-2015
Seven Summits’ ‘Picto’-rial take on domestic violence

Tackling tough social subjects like domestic violence through a game is rarely seen in the gaming world where video games are packed with violence and missing story plots. Seven Summits Studio’s new venture Picto deals with the issue of domestic violence through a story laced with beautifully styled art work. AnimationXpress.com caught up with studio to talk about the game.

The studio founded in July 2013 has games like Pac-Port, Petite, Pigment and the fourth game from the studio – Picto is currently in the alpha stage.

Seven Summits co- founder Asar Dhandala shares his thoughts about game, “Picto is about the life of a child who lives in a house where domestic violence is the norm. Picto tries to show the circumstances the child goes through, the troubled nature he develops and how it affects his way of seeing the world itself.”

The studio wanted to portray the repercussions of domestic violence on the mind-set of children. Picto tries to convey this through its artistic visuals, story and simplistic gameplay. The 2D art enables to express those story book art styles through the game.

Pratim Basu the artist for the game adds: “The artwork of the game is hand-painted and resembles children’s story book, which lends to the idea of seeing the world through a child’s eyes. The circumstances the boy goes through, the troubled nature he develops and how it affects his way of seeing the world itself.”

The studio’s previous game Petite dealt with the life of a woman and the emotions she feels in every stage of her life.

Petite actually evolved into what it is now, over time, but Picto was a conscious decision from the beginning. We want to develop more meaningful experiences for our players. So yes, we do put some thought while coming up with games that have more to them than meets the eye,” explains Asar on continuing to make socially relevant games.

A one minute demo of the game showed that the music played an important part of the game. The game opens with the boy lying in bed (we never know his name), while a heated argument, supposedly between the boy’s parents, takes place, ending in the sound of glass breaking, and the boy wakes up startled. The voice acting of the parents’ is done quite well, giving shape to the tension of the domestic situation.  This domestic violence forms the basis of Picto’s story.  Also, we noticed the characters did not have mouths to communicate.

“We wanted to evoke an appropriately melancholy mood for such a topic. The music is being composed by Kevin Germain.  It was a planned decision not to give mouths to the characters. The circumstances in the boy’s life made him reticent. One would later see how it affects the game,” shares Asar about the music and the voiceovers.

Picto was recently recognised as the third best game at Game Hack in Hyderabad and is nominated for PG Connects’ Big Indie Pitch which will happen in Bangalore in the month of April.