Trine 2 Q&A

We speak with game designer Lauri Hyvarinen about the sequel to last year's gorgeous puzzle platformer.

The original Trine took 2D platforming visuals to a new level with its beautiful aesthetics and wonderful sound. Now that Trine 2 is on its way, we ask CEO and game designer Lauri Hyvarinen from Frozenbyte about the game and what to expect in the follow-up. Trine was a visually splendid adventure that let you play cooperatively with up to three people, working together to overcome obstacles. When playing alone, you could quickly switch between the game's three characters--the knight, the thief, and the wizard--to solve the puzzles on your own. The sequel, Trine 2, is set to be released on Xbox Live Arcade, the PlayStation Network, and the PC in spring 2011.

GameSpot: How did the idea of Trine originally come about? Were you always hoping for a sequel?

Lauri Hyvarinen: The original Trine was initially a very small project by one of our programmers and a couple of trainees. Back in 2008, our then-big project got canned, and we decided to focus solely on Trine. That resulted in a lot of changes.

It wasn't an easy ride, and there were a lot of difficulties along the way, but at the end of the day we were quite happy with how Trine turned out. You could say that we were happy enough but not totally satisfied, so when we knew the game was good and would get some good sales too, we decided to start working on a sequel and put all of our new ideas and visions to use. This happened right around the time the original game was finished, in June 2009. It's been great, knowing that there's a lot of support out there and that a lot of people are waiting for Trine 2!

GS: What's the story behind Trine 2? Could you tell us about the characters? Has the gameplay changed much?

LH: Trine 2 brings back the familiar trio--the wizard, the thief, and the knight--in a new quest to restore the balance of the world. This time the heroes are thrust into the kingdom's old territory, where a new threat has emerged. The story goes a lot deeper than it did with the original Trine; we're really focusing on telling a great fantasy tale with Trine 2.

On the gameplay side, there are a lot of improvements: the heroes get new abilities, there's a lot more enemy variety and all-new unique puzzles, plus many more additions big and small. Last but not least, we have rewritten our whole gameplay engine, which means that cooperative multiplayer is available both off- and online, so players all over the world can now join up and play with their friends no matter if they're in the same room or 10,000 miles away.

GS: The striking visuals and soothing music are what stood out in the first game. Can we expect the same in the second?

LH: We've got our aim much higher this time around. Trine is a beautiful game, but Trine 2 takes things up a notch. We have rewritten our engine, added better shadows and lighting, written all-new shaders, redone all the particle effects, and in general we are using totally new art models, textures, and animations. We've also paid more attention to the levels and the environment to make the world feel more alive.

In short, Trine 2 is going to be one of the most beautiful games out there!

Everything sure is pretty in Trine.

GS: What things did you learn from developing the first game that you will apply toward the sequel?

LH: There are a lot of tiny lessons learned, simple stuff that is easy to overlook during development. Things like not introducing the player to water elements with a huge chasm that looks like a death trap if you jump into it, like in the fifth level of Trine, Crystal Caverns.

That said, most of the bigger lessons are related to the business and production side. Trine was a very tough project to get to completion. We definitely want to make Trine 2 not only a better game but also a better project. Early signs are good; for example, signing Trine 2 with Atlus was a match made in gaming heaven, and we're already seeing the benefits!

GS: Could you describe what is still the same in Trine 2 and which features have changed?

LH: The basic idea of three characters solving puzzles with each character's unique abilities remains the same--yet of course online and offline co-op spices things up a bit, and we're making the game even more enjoyable as a co-op experience, with more focus on character balance. We have added some cool new abilities to make each character have even better puzzle-solving and fighting skills and in general to make the characters more balanced. Some of the puzzles are now way bigger and more complex, but at the same time there's a wide variety of solutions to each puzzle, and each character and character combination has their own solutions they can use, so no one should get stuck or feel useless. When you're playing Trine 2 in co-op, you're going to have a lot of fun no matter which character you're controlling.

We have also done some tweaking to the RPG-ish elements of Trine 2, mainly the character upgrades. We have always wanted upgrades to really mean something in the game--for example, add a new element to the game--and we're sticking to it. The new upgrade system will feel familiar, but it's much more usable and enjoyable.

There's also a wide range of improvements on the technical side, thanks to the rewriting of the whole engine, and this has allowed us to do some changes on the gameplay side, too. For example, players can now save their game at any time in a level, and the game will continue from that very spot. In addition to all the visual improvements, the game should also run at a much smoother frame rate.

It's best to just sit back and take in the view.

GS: What can we expect in terms of the music in the sequel?

LH: Music plays an important part in Trine 2, just like it did in the original game. Trine 2 is going to sound familiar but better. At the end of the day, nothing we can say will accurately describe the music of Trine 2; it's meant to be heard, so check out the trailers and other videos. We'll be announcing more details on the music of Trine 2 in the coming months, so stay tuned!

GS: Cooperative play is always a welcome feature. Have you made any adjustments to this?

LH: Trine 2 is built with three characters and their abilities in mind, whether it's single-player or co-op, offline or online. Trine 2 has a full online co-op mode, and this will be the major difference for most gamers, but we have also paid a lot of attention to make sure that the actual experience is as smooth and fun as it can be. In co-op, players can approach many of the puzzles in a different way, and this provides a lot of fun and replayability for the game. There's also a bunch of tricks that are really hard or impossible to pull off in single-player, but in co-op they become more accessible.

GS: Do players need to have played the first in order to enjoy the sequel?

LH: We'd recommend everyone to play Trine, because it's a great game and we're proud of it, but Trine 2 is a completely new adventure and a great experience even if you haven't played the original. Fans of the original will be right at home with the characters, but the game as a whole is very accessible to new players as well.

GS: Thanks for your time!

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67 comments
theJBlounge
theJBlounge

I'm about halfway thru Trine 1 off Steam and I'm looking forward to the sequel. Especially the online co-op. If you haven't gotten Trine 1, keep an eye out for sales. I got it for under $3 on the Summer Camp Steam sale. Probably will be more Steam sales around Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and the holidays.

isatche
isatche

@swordaxe - I had a lot of fun with wizard, and played the most part of this great game with him.

Scott_inWriting
Scott_inWriting

Reading this makes me even more excited about playing Trine 2! I also like the new online features they will be implementing. And to add to a comment below, I agree with Swordaxe - the Thief was definitely my favorite character to use. I solved the majority of the puzzles with her.

swordaxe
swordaxe

You dont make sense t me Gideon. I found the Thief to have superb mechanics. In fact I used her the most. I found the wizard to be the least fun and useful. The Wizard was only useful to me when absolutely no other solution was possible. I found him to be almost cheat-like. I used the Thief and Warrior most but the Thief chiefly.

TheDarkCrucible
TheDarkCrucible

SOO excited :] I loved the first one on the PS3 still enjoy it even after beating the game, its amazing how there are diffrent ways to solve the puzzle I must say they did a great job making sure you dont get stuck. so I REALLY look forward to some of the new puzzles and Im more than overwelmed to hear there is going to be a online function!

QuatrixJ
QuatrixJ

This had better not be another case where they advertise online co-op and end up implementing it on the consoles but not the PC.

Siddha19
Siddha19

Loved the first, this looks like it'll be a stunner as well! Can't wait! Just make it a bit longer this time!

Nuclear_Kernel
Nuclear_Kernel

I look forward to this. If it is as good as the first one I considered it a hit. I loved the first one: the gameplay, puzzles, specially the music.

gideonkain
gideonkain

The return of the Warrior, the Wizard and the girl who wades through lava because you don't want your good characters killed. Fix the grapple and arrows please.

ossn
ossn

I LOVE Trine, still almost half a year to wait, I'd get mad by then.^

mudslugger
mudslugger

I am so looking forward to this. I will certainly be buying this on xbox live. The first one never made it to xbox live. Not sure why. I hope they do put the first Trine on xbox live. I will certainly be buying that too.

-Deimos-
-Deimos-

I'm auditioning for Voice-Over work in Trine-2. Aiming for villains and monster types. I can't wait!

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

Never heard of it. Is the first on XBLA? I'd check it out.

SuperMegaMaster
SuperMegaMaster

Great news!!! Trine is a very good game...can't wait for it

147014
147014

One of the best atmospheric games i ever saw. I can't wait. Very good job from developers. Bravo. A little more complex puzzles will be great.

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

It is good to see the sequel. I was fond of the first one and never knew that it will be so famous. Good to see great games having sequels.

valent1n
valent1n

it is promising, but not too much

dadoesch
dadoesch

Is Ari Pulkkinen doing the soundtrack again? He did a masterful job on the first one. I bought the soundtrack and still love listening to it.

Gokuva
Gokuva

They should make this for Mac too.

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dbleja
dbleja

I hope the level design is much better in the sequel. Trine had gorgeous graphics and great mechanics, but the levels were mostlly the same old grind after grind, and were pretty forgettable. I can honestly say there are some mid-90s platformers whose levels have stuck in my mind more then Trine's levels have, even though I only played it 6 months ago. I'm glad to hear that the puzzles will be bigger and more complex. That was part of the problem with Trine: the characters' creative and fun abilities felt wasted on most of the basic puzzles the game threw at you.

ParaBellum71
ParaBellum71

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

LeJR
LeJR

@XxShadowzX As far as the game being short, it may not even be that, it was just a little too fast-moving. Judging by the forum for the first game, they are really focusing on feedback to develop the second game. All they need is that and some better marketing this time around and they will have themselves a hit.

XxShadowzX
XxShadowzX

The 1st one was an awesome game experience...the visuals, the sounds, the plot and the gameplay made the game just Epic... the only downside: It was a little short... But the 2nd sounds promising, they are upgrading the graphics engine and for the looks of it the game itself will be a gem! I'm excited! It's a total buy ^^

patrick-star
patrick-star

great game worth to buy. cant wait for this one to be in store.

vufor
vufor

Amazing game,loved it, and look forward for sequel.

xatman911
xatman911

Trine is the most beautiful 2D scrolling game I have ever seen. Forget Mario...

Kan0nF0dder
Kan0nF0dder

The first was excellent, I will support the sequal.

Innos007666
Innos007666

Nice game, I completed first Trine and it's awesome.

Shardz7
Shardz7

I wish more games sparkle and shine like Trine does and it's relaxing as soon as you fire up and get sucked into the amazing atmosphere. All possible attention to detail goes into the interactive maps and it's just a marvel to behold in action. I look forward to this release and Torchlight 2, as well!

greendivine
greendivine

The soundtrack is still the best !!!

lilmp89
lilmp89

Please keep the PS3 game from lagging when 5 skeletons are on screen....or when there's more than 2 flire-breathing skeletons...or when I use the thunder hammer...It's been a blast for me and my friends, and I bought the recent 99cent level immediately. Still, I really hope they fix the lagging issue; it was more than irritating to me with such a good looking game.

Tolinoli
Tolinoli

Looks wonderful. Got to play the first game.

Mega_Loser
Mega_Loser

yay trine 2. wish this one is harder, though.

Sparten1009
Sparten1009

Trine had a gr8 coop experience. Lookin fwd to this one

syler4815162342
syler4815162342

I love the Trine hope they put good music on this one

SapSacPrime
SapSacPrime

I still haven't finished the first but its really charming, I picked it up for next to nothing in the steam sale :D well worth a purchase.

Hell-Scream
Hell-Scream

loved the first one , this one looks great too specially offline co-op :D can't w8

pudgexd
pudgexd

The visuals are really fantastic , also one of the best budget games out there!

facer1
facer1

Loved the first, stoked for 2. I hope all the rewriting and reprograming of the engine doesn't alter the gameplay too much. I love the simplicity of Trine.

hellgothx145
hellgothx145

this game is enchanting cant wait to try it out when it comes out. :)

Trogdor77
Trogdor77

I didn't know they were making games for the N64 still...this is great

LorDofGod
LorDofGod

man, that's look's cool! in the video there's a beautiful song with nice graphics!

Squirrelatwar
Squirrelatwar

Dear computer: Please be able to run this, even though you probably can't ;( XOXO, me.

PatrickJCollett
PatrickJCollett

like the music.. reminds me of ps2 old days playing bard.. hahaha.. gud game.. loved the 1st.. hoping this will be as good as the previous 1...