South Australian game goes Switch

By Celia Clennett

The game development industry is a silent wonder that continues to grow and thrive in South Australia.

At the heart of it are companies Mighty Kingdom, Surprise Attack Games and Team Cherry, who have developed games that successfully captured an international audience.

Team Cherry is a modest team of three – William Pellen, Ari Gibson and David Kazi – who first came together over game jam events, but bonded over their love for the Legend of Zelda series.

In 2014, Team Cherry funded their first game Hollow Knight on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website. They successfully raised an impressive AU$57,138 from 2,158 backers who simply fell in love with the game from sight alone!

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Screenshot from the game ‘Hollow Knight’

The funding success and growing number of fans gave the team confidence to continue on this path. Two years later, Hollow Knight is the first fully developed game by the independent company, released for Windows late last month and soon to be on Mac.

“It was a relief to see the whole thing pay off. We’d actually been working on the prototype of the game for four months beforehand, but the Kickstarter success was a validation of the direction we were taking,” said William Pellen, game designer and Co-Director of Team Cherry. 

“We were keen on remaining independent from the start if we could manage it. We’re glad we did, because it allowed us to take the project in the direction we wanted to, while also giving us the opportunity to build up our own relationships with distributors, merchandising partners and so forth.

“We think it was the best move for the business over the long-term.”

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Hollow Knight Album Cover

Hollow Knight is a 2D action game filled with beautiful and toon-like visuals set in the vast, inter-connected underground kingdom of Hallownest.

It’s not just the art, but the original soundtrack that contributes a haunting yet beautiful atmosphere created by award winning South Australian composer and sound designer Christopher Larkin.

“Though we’ve all worked on games in the past, Hollow Knight is the culmination of the things we love in games. It’s cute and creepy, quaint and epic. Together we’re putting all of our passion into this project,” said William.

The game has not gone unnoticed internationally either.

“We’ve had a lot of requests for translations in various languages, French and German amongst them. We’ve also got a lot of Chinese players, so we’ll be looking at translating the game for them soon too.”

The company has also announced that Hollow Knight is in queue for the Nintendo Switch – a console released just three weeks ago which has sold more in Australia and New Zealand than any other Nintendo hardware, triumphing over its predecessor, the Nintendo WiiU.