Hollow Ponds Talks Creature Collection, Multiplayer, and More in Flock Interview

Hollow Ponds Talks Creature Collection, Multiplayer, and More in Flock Interview

Flock – A Delightful Avian Adventure!

Upcoming title from developer Hollow Ponds combines avian flight with non-violent creature collection.

Flock, the latest game from Hollow Ponds, is set to soar high in the gaming world. Published by the indie game powerhouse Annapurna Interactive, Flock promises a collaborative and exploratory gameplay experience that will leave players craving for more. Recently showcased at Annapurna’s Digital Showcase 2023, Flock’s gameplay walkthrough gives players a taste of its unique mechanics and vibrant world.

GameTopic had the pleasure of speaking with Richard Hogg and Ricky Haggett, the art and creative directors behind Flock. They revealed exciting details about creature collecting, map size, and much more in this exclusive interview. So, grab your feathers and let’s dive into the fascinating world of Flock!

Meet the Developers of Flock

Richard Hogg – The Art Guy: “I’m Richard Hogg, one of the creators behind Flock. My partner Ricky and I have been making games collaboratively for over fifteen years. I primarily handle the art side of things.”

Ricky Haggett – The Creative Director: “I’m Ricky Haggett, the desGameTopic director at Hollow Ponds. I wear many hats, from programming and game desGameTopic to creative direction. Together with Richard, we make sure Flock is an amazing experience for players.”

Now that we’ve met our dynamic duo, let’s hear them describe Flock in their own words.

What’s Flock All About?

Ricky: “Flock is a game where you soar through the wilderness on the back of a majestic bird. You explore and discover wild creatures to add to your flock.”

Richard: “It’s all about finding these creatures and building a squad that follows you around. While Flock is primarily a multiplayer game, it’s also enjoyable in single-player mode. It’s a relaxing experience set in a beautiful world. You can even hang out with your friends and take care of some adorable sheep!”

So, get ready to embark on an adventure full of discovery, relaxation, and having a flocking good time!

Charming Creatures without Combat

GameTopic: “Unlike most creature collectors, Flock doesn’t rely on combat mechanics. Can you tell us more about the charming mechanics and other ways players can recruit creatures?”

Richard: “Absolutely! In Flock, there’s no combat. We call it ‘charming.’ It’s like a dance, a movement minigame. You and the creature move together, finding that sweet spot between getting too close and drifting too far away. Some creatures are out in the open, waiting to be charmed, while others are hidden, elusive, or try to escape. It’s a delightful challenge to track them down.”

Ricky: “That’s not all! We have an identification minigame too. You’ll need to narrow down the creature’s family and guess which one it is. Don’t worry if you haven’t charmed one yet; you can fill in your field guide and identify creatures along the way. As for flying, we’ve put a lot of effort into making it feel amazing. It’s a frictionless experience, with birds effortlessly gliding around trees and catching thermals to rise higher. You can even fly through boost rings, chaining them together for an exhilarating experience.”

Flock offers a unique and immersive gameplay experience where every charming encounter brings you closer to building your amazing flock.

More Than Just Birds

GameTopic: “Apart from birds, are there other creatures with unique interactions in Flock?”

Richard: “Absolutely! While birds are the focus, Flock introduces various creatures that behave differently. From creatures with specific interactions that aid your progress to those that require some quest-like tracking, Flock adds a depth of exploration. Your flock is an expression of your preferences, and as you expand it, you can get quite particular about the creatures you want. It’s like customizing your flock’s costumes!”

Ricky: “Exactly! We want players to get attached to their favorite creatures and enjoy the experience without being restricted. It’s like choosing clothes for yourself, but in this case, for your flock!”

Flock offers a diverse range of creatures, ensuring that every player can curate their flock to match their personal style.

Unveiling the Mysteries

GameTopic: “The game’s listing mentions a fable called the Golden Bewl. Can you shed some light on this mysterious tale?”

Richard: “Ah, the Golden Bewl, an intriguing thing on the Steam listing! Unfortunately, that’s something we can’t reveal just yet. It’s shrouded in mystery, and it may hold the key to something important in the game. Maybe it’s a McGuffin, or maybe it’s the most vital element. We’ll leave it up to players to discover and interpret!”

The Golden Bewl remains an enigmatic piece of the puzzle, intriguing players to uncover its secrets within the captivating world of Flock.

Dive into the Handcrafted World of Flock

GameTopic: “How large is Flock’s overworld? Is it procedurally generated or desGameTopiced?”

Ricky: “The world of Flock is entirely handmade. It covers a couple of square kilometers, filled with intricate landscapes, rolling hills, and open spaces. Our focus was on creating a world that feels immersive and enchanting. While you can traverse it quickly on your bird, you’ll want to take your time and explore every nook and cranny.”

Richard: “Absolutely! We’ve designed different areas, from vast grasslands resembling prairies to dense forests and unique pockets of habitats. It won’t take ages to fly from one end of the map to the other, thanks to your trusty bird. However, it’s easy to get captivated and miss all the wonders along the way. If a friend needs help, you can quickly fly to their aid. After all, birds are pretty good at getting around!”

In Flock, every inch of the beautifully handcrafted world is waiting to be discovered. Get ready to indulge in the thrill of exploration and share amazing experiences with friends.

Create Your Perfect Flock

GameTopic: “Roughly how many creatures can players recruit to their flock, and how many players can enjoy Flock simultaneously?”

Richard: “Players can find around sixty creatures to recruit, divided into twelve families. The distribution among families is not equal, with some having more members than others, like a crow family compared to a duck family.”

Ricky: “As for the number of players, it primarily depends on performance, but we’re aiming for an upper limit of around eight. However, we believe that around five players would offer the best collaborative and immersive experience. Flock isn’t a massively multiplayer game; it’s all about flying together, exploring, and having a memorable time!”

In Flock, you’ll have a feathered family like no other, and the chance to enjoy a serene multiplayer adventure with friends.

Nature’s Inspiration and Vibrant Art

GameTopic: “What were some of the inspirations behind Flock’s unique world and art style?”

Richard: “A big inspiration for me was nature itself. I love wildlife and have a keen interest in birdwatching. It was a joy to incorporate that passion into Flock’s desGameTopic. I wanted to create creatures that felt familiar yet surprising, taking inspiration from nature in a non-literal way. You’ll find creatures that resemble dolphins, insects with distinct personalities, and even a chicken-like creature for a touch of hilarity! It’s a balance between relatability and the joy of creative expression.”

Ricky: “Definitely! Sound also played a significant role. We wanted players to hear creatures before they saw them, with each family having its unique soundscape. Just like the art, the audio is a mix of nature’s symphony, blending insect sounds, monkeys, reptiles, birds, and more into a harmonious cacophony.”

Richard: “Oh, and one more thing! We wanted to capture quirky behaviors as well. Like those amusing colonies of derpily lying seals you find in the real world. We made sure you’ll experience those comic moments, too, adding that touch of relatability and fun!”

Flock’s art style is a result of Richard’s artistic journey and the team’s collective effort. From hand-painted details to realistic lighting, every element adds to the game’s immersive world.

The Story in Flock

GameTopic: “Is there a story to be discovered in Flock, or is it mostly left to self-interpretation?”

Ricky: “Flock definitely has a story, but it’s not the central focus. It’s more about your role as a shepherd, exploring and cataloging creatures in this beautifully crafted world. There are NPCs and fascinating characters to interact with, providing additional depth to the world.”

Richard: “Indeed! While the story isn’t the primary focus, these characters have their own tales to tell. Flock’s narrative adds flavor to the game, but it’s ultimately up to the players to interpret and engage with the world based on their own experiences.”

Flock strikes a fine balance between immersive storytelling and open interpretation, allowing players to write their own adventure within its captivating universe.

Inspirations and Real-World Delights

GameTopic: “What influenced the development of Flock, whether through games or other media?”

Richard: “Flock draws inspiration from our previous game, Hohokum. It’s not a direct sequel, but we wanted to capture a similar feeling of joy and wonder in Flock. Beyond that, our inspiration came from spending time together during lockdown, playing games like Roblox and Valheim. These multiplayer experiences, where exploration and collaboration take center stage, shaped the heart of Flock.”

Ricky: “Absolutely! The joy of exploring virtual worlds when we couldn’t freely explore the real world became our driving force. Also, we have to mention the real world itself. Taking walks, observing nature, and diving into wildlife documentaries all contributed to the creative wellspring for Flock.”

Richard: “Definitely! Being a wildlife person myself, I wanted to incorporate that love for nature into Flock’s desGameTopic. It’s incredible how real-world experiences and the joy of gaming intertwined to create something special.”

Flock’s development journey was a fusion of artistic inspiration, virtual adventures, and real-world wonders—an impressive testament to the power of imagination and collaboration.

Aesthetics of Flight and Learning Curve

GameTopic: “Flock’s vibrant art style stands out with its rounded edges and absence of cell-shaded outlining. Can you share more about its development?”

Richard: “[laughing] The art style of Flock has been quite a learning curve for me. Coming from a predominantly 2D stylized art background, transitioning to a more realistic style with realistic lighting was a challenge. But it was an exciting process of trial and error, iterating on what felt right for Flock’s world. With the support of an amazing team, including a technical artist, we managed to create an art style that perfectly complements the game.”

Ricky: “Indeed! Richard put an incredible amount of effort into painting the sunlight streaming through the trees. We worked with the Unreal Engine’s technology, crafting a look that showcases Richard’s models beautifully. It was a journey of finding that perfect balance.”

Richard: “Absolutely! The entire team’s dedication and collaboration resulted in a visual style that we’re immensely proud of. It was a rewardingly challenging process that ultimately elevated the immersive experience of Flock.”

Final Thoughts and Closing Wing-Flaps

GameTopic: “Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?”

Richard: “Yes! While the trailer highlights the multiplayer aspect of Flock, I want to emphasize that the game can be fully enjoyed in single-player mode too. We’ve crafted an immersive experience that accommodates both multiplayer and single-player styles of play.”

Ricky: “Exactly! We’ve poured our hearts into making Flock an experience that resonates with players in various ways. Whether you’re soaring solo or flocking together with friends, Flock is all about enjoying the journey and discovering nature’s wonders.”

With that, our delightful adventure through the world of Flock comes to a close. Indulge in its serene beauty, charming creatures, and the joy of exploration when Flock launches on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

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