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BitSummit 10 Developer Q&A: Arts and crafts + emotional journeys = Paper Trail

For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Japan's longest-running independent game dev festival, BitSummit, reconvened this August in Kyoto. A special deputized deployment of VGG staff attended the weekend-long event and reported back with exclusive Q&As with developers in Japan's pioneering indie game dev scene. Check back in with us to explore an exciting batch of upcoming games in VGG's BitSummit 10 coverage.

Get ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery in Paper Trail — a foldable paper world where you'll manipulate your surroundings to solve puzzles, meet and help a unique cast of characters, and prepare your protagonist to leave home for university.

An animated GIF depicting the folding paper mechanic of the game Paper Trail. A cross shape sees the right flap folded over into the center, which allows the character to push a statue through the middle and into the left flap of the cross. Beautiful watercolor aesthetic.

A puzzle adventure game, Paper Trail offers a beautiful world for players to explore by folding and unfolding the paper of the game map. A slow and contemplative game, characters are encouraged to experiment with the game world in order to both progress and find secrets hiding within clever challenges. Both the presentation and the design mesh together to create a very mellow and challenging experience.

Newfangled Games showcased the game at Bitsummit X-Roads and were kind enough to speak with us about their game.

VGG: “Please introduce yourself and the game.”

Maloney: “Hello, I’m Robert Maloney, the Executive Producer, Production, and Publishing Lead for Paper Trail … a top down puzzle adventure game set in a foldable paper world. We use a lot of different paper artistic styles such as canvas, watercolor, (and) different elements. There are a lot of characters in this game that you can help out, and you are also trying to progress through the world in order to send the main character off to university.”

VGG: “If there was someone who had never played video games before, how would you explain this game to them?”

Maloney: “Origami. Origami with a maze!”

An animated gif depicting the paper folding mechanics of Paper Trail. The top half of a maze is folded over the bottom half, giving the character a path through to get an otherwise inaccessible part of the screen. This all takes place in a blue, seemingly underwater landscape with pink seaweed flowing around the screen.

VGG: “If there was one thing that you liked the most about your game, what would it be?”

Maloney: “The art style! It’s very unique and it stands out. I understand a lot of indie games have to work with what (they) have. A lot of programmers aren’t artists, a lot of designers aren’t artists. We’re very lucky that our designer and artist are brothers and they work tremendously well together. So I would say the thing I like the most is how well they work together and mesh their art and design philosophies.”

VGG: “What were the main inspirations for the creation of this game?”

Maloney: “It’s very difficult for me to say. I believe it’s the idea of utilizing something simple and making it more dynamic than you’d anticipate. For example, this very simple mechanic of just folding: it’s something everybody can do, it’s something we do as kids on paper, it’s something you can do with construction paper at home. You can make your own levels. It’s something that’s so simple to understand, but it can become so complex.”

A character with a white shawl and a blue scarf (and adorable blush-marked cheeks) stands to the left of a giant burning wooden eagle in the center of a Fall-inspired scene. To the right, two others are carving pumpkins. One of them says "Look at it go!"

VGG: “What is something that people can do to support the game?”

Maloney: “Wishlist! We do have a community discord and we are always looking for more testers. We want people to let us know how the game feels, if there is ever a puzzle that feels too difficult, or if they have any ideas for how things could be better utilized. We are always open to hearing any feedback.”

Paper Trail is currently set to release in Q1 of 2023 on Steam, Switch, Xbox, PlayStation, Android, and iOS. To help support the team, consider wishlisting the game on Steam, following the developers on social media, or joining their Discord to even potentially help test the game as it heads into launch!

The key art illustration for Paper Trail. It depicts the main character running across a bridge in a moonlit town as their parents watch on from afar. The title of the game stands above the scene with its multi-font design: Paper Trail.
The Bitsummit X-Roads logo, with a pink and blue X shape.


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