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The Best Breakout Developer of 2016


The Best Breakout Developer of 2016

Good first impressions are important.

Honorable Mention: ColdWood Interactive (Unravel)

unravel, xbox one, confirmed, release, 2016, games

It’s award season here at Twinfinite! Starting with a few runner ups, let’s look back at the best breakout developer from this year and our 2016 winner!

ColdWood instantly made a mark at last year’s E3 when they completely 180’d the tone of EA’s press conference. Martin Sahlin, Creative Director at ColdWood, took to the stage along with an adorable, hand-made Yarny doll, introducing us to their new game and the emotional focus behind it. In a presentation packed with big-name shooters and high profile sports titles, it was a charming and incredibly welcome change of pace.

Moving ahead to 2016, ColdWood along with EA released their sentimental puzzle-platformer, Unravel. The studio has actually been around for quite a few years, making smaller titles mostly focused on sports, but Unravel was ColdWood’s grand debut.

The title’s main character Yarny had already won our hearts through various marketing means pre-release, particularly a smart social media campaign filled with hugs and adorably silent interviews. In the days before Unravel’s release, Yarny even took to Twitter to ask other big name EA titles if he could be in their game.

The lovable character drew a ton of attention to Unravel, and ultimately brought the same feeling of genuine empathy to the game.

Unravel is a gorgeous physics-based puzzle game that shrinks you down to the little yarn figure. There’s a false sense of nostalgia as you travel through factories and forests, sights you’d see in real life, but now must navigate through Yarny’s perspective. The character is on a journey to travel these scenic locations, retrieving different yarn items in order to restore the connections between a family.

Though the narrative is a little too subtle, Unravel hits some surprisingly emotional notes between its charming character and phenomenal soundtrack. We hope that ColdWood’s next project is every bit as heartfelt as Unravel, and maybe we’ll even see Yarny return someday.

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