Behind the Game: Hidden Folks

A conversation with Adriaan de Jongh about his latest game Hidden Folks, how it’s different from hidden object games, the art and science of hiding things, and why the game is not free to play.

Hidden Folks is not a hidden object game because it’s way more interactive than what most people who play hidden object games are used to.”

“When I first looked at that small world in which so many things were happening, that was the starting point for this game.”

Hidden in this picture with hundreds of hidden folks are the creators Sylvain Tegroeg (left) and Adriaan de Jongh (right).
Hidden in this picture with hundreds of hidden folks are the creators Sylvain Tegroeg (left) and Adriaan de Jongh (right).

“What we set out to do was to make a game in which both our strengths came forward. I wanted to make a very interactive game. He wanted to make his worlds come alive.”

Little animations make the worlds come alive and invite players to explore.
Little animations make the worlds come alive and invite players to explore.
Sylvain drew all graphics by hand in a special orthographic perspective, which is part of his unique style.
Sylvain drew all graphics by hand in a special orthographic perspective, which is part of his unique style.

“That’s a big part of Hidden Folks — to understand the clues and the stories behind the visuals.”

Players need to find all kinds of targets from hidden folks to tiny objects.
Players need to find all kinds of targets from hidden folks to tiny objects.
A small area introduces you to the game and hints shift your attention to a story that involves the target.
A small area introduces you to the game and hints shift your attention to a story that involves the target.

“A very iterative process in which we continuously make things and continuously throw things away.”

This is just a small part of the city area.
This is just a small part of the city area.

“One day I could be working on the tools to make the level building easier for Sylvain, another day I would be screaming into the microphone to record the sounds for Hidden Folks.”

“Even though we throw something away doesn’t mean we haven’t learned from it. It doesn’t mean that it was a waste of time. Very much the opposite is true.”

“I’ve always been surprised by how people think design works, and how that is so different from how it actually works.”

“It’s an old fashioned idea, I realized a couple of years ago, to release a game and be done with it.”

Good luck finding the key somebody misplaced in this lab.
Good luck finding the key somebody misplaced in this lab.

“We didn’t make Hidden Folks a Freemium game because if you want to make money with Freemium games, it’s all about game loops that have some friction in them that make you want to spend money, or make you want to spend time watching an ad.”

Players don't have to find everything, just enough to make sure they've seen "most of the cool stuff."
Players don’t have to find everything, just enough to make sure they’ve seen “most of the cool stuff.”

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