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We’re obsessed with Scarlet Deer Inn’s gorgeous embroidered sprites

Scarlet Deer Inn, with figures being embroidered for use in the game.

What do you do if you’re making a folklore-based narrative platformer? Buy assets and tweak them? Hire an artist to draw the characters? If you’re the maker of Scarlet Deer Inn you just go ahead and embroider them from scratch.

Scarlet Deer Inn, described as “an embroidered narrative platformer with an emotional story ..and a world inspired by Slavic folklore,” uses sprites that have been embroidered, frame by frame. And the result looks absolutely amazing, both in and out of the game.

We do mean frame by frame, too. Developer Attu Games has embroidered every animation element, then placed them inside the game. Something as simple as a running animation requires this husband-and-wife dev team to stitch protagonist Elise’s steps. On top of that, they’re also handling virtually every aspect of the game, from programming to music. The latter is created using period-appropriate instruments such as lutes and so forth. The backgrounds, too, are hand painted.

In short, they’re going all out to lend the game a genuine medieval feel. And, in a move that Fake History Hunter would no doubt approve of, Scarlet Deer Inn’s world looks colourful and bright. This isn’t Hollywood’s take on the Middle Ages where everything is brown, brown and brown.

Scarlet Deer Inn promises to plunge Elise, a mother of two, into menacing dungeons where a torch is her only means of defense. Though one question does remain… why embroidery? As explained on the official Scarlet Deer Inn Steam page, “It’s a lot of fun to try to make real stuff and use them in a digital game.. the primary goal for us is to achieve a Ghibli-like style and feel, not the embroidery itself.”

Hang on.. Ghibli-style? Yes, because while the sprites are clearly embroidered, the embroidery isn’t quite so obvious in game, so you end up with something that’s both distinctive and gives the general appearance of cell-shaded animation. Aside from the animation, we’re suckers for folklore, so we can’t wait to get our hands on the finished product.

We will have to wait, however, because Scarlet Deer Inn doesn’t yet have a release window. But a demo is in the works and the final game will land on PC, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. You can wishlist it on Steam, and follow Attu Games on Twitter here.

Weekend Editor // Chris has been gaming since the days of the Acorn Electron, which was allegedly purchased to 'help him with his homework'. You can probably guess how well that went. He’ll tackle most genres – football titles aside – though he has a taste for games that that are post-apocalyptic, horror-oriented or thought provoking in nature.