“The fear phase”: Tomas Sala on landing another Falconeer game

Interview with Tomas Sala: The Creative Process Behind Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to chat with Tomas Sala, the mastermind behind The Falconeer and the upcoming game, Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles. As a developer who mostly works solo, I was eager to delve into his creative process, especially as development on Bulwark was coming to a close. Sala’s approach to game development has always been explorative and innovative.

Exploring a New Adventure

Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles is a unique game that challenges players to construct a civilization in the heart of the ocean. Drawing inspiration from The Falconeer’s universe and an “evolving demo,” Sala has crafted a game that defies traditional genre categorization. The journey from ideation to completion must have been a rollercoaster of experiences.

Insights from Tomas Sala

Interviewer: How are things going with the final submissions for PlayStation?

Tomas Sala: We’re running into some unexpected issues with the Japanese language spaces that need fixing before the submission deadline. It’s been a tedious process, working on this for weeks with nightly development sessions. This is the less glamorous side of game development, where even small details like text alignment can become major hurdles.

Reflecting on Creativity

Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles – One Epic Build Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games

Here’s a recent trailer for Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles.

Interviewer: You mentioned previously that creativity can feel messy at times. Do you find yourself in a phase now where you’re refining and tidying up your creative vision for Bulwark?

Tomas Sala: There are two distinct phases of creativity – the free exploration phase and the more analytical phase. Transitioning from one to the other can be challenging, especially when external factors start influencing your decisions. It’s essential to strike a balance between maintaining creative freedom and making informed, deliberate choices.

Protecting Bold Ideas

Interviewer: How do you safeguard your bold ideas from being diluted during the refinement process?

Tomas Sala: Once you enter the analytical phase of development, it becomes challenging to tap into that initial burst of creativity. Professionalism and discipline play a crucial role in guiding your decisions and shaping the game into a coherent experience. Sometimes, tough choices need to be made to ensure the final product lives up to its potential.

Giant falcon flies past sci-fi towers in Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles

Giant airship floats over ocean in Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles

Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles. | Image credit: Tomas Sala

Navigating Analytical Creativity

Interviewer: Can the analytical phase lead to new creative breakthroughs?

Tomas Sala: Transitioning between the intuitive and analytical phases is crucial for refining and improving the creative vision. By stepping back and viewing the project from a spectator’s perspective, you can make impactful decisions that enhance the overall experience. Balancing raw creativity with intellectual refinement is a delicate dance that every developer must master.

The Journey of Bulwark

Interviewer: How do you feel about the current state of Bulwark and the complexities it presents?

Tomas Sala: Bulwark remains a passion project that continually evolves. While navigating the challenges of development and external pressures, it’s essential to remain true to the core vision while also acknowledging the need for adaptation. The creative process is as much about self-discovery and growth as it is about the final product.

Bulwark - a shot of the tutorial, with a misty sea and buildings being constructed a long a ridge of rock.

Bulwark - a city clinging to a cliff

Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles. | Image credit: Tomas Sala