On November 15th, games:net Berlin Europe introduces granted you insights into the Berlin indie games studio Twisted Ramble. The studio is in the midst of developing their first game Duru that tackles the rather serious topic of depression. Twisted Ramble wants to tell stories about stigmatized topics like mental illness, social constraints and cultural differences to strenghten awareness. How they do do that, Kerstin Schütt and Verena Hetsch reported in an entertaining chat with André Bernhardt, Managing Director of IndieAdvisor. 

The team explains how Duru shows us the symptoms of depression as well as harmful and helpful behaviours by revealing typical misunderstandings that occur between people with depression and the people around them. To do so, Twisted Ramble chose a mole rat as their heroine as these animals have tight-knit social communities like humans do, and they integrated an AI that can work with or against the player – just like depression does. 

Despite the ample competition and the consequential hard sell to publishers, the team chose to integrate the concept into a 2D-puzzle platformer as this genre is easy accessible for all age groups. In contrast to other games with stigmatized topics, Duru is colourful and foregoes the use of language to be universally understandable. 

During the interview Kerstin and Verena talk about their multitude of funding with the startup scholarship of the HTW Berlin, funding by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, Kickstarter and their wish to apply for federal funding in the future. 

After going a bit into their community management, the team gave us a sneak peak into what their next project might be: a murder mystery dating sim about toxic relationships. Surely, Twisted Ramble will stay true to themselves and will submit a colourful take on a dark topic. 

If you missed the interview, you can rewatch it here.