Developer Dialogue: Mutazione Interview @ PAX West 2019

At PAX West, I had the opportunity to interview Nils Deneken. He is responsible for Die Gute Fabrik, the German game developer responsible for the upcoming indie title Mutazione (pronounced mootatseona). The game is often described as a “mutant soap opera”, following Kai in a beautifully-crafted island where people have become mutants. Living among them is Kai’s grandfather, who needs help in his sickly state. The game’s main focus is a musical garden in which you plant things that flower into music-producing beauties. Characters of all kinds and personalities give you an emotional journey through Kai’s grandfather’s illness.

Nils was good enough to sit down for an interview about this project which he claims to be a cornerstone in his life that has been ten years in the making:


Mutazione Floating Island


Brandon: “Over the past decade or so, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the creation of ‘relaxing’ games, and a lot of them are received pretty well. Why do you think people should be and are attracted to these relaxing games like Mutazione?”

Nils: “I think it has something to do with the fact that people have a lot of work to do during the day, and they often get stressed out from work, and in the evening you probably just want to be passive and just watch a series or something. Or if you play something, sometimes it gets a bit exhausting to play a game that really challenges you a lot skill-wise, so perhaps something that you can play without having to think about, ‘How do I solve this puzzle,’ or ‘How do I get past this enemy,’ or ‘How can I be better at this game or level up,’ or something like that. Sometimes it’s nice to play something that just lets you progress and you can take at your own speed and your own pace, and I think it’s appreciated a lot.”

B: “Die Gute Fabrik creates games that recycle ideas from other games. Where does Mutazione pull its inspiration from?”

N: “It’s definitely older adventure games, as well as just newer influences… [Even games that are] very puzzle-oriented, [they have] a sense of place. It didn’t really help trying to rush it. It really asks you to kind of take it easy, so that’s definitely where a lot of the inspirations are from.”


Mutazione Gameplay


B: “If you were to choose one aspect of the game, what would you say this is a game about? Is this a game about story, characters, artwork, etc?”

N: “The main focus is really hard to define. I would definitely say it’s this narrative experience, like getting to know the characters, the environments, and experiencing the story of this universe. That really includes everything.”

B: “So, is the narrative where you originally started?”

N: “It started all out from this place that I wanted to create. There were different concept drawings. One of them was a girl going through one of the wildernesses, which is actually pretty much the same as it was from the concept sketch. The other one was this mutant village, this community of different characters, and the main character in the middle of it. I love this group photo and this ensemble cast, so those are the two elements there: the environment and the village with this setting.”

B: “This art style is really unique, and something that’s really cool is that everything looks like this flat 2D painting when, all of a sudden, you can find yourself going into and out of it. It’s a really cool visual experience as well as a narrative experience. How did you begin to develop your concepts for which art style you wanted for this game?”

N: “I think that came from my background. I’m educated in a design context. I studied visual communications, and I did a lot of illustration before that. I was always a big fan of 2D animation as well, like 2D graphics and not having to build models, but just being able to draw them and put those things one-by-one into your game.”

B: “It really gives you more of a canvas feel than a world surrounding you.”

N: “Exactly. It gives you more control over your environments as well, it gives you more control over the camera framing, the composition of the picture. Playing a 3D game is still really nice because then the player becomes the narrator of the game. Here I still have more control over that, which I really like being able to control the environment and what the player sees. 2D was always my favorite. I always work with vector graphics, so I sketch stuff in my sketchbook so every character comes originally from the pencil sketch, then I scan those and vectorize it.”

B: “It’s very beautiful. So, last question, when does it come out?!”

N: “It comes out very soon. We don’t have an exact date, but it may come out in September if we’re lucky. ”

B: “Thanks so much, Nils! I’m so excited about this one!”



1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Developer Dialogue: Mutazione Interview @ PAX West 2019"
  1. […] in your chair, let go, and just go with the flow of the experience. Deneken discusses this in the PAX West interview I had with him about the game back in September. However, the monotony can be a bit […]

Leave a Reply


The Persistence Review – Head Space

“Oh set me up with the spirit in the sky, that’s where I’m gunna go when I die.”   Just once I’d like to see a journey through the universe’s…

June 5, 2020, 73
Nookazon Cover Image

Nookazon: The Amazon for Animal Crossing

  As we spend more time quarantined at home, many of us have been trying to perfect our Animal Crossing islands in any way we can. However, some people, including…

June 5, 2020, 106

Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling Review – Float Like A Butterfly

In an industry whose frontline is so reliant on spectacle, it’s tough not to conflate evolution with cynicism. More than any other form of entertainment, AAA game development is relentless…

June 4, 2020, 137
Warborn Variable Armour Command is a Turn Based Tactical game by Raredrop games.

Turn-Based Tactics Game Warborn to release June 12th

Warborn: Variable Armour Command is an upcoming turn-based tactics game featuring super mechanized soldiers, known as variable armour. This title is brought to us by Raredrop Games, an indie game…

June 4, 2020, 84

DOOM Eternal Campaign Review – Quite Messy

“You sound real good and you play the part well, but the energy you givin’ off is so unfamiliar — I don’t feel ya.”   Man alive, 2020 is an…

June 3, 2020, 235
Image taken from Saints Row The Third. Depicts the loading screen.

Saints Row The Third Remastered Review: Feels Like 2011

When the original Saints Row launched in 2006 you would be hard-pressed to name something it excelled at. It wasn’t necessarily a bad game, but it seemed like a pale…

June 3, 2020, 236
Street of Rage 4 Characters

Streets of Rage 4 Review – A History of Violence

If you’re anything like me, you’ll remember swaddling up underneath a Power Rangers blanket while playing the original Streets of Rage with a friend or sibling. The franchise is held…

June 3, 2020, 321

Pesterquest Review: Roll Persuasion

Yeah, yeah, I’m a bit late with this one. Homesquared is already well on its way and all anyone wants to talk about is its questionable character choices and whatever…

June 3, 2020, 305
Infinite - Beyond the mind title screen

Infinite – Beyond The Mind Review – Hack ‘n Sigh

Remember Strider? How about Shinobi or Metal Slug? These are all well-loved games from the side-scrolling action genre which, until the rise of indie gaming, was an exclusive resident of…

May 7, 2020, 325

One Finger Death Punch 2 Review – Carpalo

“Man, I keep that heat up off for who got beef with me.”   This is an odd redemption story, to say the least. Cut to a decade back, and…

April 27, 2020, 316