El Hijo is a spaghetti western, indie stealth game.
The game is set in a mythical place that very much resembles the American west as we know it from Sergio Leone’s westerns, borrowing some of the most popular characteristics such as gangs of outlaws, shady saloons, and desert landscapes, all served up with a good helping of sarcasm and irony.
The journey begins when a farmer and her son El Hijo are attacked by bandits who raze their farm to the ground. The mother, confronted with a difficult choice, decides to leave El Hijo with a group of old monks at a secluded monastery in order to protect him.
However, El Hijo decides that the monastic life is not for him, and he decides to escape.
The player sneaks through three different environments:
- a remote monastery
- a harsh and unforgiving stretch of desert,
- and a frontier town rife with crime and villainy.
In every environment El Hijo must contend with different opponents that will require the player to come up with a mischievous master plan to progress through the game by combining stealth and puzzle-solving.
The further El Hijo proceeds through the game the more complex the combinations get.
Stadia GamesDB! (STDB): First of all can you tell us something about Honig Studios?
Honig Studios (HS): Honig Studios is a digital production studio based in Berlin consisting of developers, designers, strategists, and digital producers working together to create innovative interactive experiences and intellectual properties.
STDB: Now to all the people doubting about buying El Hijo. What will they find in the game?
HS: El Hijo is a non-violent stealth game, in which you guide a 6 year old boy on his quest to find his mother. As you proceed through the game, El Hijo will evolve to become more skilled - first he only hides in shadows and hideouts or pushes objects around - later the character will become more daring, throwing stones or using his slingshot to distract opponents. There is also a variety of toys that can be collected to make your way through the environment like an exploding cactus flower - blinding the opponent within a smoke cloud or using a windup toy that will divert the patrol of your enemies to let you sneak through an increasingly hostile environment.
STDB: From where you take inspiration for this game?
HS: The game was inspired by the film El Topo by Alejandro Jodorowsky… we were inspired by the strong visual language of the film. We wanted to try to translate this visual language into the game. Therefore, we opted to not have any verbal dialogue and mainly use visual storytelling by creating a sense of story through settings, characters, animations, environment, development in gameplay, music, and so on.
STDB: I read that El Hijo is splitted in 3 chapters. Are these chapters the only ones or are you planning to expand the users experience with new ones?
HS: There are three basic environments El Hijo will have to pass on his quest. The Monastery, The Desert and The Town. Some of them are even split into more locations, like mines and bandit camps. For El Hijo that's mainly it, however the story universe of El Hijo was conceived in a way that is easily expandable giving more insights on characters and story, allowing different twists. We still have a lot of ideas and who knows what will happen in the future ;-)
STDB: How comes the decision to bring the game to Stadia?
HS: We were very fortunate that our publisher HandyGames wanted to help us spreading El Hijo among as many players as possible, so this was one of the opportunities that came up.
STDB: How many time has been El Hijo on development? And when started the development for Stadia?
HS: El Hijo has been in development for more or less 4 years .. we were experimenting a lot at first, trying to find the right tools. However, we started developing El Hijo with the idea for mobile and PC, always trying to not restrict ourselves, while keeping the bigger picture in mind- we wanted to leave as many doors open as possible – and soon we started to include consoles. The development for Stadia started relatively late during development but still in time for sure.
STDB: With the COVID-19 lockdown everywhere, Stadia with his cloud environment helped in some way to continue the El Hijo development?
HS: By the time we started with the Stadia development we were already in the Covid- 19 lockdown and had a fixed workflow. However, we think that a shareable cloud environment for Stadia, could have been quite beneficial in the production at an earlier stage.
STDB: Will see more games from Honig Studios in the Stadia platform?
HS: Stadia is definitely a very interesting platform with a lot of great games - as we are trying to make games accessible to everyone we would be very happy if we could offer our future games on Stadia.
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