Most common questions regarding any art is “why this style, why did you do this”, well I will try to explain why I did what I did with graphics and style in “The Bottom of the Well”.
First of all we have a story where our main character Alice, whose name is actually not “Alice” in real life, but her nickname in a chatroom that she uses along with her fellow nerd-friends who are big fans of “Alice in Wonderland”. However we have the vibe of the other reality or dimension which our protagonist enters through a dream, just like in the story she adores. In order to make visual language set for the given narrative, I had lots of temptations to go into whole book-illustration-world that is commonly used for the representations of “Alice in Wonderland”, but then there was a twist of the post-apocalypse. No matter how much I personally love painting details and making all super-clustered with symbolism, Petter and I decided to go in a completely opposite direction. I have created the most simplified scenes using three tones: white, black and red. By reducing the colour scheme, I had to make clear difference between representing “real” world where she speaks about her dream, and the “dream” world which is filled with drama (and mostly dying, since whatever you do you end up dead, at least I am the most pathetic player of this game, dead in each attempt…). Petter had his mind set of how inventory and UI elements should be placed and designed, we had quite much argues there since I am still not happy with it AT ALL but again, it is his design so I just followed what he wished to have in the gameplay.
The inventory is designed to function as her personal diary, handwriting own notes about what skills she needs/has and stats that go with it. This way it was “friendly” for the players to have clear idea of what can be done with customizing the character.
The game has no animations what so ever! Petter wanted it simple and clean so the focus will be on the story and choices, and I fully agreed. There are no interruptions with any visual representations of the characters that she interacts with, except for the friend and listener of her story. The progression is followed by the variety of scenes that are given according to the choices made.
Overall, the simplistic 3-colour-pallete style fit really well with the gameplay and also it is rather different from the usual representations of the “Alice in Wonderland” theme. I have to admit, the post-apocalypse and the notion of the collapsed world gave me this thrill to skip all the colours and focus on the dramatic contrasts in shapes.