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The “endless runner” genre of games seems inherently stress-generating to me, since it implies running, without end. But Alto’s Adventure, the 2015 game from Toronto developer Snowman, provided an endless runner that was actively and profoundly relaxing, thanks to a mellow, immersive soundtrack and graphics that seem drawn from some kind of new-age zen meditation video. Getting Alto, the titular character, to the bottom of the mountain while scooping up his lost llamas along the way actually isn’t about getting to the bottom, but just about what it’s like to love the trip down.
Three years later (almost to the day) Alto is back with his next journey, Alto’s Odyssey, out February 22 on iOS and Apple TV (you can pre-order now to have it ready to play as soon as it goes live). It’s an iOS-first launch, since Snowman’s team tells me Apple’s hardware is the best showcase for their work, but it’ll come to Android, too, eventually. The new game, which Snowman has been teasing for a while now (the first teaser trailer dropped last February), but building something that’s a successor to the Alto franchise while not being a straight sequel is a challenge that took time, and great care, according to Snowman’s founders Ryan Cash and Jordan Rosenberg.
Game - Producer - Ely - Cymet - Heart
The game’s producer Ely Cymet also took to heart the responsibility of building on the success of the original, while still avoiding the pitfall of delivering a rote sequel, and making sure that Alto’s world still felt like Alto’s world. In an interview, he explained that this responsibility and the decision to make sure Alto’s Odyssey struck the right balance is what stretched out the game’s development timeline – and why the new game feels distinctly different from the first one, while at the same time also feeling reassuringly familiar.
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