VanArts News Article

Game Art & Design Graduates Launch “Descend” on Kickstarter

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A Passion Project Started at VanArts

One of the best things about pursuing education in something you are passionate about is the people you meet along the way. Relationships started in school grow into personal and professional partnerships that will last a lifetime, and we see this time and again with our students at VanArts.

We are very excited about the latest partnership that has grown out of our Game Art & Design program. Five students from our Spring 2019 graduating class have banded together to form their own studio and launch a video game they started during their studies: Sanjana Bhave (from India), Shashank Subramaniam (also from India), Lorna Phillips (from Vancouver), and Stefan Bloedorn & Thelonius Bashford (both from Alberta, Canada).

In their third term of study, these five contributed to a group project with their entire class, a fully-fledged game level called Souls of Torrine. Through this process, they got to develop their skills, bond as a team, and figure out which elements of production they were most attracted to. Fueled also by a love for D&D, RPGs, and the art of classic console games in general, the spark for Twinspell Studio was ignited, and the five began developing their own game half-way through their final term of study. Thus was born DESCEND, a third-person puzzle game set in a marvelous fantasy-adventure world. Within 6 weeks, these students produced a fully playable level!

Another great feature of the project is the participation of Donovan Seidle, auxiliary concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Donovan has given his time and talent to compose original music for the game and bring it to life that much more.

Taking It to the Next Level

Around the time of graduation, the Twinspell team received great feedback on their project through classroom industry visits and at our Industry Night, by artists from studios such as Electronic Arts, Archiact and Blackbird Interactive. The buzz around the game has been exciting, and has given them further inspiration to carry forward with their passion project. They have now launched it on Kickstarter with a goal of $50,000 to make it happen, loaded with great rewards and perks for all who participate.

In addition to great games of the past and the storytelling structure of role-playing, the Twinspell team has also cited nature as a great inspiration for their work. Taking in the scenic beauty of Vancouver and other places they’ve experienced has injected a unique quality into the environments and the world they have created for the game. This inspiration, combined with their own artistic talents and hard work, plays a huge part in producing DESCEND’s unique look and feel.

The future looks bright for these young talented artists, and VanArts is incredibly proud of them. Here are a few images and highlights from the game itself, but there is MUCH MORE on their official Kickstarter page, so go over to check it out, soak it in, and lend your support!

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