Welcome, I’m Jeffrey Yohalem, the writer of the new fairy tale RPG Child of Light and I'm here to answer your questions. Ask away!


Proof: https://twitter.com/jeffreyyohalem/status/463440951336136705

Thank you for all your questions! I am on twitter at @jeffreyyohalem if you have any other questions. Have a great evening, and if you're interested in a little more about the making of Child of Light: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1aT-fsytVg&feature=share&list=PLBnrd5k2F2IPi3Ddll0lWJBDouqGEYl2U&index=8

Comments: 132 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

flowerflowerflowers23 karma

YES! I got in early!

I bought it a few days ago and have only stopped to go to work, and sleep. I'm an artist/animator so forgive me if my questions/comments are mostly art-based, I haven't finished the game yet so I can't ask about story spoilers! Anyway- seeing 3D animation integrated into the painting-like world of Child of Light is as fun as playing the actual game. It's so hugely absorbing. It really is like living a massive children's book.

I read that some of the artists looked to John Bauer, famed artist of the Princess Tuvstarr fairytale, and inspiration to people like Brian Froud and the likes who worked on epic fantasy tales with huge amounts of lore and concept behind them like The Labyrinth or the Dark Crystal, and especially this image right here and I recognized it immediately. Seeing Bauer artwork come to life is something I've always wanted. I didn't get a chance to get an art-of book and it absolutely kills me because I usually buy those for all my favourite games :( is there a hope for more coverage of concept art, and the thought process behind all that? I'm hugely interested in learning more about it.

I rarely play RPGs but the system of strategy involved with this one, the timer meter, the oculi crystals, and using Iggy(I can't spell his name, forgive me) at the same time makes juggling all these together a ton of fun and extremely satisfying as you play. It's such a great time and I seek out battles just to enjoy it. I can't say that about any other RPG I've ever played.

Anyway, aside from all the bum-patting comments, I gotta ask- something this grandiose and such an amazing success can't just be a one-time thing. Please tell me you plan maybe not a sequel but more games along this vein of pure artisan adventure, the type we just so rarely see outside of indie game studios? Has Ubisoft learned from this game that there's a market for things like this and maybe will go forward from here with it? Honestly... I just want more and I'm not even done yet!

Kudos to the writers, the silly yet poignant poems are totally enjoyable. If there's anything I want from this game, it's more story and more cutscenes because it's just so pretty, and I would love for your team to, going forward, make more things like this!!

UbiJeffrey23 karma

SOOO glad you liked it! There was a piece in the telegraph about the concept art (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/Picture-galleries/10788473/The-Art-of-Child-of-Light.html) We hope to do another art book at some point.

And we definitely want to continue the journey through Lemuria. Child of Light is only the tip of the iceberg.

Crowbar0939513 karma

Hello, I am the writer of "Child of Light Saved Me From Depression and Suicide". I believe the piece was passed around the Ubisoft offices, Patrick Plourde shared it around a bit.

Since you are the writer for the game I wanted to extend my sincerest gratitude and appreciation for writing such a wonderful story. I really connected with it like no other story before it.

I would like to know where you got your inspiration? I would also like to ask if you collaborated with an artist to convey what you thought the characters should look like or if the character designs were already done?

UbiJeffrey28 karma

I tweeted to you about that piece! It really moved me. So incredibly grateful that the game was able to help in some small way. I was a loner as a kid, always reading in a corner, and was teased for being gay, so I jumped into books. I just read all the time, often stories about kids who escaped from our world into a new, magical place, like A Wrinkle in Time, the Oz books, Narnia. Then I discovered video games, which were an even more powerful escape. Games like Syberia, The Longest Journey, Myst. Child of Light was my chance to write something similar, but also to acknowledge the realities of our world, which is not perfect, and is very hard to live in sometimes, even though it can also be very beautiful.

I described the characters in words and then worked with a very talented artist named Serge Meirinho to bring them to life. He created moods for each based on my instructions and then I used scripting to call the right mood for each line.

Crowbar093953 karma

Thank you so much for doing this AMA and thank you for responding to me and giving great answers to my questions. I hope you write for more games in the future, because you have already made such a massive impression.

UbiJeffrey8 karma

Thank you, I look forward to creating many more great things for you!

scotttykoski12 karma

How often did you have to deflect suggestions from higher-ups to retain purity of vision?

ps. WONDERFUL game...been playing it with my 3yr old daughter. It's been an absolute delight :)

UbiJeffrey14 karma

Thank you! So glad you like it. I actually never had to deflect anything. Ubisoft believed in our vision of a game created directly by the dev team and stuck to it. I was really surprised actually, I expected some interference. The same was true for the rest of the dev team.

RedxxLeader11 karma

Will their be a sequel to Child of Light? It was to awesome so...

UbiJeffrey13 karma

Hope so!

Trainer-Grey10 karma

Heard of the game, looks very interesting! Not the biggest RPG fan, but might look into the game! Now for the question, and as a lover of music in video games. What is the process like for trying to find/make music that fits the the gameplay/story?

UbiJeffrey11 karma

We usually work with external composers, as we did with Coeur de Pirate on Child of Light. When we began the project we pitched the story to her and described the game. She jumped on board, then we divided the game into zones or levels and requested a piece of music for each. Concept art was provided as well as a description of the feel. In AAA games, videos of cutscenes or specific emotional moments in-progress are provided for sequences requiring unique orchestral moments, but we didn't do that with Child of Light, since we are a smaller, more intimate game.

swagtopuss8 karma

First im a huge fan, preorderd the game, got the deluxe edition. Then bought it again on steam, because I prefer it over uplay. i've already spent 36 hours in game and have been loving every moment of it.

How do you feel that people have already started making pornography of the characters ?

UbiJeffrey43 karma


joajan7 karma

If you had unlimited money and unlimited amount of employees, what would be the game you would want to make? Genre, characters, environment etc. Love you work!

UbiJeffrey7 karma

You'll have to wait and see! ;)

bradhatestheinternet7 karma

Yo, I love the game. Beat it a couple days ago. You did a great job.

However, I have one gripe with the story that I'd like your input on. Long-ish post ahead, spoilers for anyone who hasn't played it.

Right before the plot-twist regarding Norah, you can acquire Tristis (if you go left while you have Rubella instead of up.)

When I acquired Tristis, I checked his skills. Seeing his skills and knowing how RPGs generally work, the plot twist was revealed earlier than you probably intended. Otherwise, I would've been caught totally off-guard.

Was it your intention for players to catch on to Norah's eventual betrayal by introducing a similar character gameplay-wise, if not, what caused this?

UbiJeffrey10 karma

I LOVE that you discovered this. It's just like naming a character Umbra, which means darkness. If you know the meaning you have a clue to the plot in advance. This technique is used often in film, but we used it in gameplay.

bjanos7 karma

How did you get into writing video game stories? I mean it isn't a very everyday thing people just do right?

UbiJeffrey9 karma

I played Prince of Persia, the original side-scroller, in a Radioshack when I was seven and I fell in love. At that point, I structured my whole life to eventually make games. Every time I had a creative writing assignment in school I wrote a game script and I col-called Jordan Mechner, who made PoP, in high school to get recommendations for which college to go to and courses to take.

loomer9792 karma

Do you think you would like to write for the Prince of Persia franchise in the future?

UbiJeffrey7 karma

OMG yes. BUT I'd want to work on the LD and stuff like the upside-down potion. PoP is one of the great narratives told through game design and level design, as is Jordan's later game The Last Express.

JTB2014MCK6 karma

Thoughts on Microtransactions for indie games?

UbiJeffrey15 karma

Hate them. It's like paying to see each painting in an art gallery. Money and art should always be kept separate.

But if they exist on the side, in a separate space and have to do with customization rather than being required in the main experience I am not as opposed.

memorabletroymcclure6 karma

I've sunk so many hours into this game already.

I'm wondering if we can look forward to a sequel of some sort? If not a sequel, even just something set in the same world?

What was the idea behind the confessions?


Can we look forward to more games using the same engine?

UbiJeffrey9 karma

The Confessions link to your first question ;) Nine of them are perfect sonnets, the rest...

Enginewise, we'll see.

I_am_a_white_guy_AMA6 karma

I just want to say that the soundtrack was incredible. I've been addicted to it, specifically Aurora's Theme. You guys did an amazing job and I hope there's a sequel!

UbiJeffrey4 karma

Me too and thanks!

scotttykoski5 karma

Oh, and knowing what you know now, and with reviewers having their say, do you guys stand by the 'everything rhymes' rule?

I've seen feedback range from 'love it' to 'it detracts from the experience'.

I found it to be a breath of fresh air, much like the rest of the game, but I'd love to hear from you on the matter :)

UbiJeffrey18 karma

Definitely stand by it. If the game had been written in Victorian English, to match Aurora's time period, it wouldn't have felt as original and hand-crafted. We wanted to make a playable poem.

Since the rhyme scheme is Ballad Form, which is ABCB, with the second line rhyming with the fourth line, and a variable iambic syllable count per line, it doesn't feel sing-songy. The occasional couplets added for emphasis, which are standard in Ballad Form, are the major tip-off that it rhymes.

We weren't trying to make something that everyone would love, we wanted to make a game that was original and expressive.

Friedso4 karma

What do you think is the most overlooked aspect of storytelling in games? And how can we, the players, help to change it?

UbiJeffrey8 karma

Subtle emotion. Because most games feature loud, fiery, extreme mechanics, these drown out the possibility of conveying a wider spectrum of emotion. It's like the mechanics are B-Movie, which means that an A plot still comes off as silly and B because of the mechanics. Encouraging subtler narrative games like Braid, Save the Date, Device 6, Year Walk, Stanley Parable, Journey and Kentucky Route Zero broaden our language of gameplay and deliver more complex emotions that are truer to life.

Friedso4 karma

Thanks for answering, Jeffrey. Can I ask something else?

Should plot mold the gameplay or vice-versa? Or do you think the two should not be so directly related?

UbiJeffrey9 karma

My pleasure!

Story should mold everything if you are creating an experience rather than a game.

Plot is different than story, however. Game design and plot, along with Art Direction, music, writing and level design make up story.

BassStriker4 karma

Hey Jeffrey, first, thank you for doing this AMA. My question: What was the biggest challenge in writing Child of Light, when compared to your previous Ubisoft work (AC: Brotherhood, AC2, Farcry 3)?

UbiJeffrey6 karma

Creating a world from scratch, rhyming and living up to your expectations! We wanted to make something new with Child of Light, and the game is just the tip of the iceberg. Lemuria has a rich history and many mysteries in its past. those had to be developed before I could write the script, and it took some time. The rhyming added a whole coat of paint that had to be applied after figuring out the conflict in each scene and crafting character arcs. I wanted to use relatively simple words, not to create an inaccessible poem (the Confessions are sonnets and feature less accessible language). I really hope you like the game!

virtual_six4 karma

My boyfriend and I are SO excited to play this game! It looks stunning. I have seen positive and negative feedback regarding the iambic pentameter. Personally, I am greatly looking forward to this element, as it really plays in to the fairy tale feeling. What led you to making the decision of going with the writing style?

UbiJeffrey10 karma

Hey! Happy you're excited. Check out my answer above. Also, it isn't iambic pentameter, in Ballad Form the syllable count is variable, but the rhythm is in iambs (stressed, unstressed), check out http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173253 for an example of Ballad Form.

Noctyk3 karma

I've just completed this game, the artwork and feel of the game are amazing! Care to tell me some of the inspiration in the making for it?

UbiJeffrey6 karma

Very excited that you liked it! We were inspired by the work of John Bauer, Arthur Rackham and other artists from the Golden Age of Illustration, the battle arena was inspired by opera sets and the story from Syberia and the Oz books, A Wrinkle in Time, Matilda and others.

turtlemiller3 karma

how did you get coeur de pirate to do the soundtrack? it sounds so awesome, so unique! :)

UbiJeffrey9 karma

We wanted to create a game that was locally made. So we wanted to find a local artist to create the soundtrack for the game. We found her nostalgic and poetic style a great match for the game. When we pitched the game to her she loved the project and was enthusiastic to work with us.

Quintilian7512 karma

Hey Jeff, question for you about the team on Child of Light. I'm also a game writer (shameless plug for Consortium here, which I was a writer on), and I'd be interested to know how you guys structured the development. I know some teams tend to have writers on the external, responding to the demands of the programmers and Creative Director, while other teams have writers working side by side with the other devs.

How was it with Child of Light? What do you personally feel is the better way to do it?

Thanks for doing this AMA! I am quite a big fan of the game.

UbiJeffrey3 karma

Hi! Glad you like the game! The creative director and I were the first members of the team and created the world together. That is how I've always worked. At first it was due to my design background, I was a designer on Assassin's Creed II, so was in the small group of creatives who made the game from the outset. But now I would never make/write a game without being there for the entire process. Especially on Child of Light, we are telling a story through gameplay, writing is just a piece. You could eliminate the writing in CoL and the story still makes sense. That is essential, IMO, to the DNA of a game, which is told through action.

On Child of Light, and AC and FC3, the coherence of the story was given high-priority and I interfaced with every part of the production to make sure any element added fit.

chumpybumpy2 karma

Hi! Child of Light had me hooked since the announcement trailer due to the rhyming voice over, aesthetic, and music. I'm loving the game so far and can't say enough good things about it! I was wondering if there's any plans for any sort of merchandise such as posters and things. I know Japan and the UK had special editions of the game, but the US didn't get one. Any reasoning for that?

Thanks for the amazing game!

UbiJeffrey5 karma

You're welcome! We will see in terms of merchandise. We were only focused on making the game until now.

Stagione2 karma

First of all, thank you for this lovely piece of gem. I was in love with it from beginning to end.

What was your target audience for this game, and did you expect the kind of backlash that it received (regarding distribution via UPlay and DLCs)?

UbiJeffrey5 karma

You're welcome! We didn't have a target audience, in the sense that we were making something that we strongly felt. We wanted to speak to everyone.

UPlay is a part of the company, so that's the kind of thing we have no say over as a development team.

In terms of the DLC, we wanted to offer a variety of items to support playthroughs. None of it is at all required and except for the Golem's Plight, not story-based. The amount of choice was supposed to be a positive, giving potential buyers the freedom to choose.

mandlyss2 karma

Hi! I want to know if you plan to make new games based in fairy tales, with the same atmosphere of Child Of Light.

I played the game non stop and I already finished it. I need to tell you: the art is amazing, the songs are beautiful, and the story is so fascinating! You did a great job! I love fairy tales and I was totally amazed with the game =)

UbiJeffrey5 karma

I would love to!

GalacticSushi2 karma

Hey Jeff, JRPG Top 5?

UbiJeffrey9 karma

Chronotrigger FF VI Grandia II FF VII Child of Light

Takaru14542 karma


UbiJeffrey5 karma


Gyrobius2 karma

What's your favorite shoegaze band?

UbiJeffrey5 karma

I feel like this is kind of cliche, but especially after 500 Days of Summer, the Smiths.

void-byte1 karma

I can safely say this game delivers on so many levels!

The best compliment I can think of is that this game gives me the chill and awe of the 90s JRPGs!

I love every bit of the game.

UbiJeffrey4 karma

Thank you so much. We’re all big fans of 90s JRPGs so we’re happy that you feel that way.

MrBanana62611 karma

I don't really know anything about the game, but I've been hearing good things. Can you tell me, as someone unfamiliar with how the game plays or what makes it unique, why I should give it a try? Would love to hear "a pitch" from someone as involved as you!

UbiJeffrey5 karma

Child of Light is an experience not based around adrenaline like many other games, but one that transports you to another world. Step into a painting, and live a dream hand-made for you that doesn't sacrifice good gameplay for art.

You can also play the seamless drop-in drop-out co-op with a friend or family member. This is a game about warmth, not stress.

a0p11 karma

Hi Jeff! Absolutely love the game! Not completed it yet, but from what I understand from reviews, the story in the is pretty much wrapped up at the end. However: the artstyle, flow of the game, setting etc, is such a delight and really a breath of fresh air! Any chance we'll see a sequel, or another game set in Lemuria? :-)

UbiJeffrey3 karma

We'll see!

Disamistade1 karma


Could you enlighten us on the story of Sophie Ashton Ellis? I'm talking about the last "Confessions", in which a girl of our time (she speak of the internet) travel to Lemuria to find her friend/colleague. The last Confession in particular left Sophie's destiny untold...

Second question: don't you feel that the last part of the game (i'm talking about the defeat of Nox which is followed right away by the final boss) is a little rushed? Was there some content (the Island on the map maybe?) that was cut from the final game?

UbiJeffrey3 karma

Sophie is a puzzle for you to solve, I won't weigh in yet ;)

As for the end, we originally had a final level in the sky leading to Umbra after destroying Nox, but it was purely gameplay, not story-based.

Disamistade1 karma

Thanks for the answer!

If it's a puzzle the question is: have we got all the pieces? ;) Because that story seems pretty different from the "fairy tale tone" of the game, and I can't find any links (apart from the mentioning of the Queen of Light) with the actual story...i'm a bad detective! XD

It's a shame for the missed gameplay in the sky...hoping for a DLC!

UbiJeffrey4 karma

You are right, there are a couple of pieces missing. Stay tuned!

thoxenzor1 karma

Hi, the rhyme dialogue somehow catch a lot of my attention, would best if there are voice over, I think I might laugh since there are a lot of jokes at the beginning (when recruit new characters), love the art, like the game so far but felt that the story/gameplay is too short.

Contain spoiler below here~

After Aurora defeat her 2nd sister, we straight jump to the last boss. the way that aurora revive/comeback seem lack a bit more story behind it.

Suddenly, the ending end too fast in a sense.

Just wondering, will some extra gameplay be added in later on?

UbiJeffrey3 karma

No extra will be added on, sorry! See my answer above.

thecure131 karma

This is one of the first RPGs I've beaten in a while and I must say, it was a truly amazing experience. The story is just superb. Awesome job on the story! How hard is it to find the right music for a story like the one you wrote? This you have any personal say in what music was to be in the final game?

UbiJeffrey4 karma

Touched that you enjoyed the experience so much! Music is incredibly important to any game or narrative, even more so than dialogue, IMO. Child of Light especially is a soundscape, where the music, dialogue, animation and art create a strong mood that tells the story. In terms of choosing the music, it's more like the music chooses you. The composer wrote tracks to express the feeling of the art and story.

chagged1 karma

Hi, i buy game 2 days ago and from that day i played 22h, wooo fantastic RPG, adventure, puzzle game, is amazing. congrant

Ubi guys, why the coop option is only for local and no Online coops??

UbiJeffrey5 karma

Because we wanted friends and families to play together.

preparetogame1 karma

Great game, one of the magical moments in my 35 years of gaming. I havent read all posts, dlc and more games like this one coming our way?

UbiJeffrey3 karma

I hope so!

Dargore1 karma

I loved the game (although I played little due university). First I would like to congratulate, you nailed it. The soundtrack, the artwork, the atmosphere, everything mix completly. Secondly, I would like to ask: Do you plan to release more games like this? I would love to have them, since I love art and I love how art can me mixed in daily stuff, as you did (not so daily, but uh, it's good to take a break playing such artistic game). (I haven't beat the game yet to know if it opens a continue to another game!)

UbiJeffrey3 karma

I definitely plan to continue working on artistic games. Games are a passion for me and I love exploring the minds and worlds of their creators and hope to continue to share.

MrVekay1 karma

Loving it so far! Epic game!

UbiJeffrey4 karma

Thank you!

akirartist1 karma

What was it that gave you the idea to write Child of Light?

UbiJeffrey5 karma

I grew up living in books about young kids falling into lost worlds. So this was my chance to create a story like that.

akirartist1 karma

That's awesome, any book in particular that inspired you the most?

UbiJeffrey4 karma

Narnia, the Oz books, A Wrinkle in Time, Alice in Wonderland, the Neverending Story.

Xectum1 karma

I dont even know :O

UbiJeffrey4 karma


Helmaroc-King1 karma

Just discovered this game! It looks like Child of Light seems to have a more Indie-like feel, as if some elements of Limbo and the original Final Fantasy games have been smashed together. Were you going for that Indie feel? Also, any word to those who want to make games? Thanks for doing this AMA

UbiJeffrey7 karma

We wanted the game to feel like a breath of fresh air. To create something trying to express something meaningful to us.

If you want to make a game, definitely go for it! Seek out creatives in the industry, everyone is very accessible, and hone your skills.

boymac451 karma

I just got this a couple days ago and haven't put it down. I love the art the music and the gameplay. No question but I hope we see more like this in the future. Great job!

UbiJeffrey3 karma

Thank you for your kind words. We loved making the game as well.