The release date for the highly anticipated Tim Burton inspired game, Lost in Random, is right around the corner and hype is building up. What began as a small idea about dice quickly grew into an incredibly expansive project that, after nearly four years in development, is finally coming to fruition. Screen Rant‘s preview for Lost in Random joins the chorus of voices praising its unique style, gameplay, and the world that await players.
Lost in Random tells the story of Even, a young girl from the Onecroft district, as she tracks down her sister, Odd. In this world, those who come of age participate in the sacred dice roll, which the Queen oversees, and the result of that roll will determine their future. After Odd rolls a six, the Queen determines that her fate lies in the district of Sixtopia, where the Queen resides, and takes her from her family. Even, spurred by heartbreak and anger, sets out to find her sister with the help of a sentient die named Dicey.
Recently, Zoink CEO/Creative Director Klaus Lyngeled and Creative Director/Lead Writer Olov Redmalm virtually sat down with Screen Rant to talk about Lost in Random. Read on to find out how Lost in Random came to be, its influences, and some of their favorite easter eggs and references.
What sparked the idea for Lost in Random‘s story and how did it evolve during development?
Olov Redmalm: It all started out with Klaus wanting to do something darker while we were still finishing Ghost Giant. We’re a very art-driven studio so we start out with drawings and trying to find an idea through that, and a mood and setting – [which] especially felt fitting and important for this since it was a fairytale, first and foremost. Then Klaus found this drawing of a dice and a girl… and everything just started coming out of there. Like, what’s a world look like that is under the whim of dice and being stuck in a giant board game?
One of the things that first drew me in was the focus on dice and randomness because, I don’t know how it is over with you guys, but Dungeons and Dragons became way more popular in the U.S. during lockdown.
Olov Redmalm: I’m a Dungeons and Dragons player too and I think of my job kind of like dungeon mastering. I ran a few campaigns when I was younger.We even made our own rules sets, me and my friends, and we were like six people enjoying this campaign. And when it was over, after like two years, we were like, it’s really sad that no one else will ever experience this. That’s why I love video games so much, because that way, so many can experience an adventure withdice.
Other than Tim Burton, what are some other inspirations that you feel have had a significant influence on Lost in Random in regards to design and gameplay?
Klaus Lyngeled: We talked about “Over the Garden Wall” [TV series] when we started, just because we really like that each episode has this kind of weird little story to it and we wanted to have each level, each world that you entered, to have its own sort of story or problem – and then of course, an overarching story at the same time. I think that for the [Queen’s] mask, there was a lot of Miyazaki in there too, with like the No Face character from “Spirited Away.”
The painting that inspired us was a painting from Shaun Tan, who did that painting of a girl with dice. He also has these kinds of weird creatures that are not very explained and it’s quite nice that they’re not so explained in the game. I like that because it feels more like a fairytale – like the Grimm fairytales, for example, but also fairytales like HC Anderson. So, I think there’s a lot of inspiration from that.
You have worked with the Eisner Award-winning writer Ryan North on a couple of projects now and I’m curious how he fits in to Zoink’s writing process?
Olov Redmalm: He wrote out basically all the dialogue in the game. We would write the outline for the whole story, so you can actually read the whole game as a book… and so, we kind of tried to envision what could potentially happen step by step. We imagined some way of traversing through each level so that we have these descriptions of characters and their background story… and then Ryan would take that.
Klaus Lyngeled: He’s very comic of course, very funny… but it was interesting to get him to write something that’s a little bit more serious, but also very cool to me. It’s like this really sort of overarching, giant big story which feels very heavy, but then having little funny characters here and there.
Can you talk a little more about how randomness impacts the game?
Olov Redmalm: It is a story about the randomness of life and uncertainty and, you know, “what am I going to get next in life?” You might try to predict the one long roll of the dice after the next to protect yourself from harm, but of course you can’t. You can’t know if you’re going to get a six and then a one after that, you can only take one at a time. That’s kind of the narrative of the combat as well. Like, okay, fine, I got this hand, now I have to play it. I have this higher number, this is what I can do with it. Then just roll with the punches – pun intended.
Klaus Lyngeled: And I can tell you this, like, already we’re [thinking], “should we do a second game or not?” You know, cause we have so many ideas that – just the board games itself is like, there’s so much stuff you can do with that! It’s like opening a Pandora’s box.
I’ve got one last question: are there any Easter eggs or references that either of you are particularly proud of and want players to look out for?
Klaus Lyngeled: There’s a character who has two personalities and two faces, which is something that also happens in “Stick it to the Man,” and it’s the same actor actually. He does both those characters.
Olov Redmalm: If you’re a Shakespeare fan, the Queen makes some uncanny references to Macbeth… because Ryan, he’s a huge fan of that. He actually wrote a choose your own adventure book based on Shakespeare. Oh, I’m also really proud of a character that’s called Korv, which sounds really cool and fantasy, but in Swedish it means hotdog. The Swedes love it.
Lost in Random releases on September 10 for PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.