It took 20 years for Children of the Sun to become an overnight success

Children of the sun He now appeared on the stage like a mouthful in a dark night. Publisher Devolver Digital released the game’s first trailer on February 1st, showcasing furious sniper shooting and a radioactive art style. A Steam demo highlighting the first seven stages went live the same day and was a hit at the Steam Next Fest in February. Two months later fully and widely appreciated. This explosive reveal and fast release timeline reflects the game itself – chaotic yet content, fast and direct, crisp and bright.

Even if it feels like it Children of the sun appeared in two months, it took solo developer René Rother more than 20 years to get here.

Children of the sunChildren of the sun

Rene Rother

As a kid in Berlin in the early 2000s, Rother was fascinated by the burgeoning mod community. He spent his free time walking around Counter-attack Mapping tools and Earthquake III mods from demo discs stuck in his PC magazines. Rother dreamed about having a job in game development, but it never felt like an attainable goal.

“Playing just didn’t seem possible,” he told Engadget. “It was like it was a giant black box.”

Rother didn’t see an easy entry point until the 2010s, when networked libraries and tools like GameMaker and Unity became more accessible. He discovered his passion for creating 3D interactive art. But aside from some free online Javascript courses, he didn’t know how to program anything, so his access was limited.

“I got busy for a bit, but then I got kicked out. Again,” Rother said. “It’s like the whole barrier to entry was too big.”

René Rother, René Rother,

Rene Rother

Rother majored in graphic design at university, and he found his first two years successful by focusing on classical art training. By the end of his schooling, classes included practical applications such as working with clients, and Rother’s vision of a career in graphic design became a reality.

“There was a moment where I felt like it wasn’t for me,” Rother said.

Between classes was Rother still making games for himself and for jams like Ludum Dare, he’s steadily growing his skill set and solidifying his reputation in these spaces as a master of mood.

“Atmospheric pieces, walking simulators,” Rother said, recalling his early projects. “It was very interesting for me to explore the atmosphere. But I never thought it could be turned into a game. “I never thought it would actually become something that could be sold as a product.”

Children of the sunChildren of the sun

Rene Rother

In the late 2010s, Rother decided he was officially done with graphic design and was ready to try a job in game development. He applied to a bunch of studios and in the meantime took odd jobs at a supermarket and built electronics. Eventually, he landed a gig as a 3D artist at a small studio in Berlin. Meanwhile, his game jam projects and unfinished prototypes continued to grow.

“During that time Children of the sun happened,” Rother said.

In Children of the sun, players Girl is a woman who escaped from the cult that raised her and is now wreaking sniper-based revenge on all of her cells, one bullet at a time. In each round, players line up their shots and then control a shot that is shot through the individual cult members. The challenge is to find the fastest, most efficient and most elegant way to die, and earn a place at the top of the leaderboard.

“It was a random prototype that I started working on,” Rother said. “And one Saturday morning I was thinking, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.'” Rother, full of atmospheric prototype and nervousness, emailed Devolver Digital the same day about a potential release. Children of the sun.

“The response was basically, ‘The pitch was bad, but the game looks cool,'” Rother said. “And then something happened.”

Children of the sunChildren of the sun

Rene Rother

Visually, Children of the sun it’s dazzling. It features a sketchy 3D art style covered in purple tones with dark wood lines, glowing yellow enemies, and texture layers. Every scene looks like the girl is just on an adrenaline rush and her senses are on high alert, giving the whole experience a sense of hyper-vigilance. This is a game built on instinct.

“I didn’t make any mood boards,” Rother said. “I did not prepare [for] he It’s just, oh, let’s make it this color. Ah, let’s do it in this color… It’s something that can be lost very easily. I spent a lot of time adjusting the color of the grass so that it works well with otherwise purple tones and things like that. I spent a lot of time on colors.”

Children of the sun The game went through multiple visual iterations, where Rother played with contrast, depth, fog density, and traditional FPS color palettes before landing in its dreamy and neon-drenched final form. A remnant of that trial and error is still visible below Children of the sun‘s frames, and that’s exactly how Rother likes it.

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