Games

Feature: The Garden Path’s Solo Dev On Hollow Knight And Final Fantasy Influences

Louis DurrantImage: Louis Durrant

We’re bending the rules a little bit for today’s Nintendo Life Video Game Music Festival interview — this game isn’t actually out yet. Scandal!

But hopefully you’ll forgive us, because The Garden Path — which recently finished its Kickstarter campaign, hitting the stretch goals for Switch release and local multiplayer — is a very interesting one to keep an eye on. The game is being made by a single person: Louis Durrant, who is a UK-based illustrator, game developer, and composer going by the name of “carrotcake”.

To put it another way, Louis Durrant is spinning a bunch of different plates in making The Garden Path, so it’s incredibly impressive that the game looks and sounds this good and isn’t just a pile of smashed plates.

We spoke to Louis about his background, inspirations, and how to juggle so many different jobs at the same time…

The Garden Path

Nintendo Life: What’s it like to juggle development, illustration, and composing? Do you have different rooms/moods you need to be in for each?

Louis Durrant: It’s great fun! I enjoy it because it’s all the same room and all the same mood. Everything works in tandem – you use the music to influence the artwork, and the artwork influences the music.

Where do you take inspiration from when you’re making the music for The Garden Path?

Steve Reich, Julius Eastmann, and Hiroshi Yoshimura are my main references, but influences come from all directions. I went through the soundtracks of Hollow Knight, Final Fantasy XIV, and studied a lot of the instrumentation of Sufjan Steven’s ‘Illinois’ to find the sound I was after.

What’s your composing process like?

When I did more melodic work I would wait until a tune appeared in my head and then write around that.

‘The Garden Path’ is much more layered and rhythmic, so generally I hit random keys on my keyboard until it sounds good. I gamble on the premise that if I think it works, someone else might too.

We love the way the songs have organic sounds in them, like crickets, birds, and streams. Is that based on the character’s location, or is it within the songs themselves?

That’s based on the game’s world, but it’s a key component of the game’s composition. Since the songs are mostly simple, repeating melodies, they mirror those sounds — a bird might have a single song, but repeat it often, and there might be a rhythm to the sound a river makes.

The music is similar, with short melodies appearing and disappearing to invoke that sense of moving through a forest that feels awake.

Can you tell us some of the song titles in the game? How do you come up with the names?

‘A Tree That Looks Like a Man’,

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