Shiro is a game for Android and iOS phones + tablets soon to be released.
With SHIRO your smartphone becomes a Japanese lacquer box full of stories and enigmas: You reconcile past and present with empress Gemmei, travel through dark forests to invite spirits to the shrine of old Yoshida, and climb Mount Inari in southern Kyoto with an outcasted fox. SHIRO means white, or emptiness, and is thereby waiting to be filled by you and your ability to connect the loose strings of divination. By solving puzzles, you will intuitively hear and learn words of Japanese language, or as a native speaker of Japanese, words in English, so our hope is you’ll be able to connect to a culture yet unknown to you.
Shiro is inspired by Japanese craftmenship, especially the art of making lacquerware
as our modern smartphones somehow resemble shikki in their glossiness and high resolution.
Connecting the pre-modern world with the digital and learning from both is part of our approach. To create designs and narratives, we visited the places essential to the stories we imagined Shiros puzzles to tell, made sketches and photographs and by that let our hands and eyes get to know patterns of living and designing.
We rebuilt the traditional materiality of lacquerware by researching the manual techniques used to create lacquerware and by designing colours, light, and textures on screen.
Researching about historical ways of storytelling was not only a task of reading, but also of traveling and of thereby visiting shrines, forests, cities and museums in Japan, of seeing works of arts, craftsmanship and architecture and of getting in touch with all kinds of people. In 2016 July, we had the chance to exhibit a prototype of SHIRO at BitSummit, an Indie Game Festival based in Kyoto, and traveled through many places of interest to us in Japan afterwards. We've written an article about our experiences which you can read here.
Next steps for us are playtests and improvements in design and functionality. Also a trailer is in development.
You can stay updated about our workflow, progress and news by visiting our Blog from time to time or by following us on Twitter, where we post on a regular basis.
We're always happy about feedback!