There’s something tremendously exciting about new indie games. Removed from triple A gaming’s constraints, the scope might be smaller, but there’s a clear passion and creativity you don’t see elsewhere. Young Soul, Developed by French studio 1P2P, appears to be no exception, combining a 2D co-op brawler with action RPG elements. We'll be playing as two rebellious twins, Jenn and Tristan, fighting to save their foster father, who gets kidnapped under extraordinary circumstances.
I went hands-on with the Young Souls demo before it joined Steam Next Fest, travelling between two different worlds to find Jenn and Tristan’s father and landing back in my own world with positive impressions of the journey. While Young Souls is already available on Google Stadia it's also launching on PC, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One this fall. In preparation for this wider release, I sat down with 1P2P’s co-founders, Baptiste Martin and Jérôme Fait, who were kind enough to tell me more about their ambitious project.
Combat Is Key
Young Souls is 1P2P’s debut project, so I opened the conversation by asking how their studio began. Martin and Fait said they've collaborated for 15 years and initially met through other studios, working together across Hydravision Entertainment and Ankama ever since. 1P2P was formed after they decided to go indie in 2016, and the core team is just Martin and Fait. Once they’d set up the studio, they began testing out new gameplay concepts.
Fait explained Young Souls was born from collective passion. They wanted to put “everything [they] loved” into the studio's first game, something they believed was possible only by going indie. Informing that me when you work for larger companies, you can’t "put everything you’d want into a game", advising of the “frustrations” that causes. As such, the pair tried “mixing everything and see where it goes,” taking inspiration from Dragon Crown's beat ‘em up style, Persona, Night in the Woods, and even TV shows like Trollhunters.
1P2P’s main motivator was creating a great combat system, which eventually raised several other questions, such as accessibility. Young Souls features four difficulty modes and separate modifiers, including auto block, attack speed, and damage dealt. Fait surprised me by confirming accessibility wasn’t always at Young Souls' core, but he knew they couldn’t take a FromSoftware approach to their project.
They realised people play games for their own reasons, and Fait said he wanted to ensure people can “play it as they want.” Knowing that how they prefer it won’t be the same for everyone, they’ve received crucial gameplay feedback from Stadia players too to help facilitate these additions.
Because of this focus on combat, story became secondary to 1P2P’s goals, which made me even more curious to learn where Jenn and Tristan’s story comes from. Fait explained their narrative was actually born from gameplay constraints. The duo wanted to make a co-op game, so they decided to use two characters that were close to each other physically. Making them twins was the natural next step.
1P2P tell me they put extensive thought into their story and relationship and knew they had to do it properly. Martin added how they wanted to ensure these characters had their own background and style - including red hair to make them visually distinctive - making the twins more than just your average player characters.
Both Jenn and Tristan have an identical base build in combat, though they can be customised, letting you equip them with different weapons, armour, and accessories, so the twins evolve in different ways. Martin said that, ultimately, this approach was a main constraint they’d given themselves from the beginning to ensure they wouldn’t complicate matters, while still giving players choice. As for other in-game choices, Martin also said that even though players can pick different dialogue options during gameplay, Young Souls’ story sticks to a linear script.
As for Young Souls’ future, I couldn’t confirm a more specific release date beyond “Fall 2021,” but I asked whether there was a chance it might get native PS5 and Xbox Series X|S editions. Fait confirmed that “everything is not decided yet,” but for now, they’re mainly focused on PS4 and Xbox One. We’ve got a little wait to go before Young Souls’ release, but if you’re curious to know more before then, check out my full impressions.