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Move over Pentiment, this gorgeous medieval platformer has fully embroidered animations

Scarlet Deer Inn's hand-stitched villagers run around painted backgrounds

An embroidered animation of a girl running in Scarlet Deer Inn
Image credit: Attu Games

Social media surfers may have already caught a glimpse of side-scroller Scarlet Deer Inn, which recently went viral over the weekend for its fully embroidered animations. Yep, embroidered as in using needles, thread, and fabric to stitch together every animation in real life, from the protagonist's big jump to a sheep’s wagging tail. This stitching is then scanned into the game by developers Attu Games, creating a uniquely beautiful platformer with a slightly physical touch.

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Scarlet Deer Inn follows mother of two Elise, who’s not someone to have “heroic epics written about her.” Elise spends her days tending to the titular inn and running around gorgeous painterly environments that the developers say are inspired by medieval Europe, Slavic folklore and Studio Ghibli films. Things get less breezy when an “unexpected incident” forces her to explore underground caves full of giant monsters. Her only form of protection? A torch and some floaty platforming skills.

This short clip posted on the developer's Twitter account shows off the unique creation process, as the physical embroidery is digitally touched up with shadows and outlines, and then scanned into the games’ airy scenes. On top of that threadwork, wife and husband duo Attu Games are doing almost everything else from publishing and writing, to painting and programming. Even the windswept soundtrack is performed by them using traditional instruments.

The blend of paint and embroidery compliments the folkloric setting very nicely. It almost reminds me of how well Pentiment’s scribbling manuscript artwork accompanied its medieval setting, although the effect seems a lot more whimsical in this case.

On Twitter, one of the developers Eva Navratilova admitted that “it could easily be done with some shaders or simply painted in PS.” Why go through the effort of threading, scanning, and animating then? “It’s the main reason we make games,” Navratilova explained, “to have fun trying different stuff.” Embroidery is a pretty relaxing pastime anyway, so why not make a game while you're at it? (Aside from the headache of actually, y'know, making a game.)

Attu Games have previously released one other game on Steam: the similarly hand-drawn medieval adventure Feudal Alloy, an action adventure that sees you control a sword-swinging, fish-controlled robot, naturally.

Sadly, there’s no release window yet for Scarlet Deer Inn, but it’ll launch on PC and Switch when it’s ready. You can wishlist it on Steam right now.

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