A Czech couple has created the world's first hand-stitched video game

Scarlet Deer Inn, which will be released for PC, Xbox, and Nintendo switch, utilizes hand-illustrated characters made with needle and thread.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 03.09.2023 13:16:00 (updated on 03.09.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech couple Eva and Lukáš Navrátil have created what must be a first in the world of video games, reports Aktuálně.cz. The couple's newest game, Scarlet Deer Inn, features characters that have been hand-illustrated not using paper and pen, but with needle and thread.

The pair have eight years of video game development under their belt through their studio Attu Games, which has previously released titles like Feudal Alloy. Their upcoming game, Scarlet Deer Inn, should make history as the world's first embroidered video game.

What sets the upcoming platform game apart is its unique production process. Eva Navrátilová hand-embroiders each character before converting them into digital forms with her husband. This means that all motion in the game begins on a sewing machine, allowing them to combine physical craftsmanship with digital production.

Back in April, Eva tweeted about the couple's ambitious new project with a video featuring her unique animation process. Since then, her post has been seen by nearly 25 million people on the social media platform now known as X.

"We've found that people like our work and it makes sense to continue it," Eva tells Aktuálně.cz. "Otherwise, you can't say that it has a big impact. The video has reached a lot of non-gamers, and for them it's just another one of many that they'll see that day."

Eva's character design starts on paper with a sequence of images that create fluid animations when put together. The digitization process follows, with each figure redrawn on a computer before finally being embroidered.

Once the embroidery is complete, they are scanned back into the computer for further refinement, including removing excess fabric, outlining characters, and adding shadows. The complexity of the animation dictates the duration, with simpler characters taking a week and more intricate ones several weeks.

The couple experimented with various threads, fabrics, and embroidery machine settings to achieve the desired effect. Even the game's backgrounds, painted by Lukáš Navrátil, are handmade, contributing to the game's distinctive artwork.

Embroidery has a long tradition in the Czech lands, and the game's story also draws on local tradition. Scarlet Deer Inn is an action-adventure game set in medieval times that draws inspiration from Slavic legends and folklore. Following the April announcement, the game received a new trailer this summer.

Unlike typical mythical knights or monster slayers, the story centers on Eliška, a mother of two children, embarking on a perilous journey filled with mythological encounters. The creators aimed to craft a realistic and relatable character, diverging from action movie heroes.

While a release date remains TBA, Attu Games has confirmed that Scarlet Deer Inn will be available on PC, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. Keep an eye on the game's Steam page for updates.

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