a written adventure
Based in Zurich, Switzerland
Press / Business contact:
Letters begins in 1998 as Sarah, an eleven-year-old girl from Switzerland, writes the first letter to Katya, her new pen pal from Russia. Through letters and online messengers, they continue to stay in touch over many years. They become good friends and share their dreams, worries and everyday life with each other.
Sarah’s story is relatable and still one of a kind. Especially because you get to chose how it plays out.
You take on the role of a tiny Sarah, moving through letters and messages. Along the way, you have to make decisions for her that will impact her life and change the person she grows up to be.
The game world is inhabited by Sarah’s drawings in the letters and images on her computer screen that block your way. To get past them, you can pick up words from the text and throw them at these characters who will change accordingly and hopefully, make way.
Most of the time, there is no right word available so you have to create your own. By removing some letters from a word, you can uncover a new one. You can, for example, get the word “wing” from “drawing” and use it to give flight to a wingless bird.
But be careful when you choose a word to throw at a drawing. All of the characters have their own personalities and might even represent real people in Sarah’s life. How you interact with them has an impact on the rest of the letter, and sometimes even beyond.
The gameplay is pleasantly relaxed, allowing you to concentrate on the riddles and enjoy all the quirky characters and beautiful art. The visuals are charming and nostalgic, taking you on a journey through time with messy children’s desks full of toys, colorful drawings, and enchanting memories.
About 5am Games
Aleksandra started the project in 2015, as a small game prototype at the Zurich University of the Arts. Creating new words by removing letters and using those to change drawings in a text was innovative and a lot of fun to play. Two years later the three of us decided to refine the prototype with the goal of making a real game out of it.
We exhibited several iterations of the project at different game festivals and conferences and even won a grant by the Swiss arts council to continue to work on the project. All the positive feedback motivated us to work on the game full time. We won additional grants, participated in the Swedish accelerator program Stugan and founded our company 5am Games.
We are in mid-production with the goal of releasing Letters in the first half of 2021. We are focusing on PC and Mac but work on a mobile version as well. Since we’ve been working together on different projects for over four years, we established an efficient workflow and acquired additional knowledge that helps us with the business side of things.
Our goal is to establish ourselves in the international gaming industry and continue to create innovative and authentic games we truly care about.
PLAY with words and use their power to change the game world.
GROW up with Sarah and decide what kind of person she'll become.
REWRITE her story with every playthrough.
LIVE her life and dive into a rich, nostalgic universe.
“I was absolutely delighted, with the game and myself, because we were both clearly very clever.”
- Rock, Paper, Shotgun
“Letters is an absolute delight to play. The cute artwork, uplifting soundtrack and writing are full of joy as you embark on your little written pen pal friendship adventure.”
Awards & Recognition
Casual Connect London Most Innovative Game (Nominee) 2019
Casual Connect London Best Game Design (Nominee) 2019
Amaze Humble New Talent (Nominee) 2019
Game Connection America Best Casual Game (Nominee) 2019
GDC Play Best in Play (Honorable Mentions) 2019
Pro Helvetia Call for Projects (Winner) 2018
Chosen for Stugan 2018
Ludicious Emerging Talent (Nominee) 2018
Pro Helvetia Call for Projects (Winner) 2017
Personal twitter of
Zurich University of the Arts, Game Design
Pro Helvetia, Swiss arts council
Team & Collaborators
Aleksandra Iakusheva, co-founder
original concept, programming, 3D art, project management
Martina Hotz, co-founder
story design, level design, puzzle design, sound design
Selina Capol, co-founder
visual concept, character design, 2D+3D art, animation
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