Hitmaker Ustwo Games Debuts Assemble with Care on Apple Arcade
In a Fast Company feature, Mark Wilson explained what makes Assemble with Care, an Apple Arcade exclusive from ustwo, such a powerful experience and spoke to Dan Gray, chief creative officer at ustwo games about the game’s conception and the complex meaning behind it.
Teased as “Repair” during the announcement of Apple Arcade, Assemble with Care became an unexpected addition to the library of exclusive games, as well as the first iOS title released by digital product studio, ustwo since its hit series, Monument Valley. Rather than explore mysterious cities as players did in Monument Valley, Assemble with Care takes you to a city of its own, making you the owner of an old antique shop where you learn about the lives of characters through the broken objects you fix for them.
Gray recalled how the story for Assemble with Care came much later in the process. Coming off the success of Monument Valley, the 12-person team at Ustwo began its next project with an approach that had nothing to do with stories or narrative strategies. Instead, they began building little pieces of experimental UX—not games but interesting interaction models. The core game came from the appeal they felt from an interaction model of building something on-screen and after 2 years the game went from an interesting UX prototype to a fully realized product.
When it came to crafting the narrative of the game, Gray explained, “One thing that stuck with us is how much people are like objects. To truly understand what makes something tick, you need the patience to take something apart to see how it works. It’s the same thing with people. To understand a person, you need patience to understand how they tick.” This led to the direct decision to make Assemble with Care about real life, with objects you recognize, with real human characters the players can relate to. As the game’s central character Maria fixes objects she learns about their owners representing how “sometimes, the broken objects around us tell stories that our voices cannot.”