Iron Danger – Shard of Time

A release trailer I created for my game Iron Danger

Iron Danger is my debut PC game as a game director.

It is a game all about maximising your actions in combat with the help of infinite redos and intuitive trial and error. It is basically a gamified combat sequence animation tool (so cool)!

Finnish game awards 2021

Best creative achievement of the year 2020: Winner

Big screen game of the year 2020: Nominee

Finnish game of the year 2020: Nominee

Rock Paper Shotgun: The best game you missed in march: Iron Danger

A lot of games market themselves as being built around a “unique” mechanic. And while 90% of the time these mechanics are not in fact unique, every so often you get one that’s the real deal, and this tactical RPG with functional time travel is certainly one of ’em.

A cinematic teaser trailer I created for my game. Music by Ilmari Hakkola.
Gameplay

Iron Danger is a tactical combat game with a unique time manipulation mechanic. A never before seen combination that blends the tactical depth of turn-based games with the exciting action of real-time games.

Tackle challenging encounters with your party of two characters, using a variety of skills and highly interactive environments.

Maybe you will set an enemy on fire and kick them into a grain field for a proper barbeque, or set up a trap and fell a tree on top of them. The options are endless and it is you who will be deciding your own approach!

You have control over time

You have control over time

The core of Iron Danger is its unique time control mechanic. You can rewind time for up to 5 seconds whenever you want, trying different strategies and combinations of moves until you find the right one for the task at hand.

The time manipulation allows us to combine real-time combat gameplay with controls from more traditional, tactical turn-based combat games. This gives tactical combat a puzzle-like element, as you can continuously keep trying new approaches to turn impossible odds to your advantage and synchronize the actions of your characters for the perfect outcome.

You will die, but you will not fail!

World and Story

Iron Danger is set in a world of lofty fells, primeval forest, and placid lakes… as well as living gods and monsters of steel. The city of Kalevala, home of the humans who rebelled against the gods and forsook their protection, shines in the middle of this world, surrounded by towns, sea lanes and and woodlands under its protection.

But from the frozen north, a witch queen is leading her army on a quest for vengeance against the lords of Kalevala. Ancient ruins from the days when gods dwelled on the earth are opening to unleash forgotten powers, tempting humans and striving to overtake the world.

You’ll take on the role of Kipuna, a sharp-witted village girl, who becomes imbued with an ancient power that grants dominion over time and death. You must use your wits to control it as you’re drawn into the midst of a war between the city of Kalevala and the armies of the Northlanders driven by their witch queen Lowhee.

Your task is to master the power, in order to use it for mankind’s protection, while your enemies will seek to harness it in the service of total destruction.

Features

Use unique time-rewind mechanics and experience a new take on tactical combat combining best aspects of real-time and turn-based combat.

Use highly interactive environment for your advantage to succeed against impossible odds.

Adventure in a world of steampunk fantasy and meet its unique inhabitants inspired by Finnish folklore.

Fight epic boss monsters on the path to fulfill your destiny.

No grinding; character progression pace is controlled by the story and every fight matters.

15+ hours of gameplay

Reviews

PC Invasion – 90
“Iron Danger is a fun game that takes us to fantasy Finland and lets us play with time. This is a surprisingly good combination before you take interactive environments and the vibrant art style into account. If you want to play a fantasy RPG that’s lighter on the RP and heavier on G(ameplay), try this one out.”

DarkStation – 90
“From its inception to the execution, Iron Danger showcases a rare, coherent vision where everything comes together to form a unified experience, not least because of truly novel gameplay that holds it all together. I’m afraid that Iron Danger has spoiled other games in its genre for me. I can no longer imagine playing formulaic fantasy tropes with rigid combat and eternally repeated, tired systems.”

Player2 – 83
“Iron Danger feels like a breath of fresh air for CRPGs. While not a perfect game, its unique, time-based combat system is a pure joy to play with and worth the price of admission alone.”

Iron Danger Dev blog

  • Friday Rewind #27: What’s going on?

      15.11.2019 – HP Noronen Woah, it has been some time since last post! After miserably failing our once per week – cycle, let’s try to get back to track. This time it’s more progress report kind of thing. The main reason why we haven’t been posting anything is that our hands have been even The post Friday Rewind #27: What’s going on? appeared first on Irondanger.

  • Friday Rewind #26: Community heroes

    13.9.2019 – JP Lyytinen Community Challenge We held a small challenge in our Discord server rewarding the most active weekly member with a “shard”. Everyone with 10 shards (10 weeks of being most active) would get a character with their likeness in the game! And as it turned out two heroes came out on top: The post Friday Rewind #26: Community heroes appeared first on Irondanger.

  • Friday Rewind #25: Skills and more skills

    13.9.2019 – HP Noronen   One of the major things we’ve been working lately is to polish character skills, add some new skills and rework on our skill upgrade mechanics. Let’s take a look at main things on that work.   Gaining new skills When adventuring in the world of Iron Danger, our playable characters The post Friday Rewind #25: Skills and more skills appeared first on Irondanger.

  • Friday Rewind #24: UI elements in After Effects

    5.9.2019 – Jussi Kemppainen Using After Effects for UI artwork For the longest time I tried to fight back the tropes of fantasy game UIs, but now after a lot of push-back from the team I have succumbed under the pressure and am now redoing the UI artwork. I wanted to go all in crazy The post Friday Rewind #24: UI elements in After Effects appeared first on Irondanger.

  • Friday Rewind #23: Gamescom conquered, now it’s time for Pax West!

    30.8.2019 – HP Noronen Gamescom conquered Gamescom, the biggest consumer event in gaming industry, and we survived through it! As mentioned earlier, we had own booth at Gamescom as well as had pile of press meetings booked. During the three days of press meetings, we showed the game to over 200 journalists. In addition, our The post Friday Rewind #23: Gamescom conquered, now it’s time for Pax West! appeared first on Irondanger.

Videos of Iron Danger from around the web

Video about Iron Danger by Force Gaming
My interview by Geek-Pool
The full Finnish Game Awards ceremony 2021

Screenshots from the final game

Behind The Scenes

The first prototype of the game rewind mechanic from 2015

Remedy logo animations

Collection of the different types of text animations I created for Quantum Break

For Quantum Break I also got to create a set of various motion graphics. Mainly logo animations and in-game branding for Monarch corporation.

Quantum Break logo animation

The Quantum Break branded logo animations were created in After Effects with Video Copilot Element 3D & Trapcode Particular, carefully mimicking the look of the in-game stutter effect created by Janne Pulkkinen.

The CFR branding video example

I also created a bunch of in-game used branding content for screens in various levels.

Ainola Alive

A live visual VJ set for Meidän Festivaali celebrating Jean Sibelius and especially his wife, Aino. Together with my brother we produced visuals for 4 concerts in total.

We did not know of the performances in advance, so I built a live visual set capable of adapting to any type of music. All effects were reactive to the music being played and we could control things by hand as well during the live performance. 2 persons were required to control the visuals and keep them going at all times. It felt like playing an instrument as a member of the band. We could play off of the performers and they of us as they were encompassed by the screen.

I also designed the stage which was a first for me.

A promotional clip created for the concerts
A promotional clip created for the concerts
Timelapse of the concert stage being built. I have the bald spot and the red shirt.
The first performance at the stage we did.
Direction:Jussi Kemppainen
Illustrations:Antti Kemppainen
Director of Photography:Toni Pasanen

Stage previz renders

One of the motion graphics sequences previsualisations sent for the client

Behind the scenes

Cosmic Avenger

A short animated film about 2 mail-robots that encounter an abandoned package. I was contacted by the director duo Mariko & Ismo after they had seen my music video Pieni ja Ihmeellinen. They loved its style and wanted to create an animated movie using the same visual style.

This time we went even bolder with matching various animation styles and we introduced traditional stop motion puppet animation and servo controlled robots. We also expanded our use of costumed live action elements as parts of puppets.

Behind the scenes image gallery

Heaven Or Hell

I got this gig just when I was returning from a holiday. I spent the whole trip home playing the song on a loop and feeling the visuals that it would give me. The idea I got was to visualise the DAW software: to replace each and every bar of music with a copy of the band member playing the correct part of the song.

When I presented this idea to Osmo, he had just one catch: he played most of the instruments himself. The last video we did together featured multiple copies of him! I was still so exited about the DAW idea that I did this video with my original idea anyway.

Maybe this is a trilogy? With the last video still to be made?

Direction:Jussi Kemppainen
Director of Photography:Toni Pasanen
Grip:Lauri Konttori, Jyri Sääksjärvi

Distorted Love

Director:Jussi Kemppainen 
Director of Photography:Toni Pasanen 
Gaffer:Ville Vainio 
Grip:Sami Kustila 
Animators:Jussi Kemppainen, Ilmari Hakkola, Lauri Konttori, Tuomas Gustaffson

Muuvi 2009

Shortlist

A supplementary video filmed during the video shoot.

All By Myself

A live performance of a song by Osmo Ikonen. All video material is of the actual takes.

The story behind this video is pretty freaky. I had discovered this cool Myspace artist, Osmo Ikonen, that was on heavy rotation at our animation studio office. We had listened to his stuff for maybe a week and I suddenly got a phone call from an unknown number. To my amazement, the caller was Osmo Ikonen, asking if I would like to direct a music video for him.

Of course I did – free of charge!

I can no longer remember where I got the idea for the duplicated people from, but needless to say I am into Michel Gondry big time!

Direction:Jussi Kemppainen
Performers:Osmo Ikonen, Petteri Sariola
Director of Photography:Toni Pasanen
Sound engineer:Niklas Nylund

Pieni ja Ihmeellinen

https://vimeo.com/573447502
An AI HD remaster

A music video for Retropop.

For the longest time I had this idea of a music video with very very small planets. I tried to shop it around for quite a while without finding a great song to make it for. Then Universal luckily had a song about small planets as well and the rest is history!

Original video on YouTube
Direction:Jussi Kemppainen
Screenplay:Lauri Konttori
Puppets and Miniatures:Lauri Konttori, Jussi Kemppainen, Antti Kemppainen
Wardrobe:Mirkka Kallio
Gaffer:Toni Pasanen, Lauri Konttori
Grip:Antti Kemppainen, Jyrki Kemppainen
Drawings:Lauri Konttori, Tommi Ojala
Thanks:Jyri Sääksjärvi, Tero Ahonen, Riitta Kemppainen
Roosa Saarinen, Alex Keskitalo, Vanessa Riki, Markus Kallio
Topi Kemppainen, Anna Kemppainen, Mikko Haapala, Arttu Kotisara

Muuvi 2007

Audience Choice Winner

Non Stop Living

Video content for Nokia Non Stop Living website. Shot and directed by me. This was my first commercial advertisement job. And this case actually prompted us to found the animation studio Kombo.

Direction:Jussi Kemppainen
Audio:Ilmari Hakkola
Art Direction:Marko Vuorensola
Production:Cao Quintas

Cannes Lions 2008

Shortlist

Vuoden Huiput 2007

Honorary Mention

The FWA

Site of the day 8.10.2007

Huudetaan

An AI remastered HD video on YouTube

A music video for Zarkus Poussa. A story about a couple who can not stop fighting but can not break up either.

The first music video I have ever directed. This made me quit my then on-going game development career and go into video production for almost 10 years.

Direction:Jussi Kemppainen
Screenplay:Jussi Kemppainen, Zarkus Poussa
Actress:Minna Puolanto
ThanksJyrki Sukula, VIA ravintola

OMVF 2006

Honorary Mention