Thursday, 16 May 2024

A Deep Dive into the Development of Iconoclasts

Iconoclasts is a captivating game that surprises players with its mature story and nostalgic art style. With its intriguing themes and well-crafted gameplay, it has gained a dedicated following. In this article, we have the opportunity to speak with Joakim Sandberg, the creator of Iconoclasts, to gain insights into the game’s development, story, and influences.

The Journey of Iconoclasts

Iconoclasts has been in development for quite some time. It started as a project called Ivory Springs in 2007 and eventually took shape as Iconoclasts in 2010. However, the development process faced its fair share of challenges and setbacks, leading to a longer development period than expected. Despite the obstacles, Sandberg’s dedication and passion for the game never wavered.

From Comedy to Darkness

The original vision for Iconoclasts was more lighthearted, with comedic elements. However, as the game evolved, it took on a darker tone. Sandberg intended to explore deeper and more complex themes, which naturally led to a shift in the game’s atmosphere. The transition from a lighter concept to a more serious and thought-provoking narrative added depth and resonance to the overall experience.

Unveiling the Surprises

Iconoclasts may appear colorful and cheerful at first glance, but as players progress through the game, they discover the unexpected layers of darkness that lie beneath the surface. Sandberg intentionally designed certain moments, such as the scene in the brother’s house, to catch players off guard and challenge their initial impressions. These surprises serve as a catalyst for a deeper exploration of the game’s themes.

The Influence of Other Games

While Iconoclasts draws inspiration from various sources, including Metroid and Mega Man, one game that may surprise players is Drill Dozer. Although Sandberg hadn’t thought much about its influence on Iconoclasts, there are similarities in the mechanics and the way the protagonist interacts with the environment. Sandberg’s intention was never to copy or mimic other games but to create a unique experience that resonates with players.

The Story Unveiled

Iconoclasts weaves a rich and intricate story that captivates players. Sandberg crafted the narrative organically, allowing the characters to drive the story forward. As the game progresses, players witness the characters’ development and their journeys through compelling set pieces. Sandberg wanted to create a story that resonates with players on a personal level, and the positive response from the community suggests he succeeded in achieving that goal.

Exploring Themes of Religion

Religion plays a significant role in Iconoclasts, highlighting the influence it has on society and individuals. Sandberg does not target any specific religion; rather, he uses religion as a vehicle to explore the conflicts that arise from societal expectations and personal desires. Each character grapples with their own beliefs and struggles to reconcile them with their ideals, resulting in a thought-provoking narrative that encourages players to contemplate the role of faith in their own lives.

The End is Just the Beginning

Iconoclasts features a conclusion that may not be as uplifting as some players might hope for. Sandberg deliberately chose to present a conclusion that reflects the realities of life, rather than tying up loose ends neatly. He wanted to explore the idea that not all characters experience personal growth or find resolution in their journeys. This deliberate choice allows the story to resonate on a deeper level, challenging traditional storytelling conventions and leaving room for interpretation.


Q: Are there alternate endings in Iconoclasts?

A: While there is one significant moment that can alter the ending, it does not provide a completely different conclusion. Additionally, the choices and dialogue throughout the game impact the intensity of the nightmare sequences players encounter.

Q: What is the significance of the bird creature at the end of the game?

A: Sandberg intentionally left this character unnamed to spark discussions and theories among players. The bird creature represents a background story that adds depth to the game’s lore and encourages players to speculate on its true nature and purpose.


Iconoclasts is a testament to the power of storytelling and the impact of well-crafted gameplay. Joakim Sandberg’s passion and dedication shine through in every aspect of the game, from the captivating narrative to the meticulously designed levels. Iconoclasts challenges traditional gaming conventions and immerses players in a world that both surprises and resonates. As players dive deeper into the game, they uncover the profound themes and thought-provoking storytelling that make Iconoclasts an unforgettable experience.

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