Hiiro presskit


  • Release Date: January 22, 2016
  • Release Platforms: Windows 7 and newer
  • Price: $2.99
  • Available on: Itch.io, Steam


Jon Tiburzi

Lead game design, lead programming, lead graphics and animation, game engine, music composition and sound design. The heart and soul of the game and the main driving force behind the game's completion.

Ben Harvey

Lead debugger, lead music composition and sound design, programming. Jon's sounding board, publicity manager, and all-around sidekick.

Philip Gibbons

Graphics, programming, conceptual work. Creator of the original draft of the game.

Marc Cuva

Programming, conceptual work. Contributed during the first summer of development.


  • Exploration — One vast world to travel through with eight distinct environments. Think SeiklusKnytt, or An Untitled Story.
  • Discovery — Hidden secrets and puzzles scattered throughout the world. Various levels of hidden and various levels of difficulty.
  • Dynamic Soundtrack — Meditative music that seamlessly transitions as you move through the world.
  • No Death — Explore a world without fear.
  • No Language — A story told without words, spoken or written.
  • Wide Range of Gameplay — Easy mechanics for the non-gamer, hidden secrets for the casual gamer, challenging puzzles for the hardcore gamer, awesome rewards for the completionist. Something for everyone.


Hiiro was started by a team of four high-school students during a game design summer camp in 2009 at St. Scholastica College in Duluth, MN. The four of us were student counselors at the camp (geared for middle schoolers) after each going through the camp ourselves. The camp founder and professor, Tom Gibbons, encouraged us to enter a YoYoGames Competition with the theme of exploration. We attempted but failed to create a game during the short time before the contest deadline, and the story could have ended there.

However, we decided the game had serious potential for becoming an excellent game, and that it deserved further work before release. We continued working. As time passed, the team dwindled; first to Jon, Ben, and Philip; then to Jon and Ben; and then finally just Jon. Development slowed considerably when college entered the picture, and there were numerous discussions where it seemed the project might be trashed entirely. However, progress continued to be made, until it slowly started to... become something. Something to be proud of?

By Fall 2013, the game was nearing completion, but still lacked a soundtrack or any kind of sound design. Ben decided to hijack his composition lessons, which were part of his college major, to write ambient music for the game with Jon (who had miraculously ended up going to the same college). Most of the music was written by the time Ben graduated in 2014, and most of the sound effects were added the summer of 2015. The game was wrapping up. We knew we had made something special.

Now, we would like to share Hiiro with as wide an audience as possible.

[Written November 2015]

July 2009

Game started for a YoYoGames GameMaker contest by a team of four (Philip, Jon, Ben, Marc). Started from an initial prototype created by Philip that included some of the starting area. Jon creates the cave and mine areas, Ben creates the mountain area, and Philip creates the palace and forest areas.

August 2009

Title decided on. Game not completed in time for the contest deadline. Jon, Ben, and Philip decide to continue working on the game (mostly during the summer and breaks from school).

Summer 2010

Floating islands area is added. Game is determined to be far too linear, and the storyline is determined to be *cough* utter crap. Game is overhauled to create an nonverbal, non-linear story and an open-world feel.

Fall 2010

Ben and Jon continue working on game. Graduated from high school, Ben goes off to St. Olaf College. He keeps up with the game's progress, but stops working on it directly.

May 2011

Slopes are added to the game, requiring massive overhauls to the game's physics engine and level designs.

Summer 2011

Underwater area is added. Floating islands area gets renovated.

Fall 2012

Jon graduates and also attends St. Olaf College. The graphics and level design of the forest area get renovated.

Spring 2014

Progress is slow for over a year, but picks up again when Ben hijacks his college music composition lessons to compose ambient music with Jon. Most music is completed in four months.

June 2014

Ben graduates from college and pursues a career in technical theater. Jon spends time debugging and refining gameplay.

Summer 2015

Sound effects and cutscenes are created and added to the game. Extensive debugging and code condensing occurs.

October 2015

Among final revisions and debugging, Jon has fun adding easter eggs to the game.

Fall 2015

WHAT. It is practically a finished game. How did this happen?

November 2015

Jon and Ben launch an unsuccessful Steam Greenlight campaign for Hiiro. They also create a website and a Facebook page to market the game.

January 2016

Hiiro is released on Itch.io for $3.99, and sells about 15 copies (mostly to friends and family).

March 2016

Evgeniy Kolpakov contacts Jon and Ben out of the blue with an offer to be their publisher and help get the game on Steam. They accept!

April 2016

A second Greenlight campaign for Hiiro is launched, and the game is accepted in under two weeks!

July 2016

Hiiro launches on Steam for $2.99, and sells over 1,000 copies within a week of launch to players from around the world. Game receives an incredible 98% positive reviews. HIIRO IS A SUCCESS??!!