Dear friends,First and foremost, thank you all for your endless support, kindness and patience. 2018 was a year filled with challenge, determination and thrill for our small international team. We have quit our full-time jobs, changed cities and countries, and worked harder than ever in our lives. We have so much planned for the future of Backbone and we thank you for giving us this one-in-a-million chance to follow our dreams!
It's a big, detailed and transparent update, hope you enjoy it. TLDR: development is going really well and is in its full swing, and we can't wait to show you the results (soon!).
Backbone Prologue is very close to release, but not quiet there yet. Art, story and development is finished for distinct locations filled with branching NPC dialogues, puzzles, stealth sections, and exploration. Game is playable from start to finish, and provides some level of replayability. We are currently working on music, sound design, and enhancing the visuals in tech art department.
As a new studio, there was (and still is) so much for us to learn. When we first talked about the demo, it was easy to imagine the release in August, just 3 months after Kickstarter. When that deadline passed and we only scratched the surface of the content and quality we wanted to show you guys, it became pretty apparent that we can't achieve that without attracting new people into our team. Nikita was doing the work of the only developer, composer, game designer and tech artist on the project, Alex was juggling marketing, project management and narrative design, and artists had so much on their hands, that they couldn't possibly take on more diverse tasks without compromising the quality. Maluly came on board to take on the writing task, and it made things so much easier. And two months ago we were joined by our new dedicated full-time tech artist - Artem Pisarev! He is focused on discovering and implementing new ways to make Backbone look even better, it's a complex and time-consuming job that you'll definitely notice in the end result.
Other great news is that after 1 full year of development and 2 years of planning, we now have a much better grip on what we want Backbone to be. It took writing 30 pages of lore and characters backstory encyclopedia (describing foods, musical bands, and social-political structures of dystopian Vancouver), several script drafts, multiple gameplay iterations and testing, art concepts and hundreds of hours of conversations to get where we are. And we're very lucky to have had the time and resources to do that, because the world of Backbone now feels more alive then ever, and the goal to tell its story more manageable. Of course, the concept is going to evolve during the next year of development, but we're now much more prepared to take on the challenge.
There will be several stages to Prologue release: testing (and lots of it), marketing campaign (producing a trailer, building hype in social media, get streamers to play it and press talk about it, etc), and actual release with troubleshooting and other difficulties that come with it. When the build is 99% close to completion, we would like to open up a closed beta-test for our Kickstarter Backers. We'll be able to take in your feedback first-hand, polish some more, and then launch Prologue on Steam (wishlist here - https://store.steampowered.com/app/865610/Backbone/) and other stores.
This demo is a vertical slice of the game, but unlike early access titles, it's a self-contained story that also serves as a prologue to a bigger plot of Backbone - your first introduction to the world of dystopian Vancouver and Howard Lotor. That means we only have one shot to make good impression, and really want to make it count! Successful Prologue launch will hopefully make more people excited about Backbone, so we see it as an integral part to the final game launch in 2019.
If you'd like to participate in the closed backer beta-testing, we'll post a Backer-only Update when the build is available. The best way to get in touch with us personally is to join Backbone Discord server: https://discord.gg/NU7nRQX
One last thing to polish before the launch is sound and music. Our composer Nikita Danshin is recording most of the sounds of rainy Vancouver live: determined steps on the rain puddles, heavy breathing after a chase, dripping water from the rooftops, warm crackling of the vinyl record and snapping of neon lights. Soundtrack will include original ambient tracks (you can listen to some of them on our Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/eggnutohmygod) and songs recorded with young vocalists from the Sunshine coast. For one of the tracks, we made a cover version of the haunting soviet song from the 60s that our parents used to listen on vinyl when they were young. Translating lyrics to English and adapting soviet sound to our modern vision has been an exciting challenge, and we hope you appreciate the result when you hear it in the game.
That's it for today, please let us know in the comments if there is any aspect of development you'd like to be covered in the future updates! We're always eager to be transparent and share as much as possible (while still avoiding spoilers) with you guys. 2019 is going to be great. Thank you.
Happy holidays, wishing you the best in the new year! Love, Eggnut.