Update #62 - 27 days away from Early Access/Game Preview!
Today we have another update on Thursday instead of Friday, because tomorrow is again another holiday, Canada Day!
It will be a short update as most of the team is either fixing bugs or working on secret content for Early Access. Stay tuned for next week as we announce the price of Early Access.
But, we don’t want to leave you hanging, so here is another Early Access sneak peek, and an update from Alex!
I’ve been working on rewriting the objectives and Arthur’s journal entries into the voice of the game. The journal entries are fun because I can write whatever I want without worrying what it will cost. I don’t have to record them, no one has to animate someone saying them. The player can take the time to read them or not. So I can scatter Arthur’s personal observations and backstory throughout them.
It’s a bigger job than it looks, because as I go through them, I’m also discovering encounters that aren’t quite as they were designed, or don’t quite make sense within the world. My job is to make sure that every encounter makes narrative sense. A level designer might write a level so that you’re supposed to go here and dig that thing up. But how does Arthur know there’s something to dig up? Usually it’s a matter of retconning: I know that he’s supposed to do this, so what’s a good reason in the world of the game for him to do that. Sometimes it’s a matter of rejiggering the encounters, so the LD’s and I have a palaver. Rejiggering almost always makes the encounters more compelling; necessity is the mother of invention.
Since we last spoke, I had the chance to get [person who Sam won’t let me tell you about] into the studio, and Arthur should have quite a bit more to say in this next build, and even more in the one after that. I also finally found the perfect person to play Percy. He’s a fantastic young actor named [hah, like Sam would let me tell you that]. I’ve been writing a lot of audio flashbacks that you will eventually hear. At some point, Percy will become real to you, the way he’s real to Arthur. Jose, Chris, Valentino (our sound partners at Signal Space) and I have also been recording multiple voices for all the NPC’s. You probably won’t hear them all in the next build – we have to make a face animation for every voice doing every line. We have software that does most of the heavy lifting, but there’s a fair amount of massaging that Remi has to do, to the point where he’s been whining about not being an animator. So that will all, I think, come out in the second EA update, not on launch.
On a side note, every voice actor I’ve talked to is kind of embarrassed about the Brexit vote. It’s sort of like talking to someone who’s just announced they’re getting divorced.
We’ve recorded every single passive conversation, dozens of them. You’ll have to ask the LD’s and the programmers when those are going in, but at some point, you’re going to start hearing some rather silly conversations around you, and also some rather illuminating conversations. Oh, and the Wastrels will have five new ways to tell you to fuck off. But hopefully they’ll do it less often.
Meanwhile, the usual narrative directory things. What is written on this cabinet? What note does this guy have in his pocket? What does the end screen say? Could we please have a dozen letters you can find in the mailboxes? What are the signs on this bridge? What are the coins called? What’s a better name for Mrs Stokes’ letters? How would you describe a banger? What’s the description text for a light bulb? Can we have bunting in this building? (No.) What can we call this park?
Each of these sends me down a rabbit hole, but I usually find something that amuses me, and hopefully will amuse you. Not everything is a narrative Easter egg. But quite a few of the names of places and people are there for some reason or another. Enjoy!
I’ve been having a great time telling Alex all the things he can’t talk about. Considering how much he writes every week, you can imagine that this is almost a full time job.
Thank you for tuning in!