Hey everyone! We're back from a very much needed vacation for the whole studio and have picked up right where we left off. We're currently iterating and playtesting our new combat system, we have an improved way of building our larger exterior scenes and Magnus have been working away at both the script for the game and the comic book!
We have pictures and more detail in the new Developer Diary section of our forum!
After spending a lot of time on the website, contracts, planning, etc, it feels really good to be back to full focus on production!
We updated the official Earthlock website with the new Olia design. She’s a real melee badass and we can’t wait to show you the finished production art and get feedback from you guys and gals.
New Senior Game Programmer
We are very happy to announce that Kenneth Backus has joined our team today! He is our new Senior Game Programmer and will help speed up production with his awesome coding skills. Kenneth has worked on Far Cry 4, The Secret World, and Age of Conan, so he knows what he is doing!
Comic Book - Artists chosen
Out of nearly 100 applicants, Manuel Bracchi from Italy and Emerson Dimaya from the Philippines will be drawing and colouring the comic book. Two fantastic artists with their own unique touch. And to top it off we’re pleased to include letterer and designer Rachel Deering to our team. The book will feature two adventures. Manuel will draw Ive’s story while Emerson will be sending Amon out on a perilous journey.
The comic will be a great addition to the Earthlock universe and a nice supplement to the characters in the game, but it’ll also stand firmly on its own adventurous feet. All in all, we aim for a fun, vibrant, thrilling and heartfelt comic book for any fans of fantasy and the like.
See some of the work our great team has done before below:
We are currently prototyping some really exciting new combat mechanics. As you can see in the photo below we made a physical board game prototype to get a feel for the gameplaybasics - and we had a blast! Expect further details in a couple of months.
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The new website is all about Earthlock: Festival of Magic, with video, pictures and lots of stuff about the game! It also serves as the home of our extended crowdfunding campaign. We believe if done correctly, that we can continue the crowdfunding on our website. It is a lot harder to do so, so that is why we have put a lot of effort into making the new website. It is integrated with paypal, so we have live tracking of new pledges and backers. It's pretty sweet-looking if we can be so bold and say so ourselves! You can find it at:
Frits, Saira, Bendik and Magnus have been hard at work getting it up and running so head on over and check it out! We're continuing the opportunity to pledge via paypal over there as well if you found us via kickstarter and missed out on the campaign.
Next up is the new forum we're working on it as we're typing this. We almost have it up and running, we're just sorting out some technical challenges before going live! We'll get back to you as soon as it's up and you guys can head over and join the fun!
New Senior Programmer
We are super happy to announce that we will be getting a new team member, starting July 1st! This person is a very experienced game programmer. Due to contract issues, we can’t introduce him just yet. We’ll get back to you and do that properly once he’s on board! Having him will help us keep the expected production schedule so we can reach our deadlines.
Earthlock Comic Book Update!
Magnus, our awesome writer, is working in parallel on the game and the one-shot comic book set in the Earthlock universe, as promised during the campaign! He’s gotten far enough in the process that we’re looking to pair a comic book artist with him for the project!
Magnus made a post about it over on his blog:
We're very excited to see visuals to go with his excellent script!
E3, XBOX and Earthlock
We were so lucky to be showcased on the IX@Xbox Indie reel during the Microsoft presentation on E3 last week! Some has asked us if we have signed an exclusive deal with Microsoft. We have not. If we had, you would be the first to know!
Coming Up Next
We still haven`t done the kickstarter survey. We have pushed this as we expect a lot of the data gathered will be old by the time we release the game.
We are still working on the production schedule. Once it is settled we will send out invitations to backers who committed to the Creative Tiers.
Anima - Gate of Memories has only 10 days left on it’s Kickstarter campaign. It’s an open world action RPG and they have done a lot of work on the game based on funds they raised in a successful kickstarter from January 2013.
That’s about it from us this time around. Join us over in the forums, and we’ll see you on here for the next update!
As some of you may know we went to the Nordic Game Conference in Malmö last week! We had a great time learning from and hanging out with lots of awesome people that like to make games.
We figured we could share some of the highlights for us with you all! We got a bunch of inspiration and affirmation that we’re headed in the right direction with Earthlock, which feels great!
We saw a very inspiring talk by Ryan Payton the founder of Camouflaj who recently released the second installment in the République game series. The guy used to work as a creative director on Halo 4 and before that he worked as a producer on Metal Gear Solid 4 at Konami. Crazy. Anyway he talked about the fight for narrative in games, which is very close to our own hearts. He is very much into stories in games and he spoke about how he fears for narrative in games, particularly in the AAA side of things where there is less focus on story and more about holding a players hand through a bunch of explosions. The good people at Camouflaj are working to keep the story an important part of République. We were certainly inspired to have an even higher focus on the narrative in Earthlock!
On that note; Magnus is pushing out lore and story like you wouldn’t believe! We’re very excited to have him on board in a real sense now thanks to all of you guys really, that made the kickstarter happen! He was the first person on board after the kickstarter was over, and he is delivering above and beyond expectations! The story in Earthlock is going to be great!
Next up Frits and Fredrik went to a talk by Matt Mocarski, the AD over at Carbine studios who are releasing their MMO Wildstar soon. They have been in production on that game for nine (9!!) years! He took us from the concept art phase, through style guides to final game and how they worked out a completely new universe from the ground up. He talked about the relevance of a stylized universe and the benefits you get from that, so that was pretty cool! Big takeaways for the art guys in other words! They’re already putting ideas they picked up from the talk into practice with new characters and environments being drawn as we’re typing this!
We caught a few sound and music talks as well. First up was Marty O’Donnel which was more of a talk on how to maintain your creativity in the entertainment industry, and that was pretty awesome in itself, but as a pretty cool bonus we got to hear some samples of the music he has composed! The next day there was a panel with Jory Prum. Jory, as many of you know, is the guy we’re working with on sound for Earthlock! His talk was centered around the work done on Broken Age from Double Fine. He brought with him Peter McConnel who composed the music and Camden Stoddard who is the audio lead at Double Fine. It was a great talk with three guys who has a bunch of tall tales between them and lots of great music to listen to!
High point of the last day was Leah Hoyer. She is the Narrative Design Director at Microsoft Game Studios and previously Disney. She gave us a LOT of great thoughts on narrative in games and how it can be pushed forward. We’ve talked with Magnus about this already and we think her talk will be referenced a lot as we move forward with the story and how to weave it into the game!
Ok high point talk-wise was Leah Hoyer. The actual high point was sitting in the audience and cheering on our friends from Krillbite who won the Indie Sensation Award for Among the Sleep!
While we’re talking about the Krillbite gang and their awesome game we wanted to mention in bold with lots of exclamation marks that they are RELEASING “AMONG THE SLEEP” TODAY!!!!!
Among the Sleep is OUT NOW!!! Go! Buy! Spread the word! Tweet! Facebook!
The wonderful people at Krillbite have been working their collective asses off for years. We think the result is fantastic and well worth the bucks they are asking for.
New Website under construction
We have taken down our website and are intensely working on a new one. It should be up and running again some time next week. (We are using Weebly.com as webhost and unfortunately we could keep the old website while building the new.) We will post an update once this website is up.
As eager as we are to get back to things, we needed to do a few things first.
Having survived the Kickstarter campaign, we have had to take care of a few things before jumping back into full production mode again. Here is the simplified list:
Avoiding burnout by taking a vacation (Check)
Complete undone tasks that were pushed aside during Kickstarter (Check)
Tax papers, accounting and reporting (Check)
Request funds from Kickstarter and the Norwegian Film Institute (Check & 80%)
Update production plan (50%)
Backer survey, backer management (Waiting)
Continue Production (Resiliently Waiting)
Contact Creative Tier Backers and begin the creative process with the backers. (Waiting)
Post Kickstarter funding
We are going to continue the funding campaign for Earthlock on our website and reach a few more stretch goals that way. The work has begun on a new site layout and we will shortly move the 'Kickstarter' page to the archive. This means that those who did not get the add-ons they wanted or their Amazon payment failed, should hurry and get it now as not all options will be available on the new webpage.
Backer Survey / Backer Management
We have not yet sent out a survey asking you for the details of your pledge. We are sorting out the last details of how to go about this in the most sensible way. We should be ready to do so in a few weeks. This took longer than anticipated since we first intended to go with Backerkit, but were advised not to by some friends with lots of experience with KS.
Story / Lore
Something we would like to share with you all about some work getting back to production; Two weeks ago, we had our screenwriter - Magnus Aspli - in the office for a work-weekend with the team.
We sat down Friday morning and worked through the story of the whole Earthlock Trilogy - which was extremely fun, but very mentally exhausting to do in such a short time! Although we have done lots of work on this internally over the last 18 months we had not locked down all the details of the story. We had tons of ideas, concepts and story parts loosely connected in a way that we knew the outcome, but the connections were tenuous.
Well, after three long days and evenings of being locked in the office together, we managed to nail down all the details of Festival of Magic and the most important parts for the two sequels! With Magnus' experience and skills, we were super efficient getting everything in to place. We are really proud of the story now! It has everything we like in a good story and we can't wait to share tidbits of this with you in the coming months in teaser form.
We are just staring to design all the exciting places around the world of Umbra. Here is Fredrik working on an area called Ramoo Island. He is done with his cleaning up tasks and can now go back to creating cool stuff.
That is it for this time! Next up is the Nordic Game Convention in Malmö, Sweeden that we will be attending next week. Hopefully we will learn a lot of useful tricks there.