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A post-apocalyptic adventure/visual novel hybrid inspired by Ace Attorney and Zero Escape games set in Japan.
A post-apocalyptic adventure/visual novel hybrid inspired by Ace Attorney and Zero Escape games set in Japan.
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1,492 backers pledged $56,288 to help bring this project to life.

Exogenesis Supermega Update! (Part 1)

Posted by Kwan (Creator)

Everything happens in threes. 

At first, it was a special friend of mine, and our biggest fan back when Kickstarter success was still a pipe dream. 

Then it was our audio engineer, who mastered our tracks and composed some of our best music. 

When I started getting sick, I thought I was next for sure. The third and last to go. I had sleepless nights and persistent chest pain. I was excited to join the 27 Club and go out in flames. Exogenesis would go on in infamy as one of those unfinished products that'll never see the light of day because its creator died. All my worries on how it'll be received will be gone, because I'll be dead. If the unfinished version is released, the mystique surrounding it will make it at least a minor cult hit even if it sucked.

Turns out it was my mother who'd take the number three spot. 

Knocking On Heaven's Door

She informed us around three months ago that she was on the losing end of battling cancer. She fought it out, but this was the second time for her, and her liver couldn’t handle the aggressive treatment she needed. She fought silently for almost a year prior to that announcement, not wanting to be a burden on others, but most of all - she had hoped that I’d finish Exogenesis before I could attend to her.

I wasn’t the best son. I left a more lucrative and stable job to chase a childhood dream. My lifesavings went into Exogenesis. I didn’t subscribe to the concept of choosing a less personally rewarding but more secure career like many of my friends did. It has always been do or die for me. I liked taking chances.

Sometimes, you lose.

I was left with one final chance to give her my all, to take care of her like she did for me when she brought me up, so I did. I wanted to witness everything, as difficult and painful as it was. Even when she was no longer aware of her surroundings, I had to be there.

Among her last words, in her final brief moment of clarity a week before she became totally incomprehensible, she said she was sorry I couldn’t finish the game. That meant many things to me which I won't discuss now, but I’d never forget that morning in the hospital when my uncle woke me up and I groggily listened to my dying mother apologize over a video game.

It’s just a damn video game.

That’s what I would’ve thought, under different circumstances. I partly did. Around that time, however, Facebook has been reminding me that the earliest posts I’ve shared with friends about Exogenesis were from 3 years ago!

I couldn’t even entertain the idea that everything has been for naught. That was unthinkable, and I could only hope I wasn't being delusional.

Weeks before she bid her farewells, I had her play a debug build of the game. (Some unaddressed bugs and text encoding errors were immediately apparent, so that night I ranted a little to our programmer, which led to his now months-long bug hunt.) We’ve been in and out of the hospital at that point, each visit more grim and hopeless than the last. 

But that one time, reading and clicking away with headphones on as she played, she had this calmness like the relatives I was with have never seen.

She kept on praising everything about the game; she loved the art and music, and while she couldn’t really follow the story because we jumped through chapters, she seemed engrossed in what she read.

On one hand I knew it was just her saying good things about what’s now going to be my life’s work, but at the same time, the effect the game had on her was very real to my eyes, and in my mind I thanked my luck for having found the right people to create Exogenesis with.

Marching Forward

She passed a few days ago. Things have finally started to settle down, although I’ll have to admit it's a little overwhelming right now. Our programmer had free reign to polish and optimize the playable chapters (Prologue + 1-4), while our additional writer has been chipping away at Chapter 5. Generally speaking, we have 90% of the content we need, a big chunk of the remaining 10% being puzzle design and art, restructuring the work I’m only able to review now so we could start putting them in the game, and tying up any loose ends.

I intended this update to be a tell-all, so that I could tell you about the other reason that slowed down our progress, which was my struggle with medical issues ranging from anxiety to diabetes. 

But right now, after having rested from such an ordeal that included sleeping on a hospital bench for two weeks next to my dying mother (who exhibited all the signs you may have read about, or seen yourself firsthand), I’m anxious to get back to work. It's also quite exhausting to try and tell the story of what had just transpired, but you deserve to know why we've been silent - again.

I’m hoping that at the end of the day, what we all want is for the game to come out this year. Our team is hard at work to make that happen.

I'd also like to apologize if this update seems incoherent. It doesn't really flow all that well, and I wish I could structure it better. But right now my mind is all over the place, and I need it to focus on getting things done. I wanted to give everyone a clearer picture of where we're at production-wise, and we'll do that as soon as we can.

So for now, this update is going to be part 1. In part 2, we'll go more into detail about production and the challenges that await us as we make a final push to release the game before the year ends. We'd definitely love to show more of what we've been working on.

This is really it.


Alex Hamerling, Andrew Barker, and 13 more people like this update.


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    1. Specie8470 on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    2. Specie8470 on

      @Matthew Kanno you do know the longer they take the more chance that they blow through the kickstarter money and then there is no game right?

    3. Matthew Kanon on

      I'm not much of a internet commenter either, but honestly I could care less about the money I put in. I invest in promising ideas with passionate people behind them and I saw that in Exogenesis. I never try to hold a kickstarter to deadlines as I understand that the people behind them are passionate about what they do and most are not professionals. So take your time and make something that can make everyone who doubted you eat their words or walk away, I honestly will not blame you and you should not blame yourself either for real life getting in the way. Few people can truly emphasize with the situation so please do not feel pressured; investors have waited and will continue to wait, but if this is truly your dream, finish it. Lastly, of course my sincerest condolences as the written word cannot express my sorrow for your situation.

    4. Chris on

      > So for now, this update is going to be part 1. In part 2, we'll go more into detail about production and the challenges that await us as we make a final push to release the game before the year ends. We'd definitely love to show more of what we've been working on.

      The year's end is coming nearer and still no part 2. :\

    5. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.


      I love finding the salty, insensitive, selfish and self centered comments in posts where people explain delays, because they obviously don't understand how life works and what goes on in it. They only think of themselves and have a lack of understanding other's issues. They have no patience and care must about instant gratification.

      They also don't understand that you guys made this game because you wanted to, and wanted to provide a game with content that must coperate companies wouldn't bother touching on, and this game is being made because you guys belive in it.

      I like it when people express thier emotions, share what's going on, why things are delayed, falling short on expectations, and why they're not doing so well. I support what you just posted, and I'm glad you shared that with us. I care about each team member, and how each team member is doing in life, because each person is independent, not some mindless robot working to please us.

      I don't care what people demand, I don't care how much they complain, there is only one thing I ask from the crew working on this:

      Take all the time you need to make this game, and make this game good. Even if it takes another year, make this game as best as you can, make it something everyone will love even with the delays. Don't rush it, rushing a project can end badly, so please, take your time. Make this game to your standards, not others standards.

    7. Martin Joly on

      I'm really sorry for your loss and the hardships you've faced recently. It's difficult to find the right thing to say. Having recently lost a family member myself I know it can feel like you're walking through fog, things not feeling quite real and only being able to see just what's in front of you and not much beyond it.

      My advice is to commit yourself to something, find something in the fog and just keep at it. Every day gets a little bit easier, the fog a little lighter, and then one day you'll wake up, everything will be clear and you'll see just how far you've come. Whether it's this game or whatever else, don't lose your will. You owe it to her and you it to yourself.

      Also, people are gonna be frustrated, no matter you circumstances. We are three years in after all. Just gonna have to take that one on the chin ;P

      All the best.

    8. Missing avatar

      Megan Milne on

      Thank you for sharing this with us. I am so sorry for your loss and hardships. Sharing this, I feel, helps us supporters understand the why - why it has taken so long for this game to be developed. While we want to hear "we're almost there" and "here's more artwork" or "more character information" or whatever, some assurance that this is still in production, I personally prefer to understand that there have been these issues at hand which have had you far to busy with your own life and more important things. We may have spent who knows how much to back this project, but your life, your mother, THAT is what is really important. I'm glad you were able to break away and spend the time you needed with her. We are all eagerly awaiting more news and updates on this game - I know it's going to be phenomenal when it's done! - but I'm okay waiting longer for this phenomenal game because there are real human beings on the other end of this project that have real human lives to live and human issues to deal with.

    9. Benjamin David Lee on

      I am sorry for your loss you have my condolences.

    10. Missing avatar

      JimMystic on

      @Marco Beltrame

      I was taken aback with this update, i guess I thought it would be more centered around the game. I knew you had mentioned the hardships of diabetes playing a role on development. I just didn't expect all this, I don't think Marco is being rude, and i'm sure you understand that it's a matter of making backers feel confident in project too, that isn't to discount your hardships of course. I hope things are ok going forward. I believe we would all like to see a finished product that everyone can be happy with. There were just many delays and times we received very little information, that has certainly created tension

    11. Missing avatar

      Marco Beltrame on

      First of all: do not post personal information or anything on a Kickstarter update. While it's a sad story and understandably affected development, most people aren't going to be invested in this, and also may not be interested in the real reason.

      That said, the issues I have with the game aren't really related to your tragic loss, as they started way before. First was feature creep, and second was getting "greedy" (not the best word) with Ouya, which completely backfired in the end.

      The lack of communication started way before the issues you pointed out.

      I'm not going to comment on your personal issues as I don't know you, I'll just say I hope you recover.

      Having said that, this KS is a disaster and even if the game comes out (which I doubt for now), I don't think I'll be going to play it. This was probably the worst project I backed.

    12. Philhouse

      You have my condolences.

    13. Atticusmj on

      Can't post pic so I made a post for you to your twitter account

    14. Tomas Refsland on

      Our deepest condolences on your loss to you and your family Kwan.
      Take the time you need to let things sink in, grieve and be with family.
      I know all too well what it is to loose family...

      We and your game will still be here after that.

    15. Pascal Barrette on

      I'm sorry for your loss. I also really appreciate how honest you are with us; in a lot of cases, developers only talk about the progress and never mention the hardships but then, one day, the project goes under for mysterious reasons.
      I am glad you're still pushing through with this, and hope you the best after the bad times you've been through lately. Don't overpush yourself, stay strong, and make your mother proud.

    16. Alexei

      Having had my own mother die in extremely similar circumstances, I'd suggest allowing yourself to push forward but not assume you can 'do it'. Take it easy.

    17. Nolan Tang on

      I'm sorry for your loss but glad that your mother supported you in this endeavor til the very end and that you were able to spend sometime with her before she passed. It was the better choice to spend time with her while you had the chance.

    18. David Larouche on

      I'm sure it will be great :) never give up! Sorry for your mother Kwan :/

    19. Christian Rose on

      Reading this actually got me choked up a bit, Sorry for your loss.

    20. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    21. Zamer on

      First let me state my condolences, towards your mother. I know how taxing it can be watching someone who took care of you all their lives slowly pass with my grandmother who I lived with die from Alzheimer's for 5 years. It's good to see that your motivation for the project has been renewed especially considering the amount of loss the team has had over the years. While, I personally can't wait for the game to come out as my excitement is still the same as the day I backed it(real high), a lot of other people may disagree(paleofan as an ex, who seems similar to a person on the fb group). Don't be too impatient and rush however, remember to set some time for yourself, so you can recover. In the words of Miyamoto, "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad"

    22. Kwan Creator on

      Sorry, but "delayed due to personal reasons" just isn't something that would be sufficient to most people asking what's been going on.

      Besides, if we didn't have optimism and confidence, we'd have thrown in the towel already. :) We'll be back to regular programming before you know it!

    23. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    24. Vaendryl on

      good luck finishing the game.

      good health and long life for all the rest.

      strength to wither the blithering negative feedback you'll no doubt receive when people realise the finished game doesn't even begin to live up to their expectations.

    25. Missing avatar

      nlcs on

      I've read a lot of kickstarter sob stories from overdue game developers so it's hard for me to tell what's real and what's not. If your story's real, I'm sorry for your loss and hope things turn around for you.

      I was just thinking yesterday that Exogenesis was probably never coming out, so any sort of communication is an improvement. I'm sorry that it had to come in this context.

      Looking at things from a more positive perspective, now that the Zero Escape trilogy is finished I think lots of people would probably be interested in a new novel/mystery/puzzle game, so there might be a good chance for Exogenesis to find an audience.

      If funding is an issue at this point maybe you could approach Sekai Project and see if they'd be interested in helping out. They seem to be fairly competent as a publisher and are good at advertising games.

    26. hihey54 on

      I don't really get what you meant by saying that this update is "incoherent". To me, it appeared to be exactly what it should be: an explanation - and a very emotional one, to say the least - as to why the game was delayed. There isn't really anything for us to complain about after reading what has happened to you. I have reason to believe a lot of people would have broken down after experiencing what you went through, so it's praiseworthy to hear that you are eager to finish your work.
      Looking forward to the next update - and don't be afraid to take your time :)

    27. Alex Hamerling on

      Look, I'll be honest, I'm less than impressed at the progress of the game. However, once again, I always knew bumps in the road was a very real risk when I invested into this game.

      Don't let my disappointment get you down, though. When it comes down to it, all I want is for the game to actually get finished, and I'm sure a lot of people agree with me.

    28. Tracey Craig

      Make your mother proud by completing the game :)

    29. Zaranell on

      I'm sorry to hear about all that you've been through. We can't always choose the obstacles we face, but we can choose how to get over them. The important thing is that you keep living your life the way you want to live it - by the sounds of it, it seems like you're doing exactly that. I apologize if this is pretentious for me to say, but given that you haven't given up on your dream, I get the impression your mother would be proud.