Our chief weapon is horror!... horror and fear... fear and horror... Our TWO weapons are fear and horror... and relentless dread!
But you're probably watching Game of Thrones, or listening to the new Radiohead album, or hanging out with your family depending on your position in time and space, so I'll keep it short and to the point.
Teasing the comeback
It's no secret we've been cooling down the hype and excitement surrounding Asylum, at least until we have a solid release date that we can announce to our fans and press. I think we reached critical hype level when we released our playable teaser many aeons ago, a surprising glimpse into the game that echoed all over the mainstream press and built lots of expectation. And that after releasing a hugely successful trailer and a disturbing series of viral teasers. It may seem like wasted effort by now, but this is the kind of promotion that has allowed us to remain relevant during a lengthy development and build a strong community of fans (including you!). But we need to put our act together, so to speak, and bring renewed attention to Asylum. Which is becoming an uphill battle in nowadays game industry: it's very hard to stand out on Steam, reach the mainstream press (which is only covering a handful of indie games from the vast amount being released), and generally make enough noise in an already noisy market. We need to have a solid plan — releasing a game with a press release and a bunch of tweets doesn't cut it anymore.
So there's going to be a "comeback" of sorts, with a fresh new look for Senscape and new horrifying sights and sounds. A brand new trailer (looking even more gruesome and menacing than our first take) is just one of the surprises we have planned. The original site for Asylum was amazingly well-received back then, with people commenting how it felt like they were already playing the game with its immersive layout. This is getting a long overdue refresh as well, one that I'm sure fans of adventure games will fall in love with. I'll be showing some of these things we're preparing real soon and we're going to need your feedback!
Fortunately, there's still plenty of buzz surrounding the game, even though we're keeping eerily quiet about it. For instance, take this recent article by Bloody Disgusting (bless them) who keep voting Asylum as one of their most anticipated horror games year after year. And if you look at the poll, readers seem to agree! I swear to you, I feel like hiding my head in shame. You can't imagine how much I appreciate this vote of confidence, not just by the press but everybody who's been following the development of the game for years. No excuses left these days... I just mumble a timid "thank you" and get back to work.
For your eyes only
As for a quick rundown on our future plans for Kickstarter backers, we've got you covered. Obviously, you come first. We're going to need a few more weeks of work here before disclosing some big news with you. Even the way I'm going you tell you about it will be fresh and new: I'm arranging a livestream for backers only, which will take place next month. The experiment with the live Scratches playthrough turned out really well, enough that I feel comfortable playing a bit of Asylum live and give you a full status report, as well as answering all your pressing questions. Don't worry, I'll let you know in advance exactly when this is going to happen. Shortly after, the new demo for backers will make its debut. I can tell you the following:
- It's looking positively incredible.
- The improvements in performance are all over the roof. I was worried by some of your reports following the migration to Unity, but I'm happy to say that we've sorted out such issues and the game is running as good as it used to on our standalone Dagon engine. I've just tested it on a modest 11-inch MacBook Air from 2011: super smooth and speedy. In fact, I'm tempted to say it's running faster than ever.
- As I elaborated on our previous update, I wasn't 100% happy with the presentation of the game. We've been tweaking several aspects of the engine, as well as adding more visual animations and effects. The current incarnation of Asylum can tax your latest video card acquisition if you wish to turn on all the bells and whistles, and you're going to try for first time the brand new look and feel of the game.
- Did I mention it's looking ravishingly fantastic?
And that's basically it. Just a bit more patience before we're ready to resume testing this interactive nightmare. We're working very hard to build a game you'll be proud to have backed!
Speak to you soon,
That article by Bloody Disgusting discusses the Lovecraftian connection in Asylum, arguing it seems to be more in terms of atmosphere rather than actual ties to the cosmology created by Lovecraft. I can tell you that there's definite Lovecraftian elements in the game, perhaps even more so than Scratches. Knowledgeable fans of Providence's most famous writer will be especially rewarded by certain narrative twists...
And speaking of Scratches, feel free to check out the complete playthrough with my full developer's commentary. It's rather long (almost four hours!) and may get a bit boring in places, but viewers seemed to have liked it and I'm glad I was able to discuss several aspects of its development — especially secrets and hidden references that were never discussed before.
I'm looking forward to doing the same for the documentary in Asylum, which should be even more revealing!
Apparently, my "short and to the point" is equivalent to roughly a thousand words update. I may be physically unable to keep it shorter and to the pointer than that.