The Toughest Part Of These Updates Is Coming Up With A Good Title
Last time we spoke I was readying for Gamescom, allegedly the world's largest trade fair for games but secretly a haven for the adventure genre. It's hard to believe that already three weeks have passed since then. Too much is going on these days, so I'm to keep this update as focused as possible and talk about the events that transpired last month.
As usual, Gamescom was an amazing time. It's not only a terrific week for developers and gamers alike, but for me it's also about meeting with friends and the most awesome people working in the industry. To be honest, I thought it was going to be more relaxed than previous years since we didn't release any promotional materials and we aren't ready to share code with the press, so my intention was to keep things rather low key. Turns out this year was the craziest yet before I knew it, I had dozens of meetings lined up in my schedule thanks to Kimara Rouwit who is assisting us with PR and marketing (by the way, happy birthday girl!), and also because I stalked many journalists. It was a week of non-stop action, very few hours of sleep, constantly running around the fair from meeting to meeting, but extremely rewarding. It was especially an interesting experience to sit down with people who didn't hear about Asylum and see their reactions.
As horrible as it is to show a moody game that demands attention and the right mindset in a noisy, busy trade fair, it was very well received, even in its early form and in spite of the anti-moody situation. People were impressed with the visuals, the introspective gameplay, and overall attention to detail. They were also very curious about the story which I didn't (and won't!) discuss long after the game has been released. Besides showing the full intro, which you've already seen, I explained how the first moments of Asylum will unfold, what happens when you enter the Hanwell Mental Institute, the first major puzzle you must solve (involving our Unique Inmate!), how you will interact with characters, how the protagonist evolves and changes the mood as you make progress and uncover disquieting secrets… In all truth, I did mention a few aspects of the story, mostly how it operates on different levels, including an intriguing duality that should be familiar to fans of Scratches. I stressed that it's a complex plot that will greatly reward your curiosity and dedication: the more you prowl for answers, going deeper in your quests, the more it reveals. In fact, I talked way too much, and by the end of the week I barely had any voice left (though the copious amounts of beer probably didn't help either).
This lovely article by Astrid Beulink (aka PolloDiablo) on Adventure Gamers sums up the whole presentation very nicely: Gamescom 2013 round-up: Part 3
You've known most of these things for some time now but I disclosed a couple of new details which are mentioned on that article. In any case, and to keep this update short, I'll get back to more in-depth revelations soon. The team has been producing terrific new content, including characters of remarkable quality, and I've been heavily working on the Dagon engine. A new release is just around the corner, one that the Linux users among you in particular will cherish (you will be able to test all the latest improvements with the readily available Interactive Teaser). Asylum is looking and feeling far better than we ever expected, and as soon as we wrap-up a couple of milestones, we will do a new gameplay video to show you where we're standing.
Guess what? We finally had a proper Backer MeetUp™! It was amazing to meet so many of you, some again, some for the first time, and discuss Asylum in situ (hope you were able to listen to what I had to whisper). This took place during the famed Adventure-Treff party, that magical moment for fans of adventure games that happens once a year, so we had the best possible environment.
To celebrate the occasion, I brought with me Official Asylum™ Posters®! They were a bit too dark (OK, they were very dark), but not too shabby for a first attempt. All the backers who attended took one back home, though I seem to have distributed fifteen (a bit more than the ten backers that I remember), so other unworthy non-backers might have taken advantage of my generosity. The idea is to produce several different posters and allow every backer who pledged on a tier including physical goods to pick any of them as an extra gift. Surpriiiiiise!
In the meantime, all of you may download a super high-definition digital poster in case you want to print it yourselves. Right now. Right over here.
That will be all for today. There's much more to share, so stay tuned as usual. Have a great weekend!
P.S.: You know that Jan Kavan and I are good friends and I still appreciate how many of you rallied to assist him in his J.U.L.I.A. campaign. I can't finish this update without mentioning one of the very best moments of my week in Cologne, which was becoming the first person to play a brand new game in a worldwide exclusive. It's… it's… I can't put this into words:
Produced by CBE Software (essentially Jan Kavan and Lukas Medek), this title challenges the very definition of "video game". It invites you to ponder about life, technology, and boredom. It also features the absolute best finger tapping animation ever seen in a video game. Download here for free.
P.P.S.: Another shout-out to Laney Berry who I also met that week. She's the creator of The St. Christopher's School Lockdown, which I believe several of you also backed. This is hands down one of my most anticipated games with a highly original concept and huge potential.
P.P.P.S.: Because there aren't enough screens on this update, here's a brief exchange that I had with a dweller of the Internet. It illustrates the dangers of playing too much Call of Duty.
P.P.P.P.S.: Hope that was focused enough.