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I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately with the updates. Can you believe it’s been 2 and a half months since my last one? It has been a bit strange for me not doing updates because it was such a part of my routine. We are planning a kickstarter for our next game, Devastated Dreams, so I’ll be able to return to the comfort of my routine shortly I hope! :)
Here is a trailer for Devastated Dreams:
If you’d like to get an overview of our next game, check out this article about it on Polygon.com. I realize it may seem a little weird to send you a link to an interview rather than just talking about it myself, but I’ve actually found that having an interviewer or an editor going through my statements and keeping the ones with the most impact is really helpful. There are so many things I love about Devastated Dreams, but sharing it with someone else always help me refine my message.
With Neverending Nightmares, there were a lot of different aspects to it that were cool to me at least – the personal message, the art style, the audio, the branching narrative, etc. I didn’t know what the best thing to say about the game was since I liked all of it. After doing a few interviews, I learned a lot. The branching narrative didn’t really resonate with people, so I talked less about it as time went on, but the personal message did, so that became the focus of my future PR.
With Devastated Dreams, I feel the same way. There are so many things that appeal to me about the game. It is still very personal. My wife and I are expecting our first child, and it’s actually been quite terrifying. I’m not sure I can really describe how terrifying it can be – how powerless you feel to protect something you love so much that at least at the beginning – is a formless blob. Some pregnancies aren’t viable, and that is a terrible cloud hanging over the excitement of bringing a new life into this world.
Neverending Nightmares was about showing my fears to the world that I couldn’t express any other way, and this game is very similar. My fears now surround my child, which are perhaps more relatable. My OCD magnifies everything of which I’m afraid, and that will always be a battle, but I suspect I’m not the only expectant parent who is terrified that something could happen to my beautiful child. I say beautiful child, but from the ultrasound pictures we’ve seen, it’s kind of tough to tell that it IS a child. My child is beautiful to me! It is crazy how quickly you feel attached to a tiny collection of cells.
Another aspect of the game that it really interesting to me is the settings in the rural Philippines. My wife is from the Philippines, so I would say I have more interest in the region than the average person. However, I’ve found that it is super interesting, and I think you’ll see when you play Devastated Dreams what I mean. In America, we have legends of vampires, werewolves, Bigfoot, and so on. In the Philippines they have aswang – which is sort of a blanket term for all the different types of monsters. The monsters are pretty twisted – most prey on children born and unborn, which makes them the perfect manifestation of fears for someone expecting a child.
I’m also very excited about the story and the world building we are doing for Devastated Dreams. The Philippines is a developing country, and being a sheltered American, I didn’t really understand how people live in other places. I feel embarrassed for being ignorant, but sometimes you really have to see something to believe it.
I visited the Philippines in 2013, and it was an eye opening experience. When we visited a rural area without electricity, I felt scared. I feel scared a lot, but it’s almost always mental fears tied into worries and catastrophizing. When we were riding in a van along a road in a rural area of Coron, there were no street lights, stores were lit by candles, and there were nipa huts (grass and bamboo houses that are common in the Philippines) in the middle of a dark forest. I imagined myself in one, and I felt a very visceral fear that I was unsafe. There was nothing threatening me, but the unfamiliar and dark jungle felt dangerous throughout every cell in my body. I knew then that it would be a great setting for a horror game. It is also one that would be unique and hopefully eye opening about poverty other places in the world.
The story of the game is a really important facet to Devastated Dreams. Some people were disappointed that Neverending Nightmares didn’t have more of a story. It was meant to be abstract and symbolic like a nightmare you can’t quite understand, but Devastated Dreams is going to be more story based. I love games with great stories, and I think we have a lot of interesting things to say in our new game. To me though, I think story by itself isn’t all a game can offer. I want to create a universe that doesn’t fall apart (to steal a phrase from my favorite author, Philip K. Dick).
Getting lost in the world of a video game is an amazing feeling. That’s why I am such a fan of Panzer Dragoon and Silent Hill. I feel like I could really exist in those worlds. That is especially impressive in Panzer Dragoon Saga (released for the Sega Saturn) and the original Silent Hill (on PS1) where they managed to create these worlds with polycounts in the thousands. World building can really help a story-driven game. Imagine what Gone Home would have been like without the Christmas Duck, VHS tapes with recordings of X-Files episodes, and a world that really took you back to the 90s. My personal opinion is that it would have been a lot less compelling. I found what the residents in Metro 2033 had to say almost more interesting than the story of the game since it revealed so much about their condition. We want to create something that shows you what the Philippines is like and have a narrative that fits into that. This may sound ambitious, but I think we are creating something really special.
If you are excited about this project, fear not! There will be more information coming. We are looking at running a kickstarter for the game probably in July, and we’d love your support to help polish our kickstarter page, and to suggest what you’d like to see on the forum. Hopefully my commitment to the backers on Neverending Nightmares has shown that I take my kickstarter project creator duties seriously, so I believe the next campaign will be even stronger than this one.
As always, thank you so SO much for your support on Neverending Nightmares!
PS. In celebration of our announcement, Neverending Nightmares is 66% off on Steam, so if you are looking for a gift for a horror loving friend, now’s a good chance to pick it up. :)
PPS. Please check out Apartment: A Separated Place on Kickstarter. Its campaign is ending today, and it is a really interesting project about relationships. I’m a huge proponent about “dramatic” games – games that are about people and not action, so I’m SUPER excited about it.
PPPS. Have you seen Perception? A horror adventure game staring a blind woman? Yes please! :)
PPPPS. It’s a boy! :-D
I just got back from the post office because I was sending out the postcards and bookmark add-ons. That means we have officially fulfilled all the backer rewards. WE ARE DONE! Whoo hoo! We had to resend a few packages, but I think with a few exceptions, everyone should have their rewards by now.
If you are missing digital rewards, use the Humble Key Resender to get the codes/links. If you haven’t received a package, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do. There were quite a few international letters for the postcards and bookmarks, so I’m not sure when those will arrive, but hopefully soon.
Fulfilling all the kickstarter rewards is a great weight lifted off of my shoulders. While we were on time with the game, the physical rewards and special backer portraits, paintings, etc took way longer than I expected. I’m actually quite embarrassed that it took us until now to get everything out! However, compared to other successful kickstarters, I think we did okay. It is tough to deliver everything by the date you pick near the start of the project!
Now that I’m done, I can focus all my efforts on the next game, which is shaping up to be pretty exciting. The name has been a bit of a sticking point though. If you’d like to join the discussion, we have a thread on the backers only forum. (If you haven't set up an account yet, use your kickstarter email, and it should automatically grant you access. Otherwise, let me know) It also includes juicy details about the setting and antagonist of the game, so if you are impatient, check it out and leave a comment!
I’d like to thank everyone again for your help making my dream of making Neverending Nightmares come true! Developing the game was an amazing experience, and I really couldn’t have done it without your help. We are going to be turning to kickstarter again for our next project, so if it isn’t too much to ask, I hope I can count on your support next time. Thank you so so so so much!
PS. Have you seen the latest Humble Weekly Bundle? There is a great selection of monochromatic games including Neverending Nightmares for $10 up. It ends tomorrow morning, so check it out soon. :)
PPS. Is anyone else excited about a new Toejam and Earl? I know I am! Kickstarter is awesome at giving creators a chance to revisit types of games that aren't being made now.
Does anyone suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia? (That means fear of Friday the 13th!) I don’t, but I am hoping no misfortune befalls me today anyway. :) I am planning to have a Friday the 13th movie marathon with my wife, so suffering through "Jason Goes To Hell" is probably the worst thing that will happen to me. :)
To celebrate this horrific day, I posted a special developer dairy talking about the roles Friday the 13th, superstition, and folklore may serve in modern societies. This hints at some of the things I've been thinking about for the next game, so if you have been waiting for me to drop clues about the next project, here’s the first! (Granted, it is only a tiny clue)
We are almost done with rewards. The end is in sight! Adam shipped out the backer paintings, and pretty much every domestic package SHOULD have been received. If you live in the US or Canada and didn’t receive your backer rewards (with the exception of the postcards, bookmarks, and pins - I'm still working on those), please contact me at email@example.com. I’m still need some addresses for the other add-ons, so if I emailed you about that, let me know. If you ordered a bookmark or postcard and haven’t heard from me, feel free to reach out, and I’ll check my records.
Anyway, thank you all for your support! I hope you all have a very lucky Friday the 13th!