Hey, everyone. I figured I should update on the status of The Turtle Who Had Wings, as well as my status, personally.
Right now, I’ve just made it through the first month of my final semester at UOIT for my Legal Studies undergrad. Of course, this means that I’ve finished applying to a variety of law schools and am waiting for responses. My GPA is passable and my LSAT score was good, so I think I have a decent shot, but we’ll see. For insurance purposes, I’ve basically applied just about everywhere in Canada except for the lost causes. Well, actually, I did apply to one lost cause – Toronto, but only because it’s really easy to commute to (second-easiest after York). Something of note that’s different from the US (which is where most of my readership lives, it seems), is that Canada has less than 20 law schools and getting into one is what weeds out applicants, unlike the US and their huge variety of law schools and weeding people out with the bar exam. So, while this wouldn’t be as suspenseful in the US, it is in Canada.
Putting that aside, I managed to find two replacement artists for The Turtle Who Had Wings to replace Icy since his withdrawal from the project for personal reasons a while back (haven’t discussed this with them yet, but they more than likely go by Winsonian and Locust online). Great, right? Well, not exactly. I don’t know what it is with me and artists, but every single one seems to come with their own set of personal issues slowing the project down. It’s to be expected, but at the same time, Atman never displayed any such issues with working on the music aside from his short spell of musician’s block, even though he was working on another game’s soundtrack for a friend of his.
Either way, if these two artists stick with the project, then we have a target release window of late 2015 or any point in 2016 for the game to be released. I started on this game when I was wrapping up grade 12 in 2010, so the game will have been in development for about 6-7 years. This sounds like a long time, and it is, but it is simultaneously a big deal and not a big deal. The reason why it would be the latter should be obvious to anyone who’s been following the blog, actually: My education came first. I’ve been working on this in my spare time, not as a full-time thing. I’ve grown significantly, in many different ways, over the course of the project, and have slid from idealist to cynic over the course of that time. At no point was I feeling stagnant while working on the project.
However, the reason why it’s a big deal may prove to be fairly fatal. You see, in that time, mechanics I wished to display in The Turtle Who Had Wings, mechanics that were rare, became increasingly common as genres grew in that direction. A central part of the game has always been the presence of an *actually competent* AI partner that you could switch control to at any time, who played very differently from the other character, effectively creating a single-player co-op game. The thing is that I’m now seeing more of those games pop up the more I look. For one thing, the mechanic seems to be central to Senran Kagura 2: Crimson, which was recently announced for 3DS, but I’m lucky in that their application of such mechanics are different.
I’ve previously seen action games with character-swapping in Mystical Chain, Ys Seven, Ys: Memories of Celceta, Sonic Heroes and Kingdom Hearts 3D, all of which had a different approach. Mystical Chain had the characters play differently and one would become more powerful than the other based on ratio of use. Ys gave the characters different traversal skills and used a rock-paper-scissors sort of armor system on enemies. Sonic Heroes forces you to switch between characters to get through the levels. Kingdom Hearts 3D is what would happen if the ideal switch time in The Turtle Who Had Wings was mandatory and automatically-done, not a suggestion, then does a confusing thing with two storylines at the same time.
What was very jarring, however, was seeing the release of Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: The Battle Pentagram, which caught my eye shortly after the screening of the series’ third movie. In a rather shocking twist, aside from the absence of some of the more radical ideas in The Turtle Who Had Wings, and adjusting for the series’ license and setting, the two games play almost exactly the same. Those following me on Twitter will already be aware of the fact that I proceeded to make that my first imported game ever, to learn from its mistakes. I am both happy and sad to say that the game would not have sold without its license, as it does a lot of things wrong and a handful of things better than I did. That deserves its own post, however.
Overall, though, as indies need something unique to stand out, I needed to figure out what, exactly, would stand as the game’s core mechanic in terms of marketing. The only ones that aren’t present in most other games are the Sync and Multiplier mechanics. Of those, the Multiplier seems easier to market…
So I suppose I’d pitch the gameplay like this:
Control two characters at once as you blast your way through waves of enemies. Every move affects your stats, thus affecting your next move. This is a frantic solo-co-op action game where you have to think out your every move when you have no time to think! So, how will you fight?
And the story like this:
Sometimes, to save everyone, you have to lie to someone. There are times when forgeries must be made at all costs, to save those you hold dear to you, and the place they call home. But, when those who were lied to discover what has been done, how will they react? It can be surprising to find out just how many people don’t even consider the possibility. This is the story of the greatest forgeries to ever exist.
…Well, we’ll have to see how that turns out. I don’t know how I feel about that.
As things stand, I’m still working on level design, which has not been easy, while making minor gameplay adjustments. Some of which were and will be made in light of what I saw when playing The Battle Pentagram.
But yeah. I hope this has brought you up to speed. As things stand, I still need to secure funds for the 3D models (I’ve found the funds for most of the more minor costs, like voicing), but otherwise everything else is on track for a potential late 2015 release.
P.S. I’m using my power as project lead to add The Best Forgery Ever as the game’s subtitle, since it’ll need one anyway with how the story’s set up. kthxbai.