Thoughts on Writing The Detail

TheDetail_bundle_XL HeaderThis Thursday marks the release of the third and final episode of The Detail. For me, it also marks the completion of the first game I have ever worked on. My position as Lead Writer on the project was the result of numerous coincidences, which began with me being invited to “consult a little on the dialogue”. Thanks to these coincidences, I now write games instead of writing about them as a journalist.

It is cliche to say that it has been one hell of a ride, but it is also the most honest way to describe these past three years. I thought that I knew a thing or two about game development going in, but the amount of things I’ve learned shines a brutal light on my past ignorance. Also, I am far from all-knowing now. Each day is a lesson.

I wanted to do something a little different with The Detail, to subvert some of the common neo-noir cliches by injecting the atmosphere with a more low-key sort of Nordic melancholia. How much of this intent can be observed in the finished product is left to each individual player. I know now how “nuance” becomes “nice to have but not necessary” in the production schedule. I know how saying X to an artist can produce a Z. A very nice Z, mind you, but it is still not an X.

Now, I am not trying to trash-talk our team here, far from it. Bringing what I’ve written onto your screens requires a chain of people passing a highly complicated message from one end of the chain to the other, and things can and will happen along the way. Learning to communicate between different departments was one of the many challenges we faced, but it is one that we managed to tackle to an extent, and learned much from.

The Detail is thus the product of a continuing process. The team improved constantly with each episode, and can now approach new challenges with a sure footing. Even if we were mostly “learning on the job”, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and feel that The Detail is a game that is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of its more established genre peers. It is my fond hope that once you’ve played our game, you will feel the same way.

The Detail Episode 2 is Coming Soon!

Hey there strangers!

As you may have noticed, it has been quite a while since we published the first episode of The Detail. Some concerns have been raised by the community, but worry not. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it isn’t even that oncoming train this time. The second episode, From the Ashes, is in active production, and will be released in May 2015!

Coming SoonNow for the assorted explanations and excuses.

Rival Games has always been about forging our own path as a company and making the kinds of games that we want to play ourselves. Unfortunately this automatically puts us at odds with the prevailing trends in the marketplace. The popularity of mobile free-to-play is waning thanks to oversaturation, but it is still the go-to choice for many investors. They find it hard to wrap their heads around the idea of a game with no match-3 mechanics that you actually have to pay for. Crazy concept, we know.

This does put us in a tricky position, trying to find funding while flying the indie flag. It is a balancing act, but despite the somewhat slow progress, we have continued to lean towards “keeping it real”, for your sakes as well as ours.

We are determined to give you a full season of The Detail, be it by hook or by crook. It may result in a certain “elasticity” in our schedules, but we feel it is a fair price to pay. Speaking of price, we will be rewarding our community with certain discounts as a way of saying thank you for your patience. You keep believing in us, and we’ll keep believing in you!