This 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.