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Project Fates Devlog 0: What are we making again?


A huge question that I've been asked about our first game "Critter Crops" from other developers is "How did you even come up with this? Like why THIS game?".


The corporate or collegiate answer would usually fall somewhere between "Analytic, popularity, research blah blah blah". For us, that's not it. Everyone on our team IS a gamer. It's a requirement to be a part of Team SkyReach.


We start by asking "What games do WE want to play that don't exist". That's the story of Critter Crops: Mystery of Mullery Mansion and will be the case for all titles made by our studio.

 

Here are the key elements that we considered for our second venture outside of just the "WDWW (What do we want) factors :

  • What platform(s) do we want to tackle?

  • Do we want multiplayer?

  • Is it free to play or premium?

  • Will it leverage Live-Ops capabilities?

  • 2D, 2.5D or 3D?

  • Quickfire or full production?

For us, we wanted to expand on the Critter Crops brand. That we knew for sure. But how? We defined the WDWW factors and narrowed things down pretty quickly.


We wanted something quickfire. An easy to implement title that we could pump out quickly and efficiently to the fans of Critter Crops. Something within a 6-8 month window of the CC:MMM launch.


Additionally, we wanted to include multiplayer and character customizability. These were features we would have loved to be a part of CC:MMM but it just wasn't reasonable on the time and budget we had. This also determined for us that we would stick to the same visual style as the flagship game, however we planned to expand to include 2.5D elements much like that of paper mario to maximize the customizability of the world without running into the issues we did in the first game.


Lastly, we decided to target Free to Play and Mobile platforms with a heavy emphasis on Live-Ops and seasonal content. This left us in a position to make a growing game that could expand as our studio expands.


Discussions arose about the game Crystal had attempted to make as a TCG before Critter Crops called Portal Tamers. Although that whole venture was a huge flop, there was potential there.

So, we decided that with so many lovers of trading card games on our team, we would expand Critter Crops into a card collection game with an emphasis on character customization and personality.


From there we dove into the nuances of what things popular digital card games did well and what we felt was left to be desired. Shockingly there was a lot that we felt was missing from the popular card games on the market. We found our niche!


The team got to work drafting up a set of general gameplay rules and creating mockup cards and boards on paper. Testing a card game is tough work and despite the wholesome nature of the game, this card game was no exception.


We decided to create a game that landed somewhere between "Cookie Run Kingdom, Magic the Gathering: Arena and Maplestory".


The main thing we found was that cardgames generally do not encourage customization or any real world interaction with other players. They also generally always feature very masculine visual design. We planned to change that.


Scoping

Coming up with a concept is the easy part! It's deciding what to do with that concept that is the difficult part. And not only that, but HOW you intend to achieve what you set out to do.

This is where things like mind maps and mood boards came in. We were able to quickly put on paper the things we expected to see of hand and dwindle down the list to key features that would be sensible and easy to implement on the first iteration prototype. For some elements this is where we had to research best practices. For example, multiplayer engine needed research, as well as best way to have a character like those in Paper Mario and allow them to be customized.


We also got to dive into character, story and visual scopes. We came up with tons of visuals and landed on a logo and name for the game.

This all solidified the idea and really helped us to visualize the style. It stayed true to the original game while bringing a slightly new flair.


Prototyping


From there, it was time to get to work! We created a basic walkthrough tutorial/prototype showing the basic features, gameplay flow and visual design. This led us to a position where we had material to share with investors and publishers. It also gave a starting point for moving into a more official capacity for the future of the game. This all happened in the span of about one month!


So what's next?


Well, we ended up actually getting to take part in the Wingsfund/Netflix/Code Coven mentoring and prototyping program called Elevate! So our goal now is to solidify the gameplay for a fully functional prototype and to hopefully bring the game to an early access launch or something after the program concludes!




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