If your favourite games were made in the 1990s or 2000s, it may be obvious to you that narrative-driven games are in demand. Yet, if you are a professional investor, you are more likely to be convinced by the numbers.
The space of Venn-diagram of investors who also happen to like narrative-driven single-player games AND believe in the commercial potential of narrative-driven games in 2023 is (still) small indeed.
What’s obvious to you is not obvious to others. Indeed, what’s obvious to us is not necessarily obvious to you. So, from complete to least complete, here are the phases of development of Total Rendition:
Total Rendition is complete and has reached its intended result, having about 40 hours of gameplay, dozens of levels, original in-game art, voice-overs and multi-platform availability, all on par with established AAA studios (though still with the maverick sensibilities which SchiZotypy stand out in the larger video games landscape). This is when Early Access will be ended.
Total Rendition is in a typical state for most Early Access titles. It is audio-visually largely complete, having original in-game art, a multitude of missions and voice-overs, as Total Rendition’s story is unfolding episodically; it may have some bugs; it is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, though is not yet available for consoles. As of September 2022, we yet have to reach that phase.
Phase 2 (current)
This is where Total Rendition is currently at as of May 29th. It is mostly complete gameplay-wise, although virtually all of the in-game art are placeholders. Moreover, it lacks many animations and polish and has no voice-overs. At this point, SchiZotypy Games is leveraging Total Rendition’s Early Access for gaining traction needed to attract investors to help us reach phase 3, rather than earning revenue from Early Access sales.
Total Rendition has successfully passed that stage. This phase lasted from 2018 to 2022 and involved drafting the design documents and developing the prototype into becoming gameplay mechanic-complete.
All this talk involving “investors” may sound highly cynical. It may give you the false impression I would be some sort of wannabe tech bro. While “indie” developers may have their gimmicks, professionals focus on logistics.
Great games are made not only with good design or technical abilities. Good logistics are essential, since game development often involves many people working on one title (and people generally can’t work for free). Yet, if this was obvious, I probably wouldn’t need to mention it here.
On the other hand, I’m firmly convinced that a renaissance of narrative-driven gaming will only be brought about by starting from scratch. The large publishers have abandoned the format, so now we must prove them wrong.
See you next time!