TLDR: We have been bad at telling you what's happening with the game, this post explains what's been going on. We're still developing it, but it has changed A LOT. La version française de ce poste arrivera la semaine prochaine.
18 months ago I posted something ridiculously hopeful about how Dead Cells would be available at the end of 2014… If only I had have know about Valve Time when I was spouting that crap! A year and-a-freaking-half later and I’m here scratching my head trying to work out how the hell this happened and how to explain to you what we’ve been up to, so here goes.
Since my last post (so much rubbish about a playtest…) a LOT of things have gone down. From the reorganisation of MT, to the development of Monster Hotel, we haven’t been idle. So let’s go back to just before that last post I made and work through the main events regarding Dead Cells one by one.
In June 2014 Motion Twin made a great decision in hiring me mouhahah! No no no, in June 2014 MT finished and released Uppercup Football, a game developed by deepnight and Carduus. This super duo then decided to unearth an old project called Hordes Zero, which they started working on straight away.
Somewhere during July 2014 deepnight, suffering from a good old case of “wtf am I doing with this game!?!” pulled out a machete and hacked Hordes Zero into Dead Cells. This was largely regarded as a ‘good move’.
In August 2014 we created a stand alone, single player version of this new Dead Cells to enter into the Independent Games Festival (IGF). You can check out the entry here, and I’ll try and get that version up online for you to play. We didn't win any prizes, unfortunately.
At the same time we decided to take the game to Gamescom in Germany and show some peeps. This was a great confidence boost for us, because a lot of people really did like the game. We won a few little prizes, which was nice and were approached by a whole bunch of publishers and people who were very interested in partnering with us.
From September to December 2014 we ran some Alpha tests (hark back to the previous blog post) and had a lot of positive feedback from the testers. There was just one little problem... The coopetition that we had envisaged was only fun if everyone was playing online at the same time. This is an important point and I’ll come back to it.
In December 2014, we looked for alternate fundings possibilities to cover part of the development cost of Dead Cells.
During the alpha testing we realised that the only way to effectively implement the coopetition that we wanted to create, was to accept the demands of a 100% real time multiplayer game... This posed enormous technical problems that we hadn’t taken into consideration and ultimately led to the restructuring of Motion Twin.
Given the burden and the financial risk posed by the enormous amount of time already spent on Hordes Zero, we decided to wait and see if we could obtain fundings for our project. We knew that if they didn’t finance the project we would have to kill it, anything else would have been reckless and actually endangered the survival of Motion Twin.
The application and selection process (as with everything that involves the French government) was looooong! The application itself involved about 15 Kg of paperwork... A provisional response was due in July/August 2015, but the official ok wouldn’t come until October of 2015.
While we waited for a response from the fundings, we started work on Monster Hotel, which was to be a short game finished in 2 months and released on the web and mobile. As you may have noticed, the development of the game ended up taking around 11 calendar months. This is when I discovered Valve time and the specific demands of video game development and project management in the digital economy...
In October of 2015 we received official confirmation that we would receive funding and signed the relevant paperwork (woot woot)! We were all super excited to get back to work on Dead Cells.
However, right at that moment, Apple and Google decided that they quite liked Monster Hotel and wanted to feature it on their app stores, on the condition that we added features XY and Z... Of course we jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately as the lead developer for Monster Hotel and Dead Cells was the one and only deepnight, that meant that we again pushed back the production of DC.
Fast forward to the end of December 2015 and Monster Hotel has been launched with a certain amount of success. The catch being, deepnight and Carduus have had enough of the game and were considering a murder suicide pact if they had to spend one more minute on it… They wanted to be working on Dead Cells. So we halted official development of MH and the guys dug up the DC files.
So this means that the beginning of 2016 has been entirely devoted to Dead Cells. We’ve now got a team of 5 people working on the game. Numerous publishers are waiting to see what we’ve come up with and many people are super happy with what we’ve done.
BUT you wouldn’t recognise the game.
Well given that this post is already waaaaay too long and the fact that the list of changes would be even longer… I’ll post another update next week with all of the things that we have changed.
Not to leave you hanging too much though, here’s a few BIG things that have changed:
I’ll be responding to questions on the forum, but I’ll post a detailed log of what has changed from one version to another as soon as have the list.
We're back baby!