A lot of things have happened this month to cause the overhaul of the game as you knew it.
Two weeks ago, we had an important committee meeting where we got bad feedback on the game. Actually, the prototype we showed was not fun and it seems the gameplay elements were tasteless. This committee expects innovation, or at least fresh gameplay mechanisms, which our gameplay didn't have.
From this point, we had two options:
- rework the concept and try to make something fun from the basis we have,
- or to start again from scratch
The first option seemed to us quite dangerous. It appeared that the groundwork of the original concept was not well enough defined, which would probably prevent us from enhancing it pertinently. Trying to reclaim this shaky game was not a conceivable option. We were not involved enough in the game conception and our lack of experience drove us to make lots of mistakes.
That's why we threw away almost everything to start a new game. We have just kept the human body theme and some intentions like using a biological behavior to set up the core gameplay.
New intentions and concept
For our new concept, we wanted to correct three problems of the original concept: lack of dynamism, lack of originality and, the most important, lack of fun. In the new Alife concept, we really want the player to enjoy himself from the very moment he launches the game. For that reason, we chose to give priority to one single but appealing idea which stands out for the game principle. This idea was inspired by games such as Twisted Pixel's Splosion Man, that manage to keep the player interested from the beginning to the end with a clear gameplay which evolves smoothly throughout the game. The whole challenge is having fun, nice idea around which we can build an accessible but profound gameplay.
The result is the following: player controls a lonely neuron which travels inside a cryo-preserved human body, by clinging to anything it finds and emitting micro electric shocks and enables him to benefit from various reactions in the environment. Its aim is to unfreeze the body and get it back to life. The neuron is not able to move by itself and will have to use its grappling dendrites to progress throughout the level. The exploration part has been decreased, game is now divided into short levels to obtain a more dynamic progression. Basically, we want the player to experiment: any element on the screen will react differently to the player's stimuli. We want each level to be a balanced concoction of puzzle and action: puzzle when you plan your way throughout the exit and experiment with various solutions; action when you actually moves by simply touching where he want to cling to. We do think this will make a game far more dynamic, appealing and fun than the previous one.
What will happen now
Starting from scratch in the middle of the year makes the situation difficult but all of our work is not lost. We have now to make sure we complete the game on time and we will be really concentrated on the project until June, when the final prototype is submitted. We want to present a pack of short levels illustrating our concept in the best possible way. We will keep you informed of the evolution of the project by upcoming posts.