Something(s) Wicked

Dear Insane Children, 

LOTS of progress on lots of things… I don’t even know where to start!

So… high on my list of tasks is to build the Pitch Deck for the Chinese Publisher we recently met with – which we’ll use to convince them to give us the money required to start a new studio and start building games… which will eventually lead to the development of Alice: Asylum. 

As I mentioned on our last live stream (you can watch it on YouTube), the idea is that we establish the studio and get our pipeline up and running with a smaller project – ostensibly based on “Oz” – and then build the next “Alice” once that team is fully prepared. Makes sense. This is exactly the model we used with Spicy Horse when we started on “Grimm” and built everything we need to develop Madness Returns. 

We already have one narrative for Oz that we previously shared and Crowd Designed here on Patreon. But I want to take another stab… this time going in a different direction. The basic premise is “plane crashes, survivors find themselves in a strange land… eventually realize it’s Oz…” and we’ve been messing around with story notes as such: 

Love this image, @Omri and very happy to see stuff like this getting made. It really captures some of the feel and story that I think will be important to the final game. Going off the comments from @Alex Crowley, it’s true that we could (and should) stumble upon a scene like this (and many more scenes like this) to tell the story of just how many planes, balloons, helicopters, and other conveyances have been sucked into Oz and wrecked. It’s fantastic and really gives us a cool foundation for a world full of survivors. 

But as Alex said, for our story, at the place where it starts, this would be too much, too soon. Purple forests and deadly sands would definitely give away the fact that we’re “not in Kansas anymore.” And I think we want to save that reveal for a bit later in the story. 

Now… there are variations on the story where we could go straight into “the shit” and see our plane crash survivors stumbling into the sand, dying instantly, freaking out at the purple landscape, maybe getting eaten by some surreal Purple Monster … and I am OK with keeping that as a note on our sketches. Where exactly do we want to start everything? 

Do we all have solid thoughts on that? 

Because the alternative to this image is one that just looks like “standard plane crash into generic forest” and I don’t know how useful that is… visually and from a narrative perspective. 

It really depends on the type of story we’re crafting. 

Variation #1 is “plane crashes into seemingly generic forest and survivors deal with generic plane crash stuff until later in the story they realize they aren’t in Kansas anymore.” 

Variation #2 is “plane crashes and OH SHIT what the fuck that guy just turned into sand, why is the forest purple, what the fuck is that thing? aahhhh!” 

People (the survivors) won’t know it is OZ but they will know it’s an alien landscape. I mean, people will know it’s OZ because we’ve told them in the marketing, the title, etc… so it’s like you’re just waiting around for the crash survivors to figure out the thing the audience already knows? 

How long is that fun for? 

Food for thought. 

Maybe #2 is better? 

What do you think? Should our crash survivors immediately confront the brutal reality of their situation? Or should it be something that slowly dawns on them as more and more strange things keep happening? 

Alex’s done some logos – which I love. But… I shared my thoughts about the “lost” aspect it with the team… 

Now… the big problem is the word “LOST” – it screams to me that this is a continuation of the “LOST” TV series. I think they broke that word. There’s also a serious potential they would come after us for using the name in the title like that… especially given that there’s some similarity between the stories, settings, etc. 

What can we do? “The Lost” or a synonym? Adrift, vanished, gone? 

This conversation always sucks. 

Anyway, I can post to Patreon and we can get some feedback. 

What do you think? Does the “Lost” part just immediately kill it for you? Or do you think we can make it work? We’ve got to get this right because, as I learned previously, it’s all in the name! 

Angry Rabbits

Martin will write a full post about this later – but quickly: This month (September) is the month where, if you pledge $75 before October, you can get the Plushie Dreadful “Angry Rabbit,” an “Angry” tote bag, and this month’s art print “The Watcher” – all very grrrr, all delivered straight to your door. And if this is your first month at $75 you’ll also get a Chaos Necklace. Super Grrr!

Speaking of Plushie Dreadfuls… 

Meet Scruffy Bumps. He’s a cat. From nightmares. Or maybe not… depends on what you consider nightmarish I guess? I’m hoping he turns out like a cross between an octopus and a fluffy black cat… but we do have some Crowd Design questions: 

First, just give us your general feedback. Do you even want Scruffy Bumps? Or would you toss him in a fire? And what do you think about his expression? Should it be cute or sinister? How about the tail… straight (like the legs) or fluffy (as pictured)? Any other ideas or feedback?

I’d ask you for Crowd Design feedback on this Wolf wearing a Pig… but, I mean, he’s kinda perfect isn’t he? I like how he looks uncertain about what he’s done. What do you think? 

Your Move

Wonderland is also receiving attention these days. Omri sent along this sketch of Alice meeting with the King and Queen of the Chess Realm. Of this he says: 

SO! my first thought is this, queen and king sitting and Alice comes into the chambers or something and they talk.

i also thought Alice can actually speak to THEM as a crowd. like maybe the king and queen can be absent and she takes a place of importance. i’ll keep digging, but i kinda like this drafty story frames. please feedback me and give me a direction.

And Alex jumped in with some feedback along these lines: 

Would it be worth exploring renders that are angled or closer to Alice?

Or that show a hierarchy in story telling between the characters, just to mix it up a bit?

Meanwhile, I continue to work on the overall narrative with Alex. And had some interesting ideas over the weekend which we’ll work in this week. Trying to tighten up our presentation of the general THEME of the game. 

Expect lots more story updates and art soon. 

Alright… that’s it from rainy Shanghai this afternoon. Look forward to all of your feedback in the comments below!

From Shanghai with Love, 


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