Devlog Entry #1: Early designs and art
It all started because I wanted to make a new game for Android, after publishing my first app on Google Play I got some experience and I was ready to embark on a serious project. I wanted to make something I would like as a player; I don't play many games on my mobile device, the market is flooded with low quality titles and I don't find many games appealing .
I love puzzle games, so that seemed like a good option to start with, though I didn't want to develop another completely abstract project, don't get me wrong, I like abstract games but this time I wanted to add some kind of meaningful plot or context to the mix.
So I made a few basic prototypes, one of them evolved into what's our current project. It's about a guy who feels out of place, everything is alien to him and he just wants to figure out what the hells is going on. I designed some puzzles on paper and at this point it was closer to a LucasArts point&click adventure.
Later I realized that people feel the urge to express themselves and communicate, not being able to speak the language the rest of the people is using is awful, and that's exactly what's happening in the game to reinforce the feeling of isolation.
My next thought was "how cool would it be if you could learn the language". Using it to interact with the game would be like making an effort to change, understand and fit in. This idea took me to a new prototype.
This mechanic mimics the Android lock screen and it's used to draw symbols, your character will say whatever you draw. Some of these symbols have a meaning and can be used to interact with NPCs.
At some point of the development I thought this mechanic would be the main feature in the game but after some tests I saw too many downsides, instead of focusing on that we're just going to make it optional, which is what FEZ did. Do you want to solve a couple of puzzles, have fun and complete the game? That´s fine! Do you want to get more involved in the game and take your time? We'll make sure you have plenty of things to explore!
Language is how the theme of the game is represented through context and gameplay but it also needs a visual representation. You've seen some of the sketches and assets that Gustavo made for the creatures who appear in the game, but we still needed a protagonist for our adventure. We could have created an even weirder creature that didn't look like the others in the game, but we thought it would be better to have an average guy as the main character; someone the player can relate to.
After some time it all came down to one of these designs:
And the chosen one was ...
Right now we're still making puzzles and creating the world, there's lots of things to do and details to add, we have a long way ahead, but we're developing what I believe will be an interesting experience for the players, mixing classic puzzle mechanics with a setting that you'll want to explore.
As a developer I find it hard to speak about the project, I want to explain the origin ,and the meaning, but at the same time I want to leave it open to interpretation (or no interpretation at all if that's what you wish) but what I can say is that I am an experienced player and this is the kind of game I would play until I completed it, and I think that with a bit of luck most users will feel the same way.
Stay tuned for more news about "Missing Translation"!
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