2016 The year of… many games!

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Reading last year’s blog post, and comparing the situation with this year is… funny 🙂 In a good way though! In that blog, I also made a sort of prediction (to be taken with a grain of salt) of what I expected 2016 to be.

It’s interesting for me to look back at it, and see how things REALLY went. Let’s see:

  • January (end of it) – PSCD base game:  The game really came out in January! Good start.
  • February/March – C14 Dating: once again, success! C14 Dating was released in March 🙂
  • March/April – PSCD DLC (which will be 1/3 of base game so not so small!) : in this case, the DLC came out in June. However I also decided to cut the story made for it, but added a free play mode. So yes, failed this deadline, albeit not by much.
  • May/June – Never Forget Me and/or Heirs & Graces: Successfully released Heirs & Graces in June! Never Forget Me as you know was released in November as well!
  • July/August – Queen Of Thieves (this depends mainly on testing so it’s hard to give an estimate, but I really hope will be out by next Summer!): Well, the game was basically done in July/August, but  decided to wait until September and was a good move since I polished it and fixed a lot of obscure bugs.
  • Fall – the CURSED GAME and/or Undead Lily: haha nope! The writer focused on Roger Steel first, while the cursed game… wait. I must not speak of it! It’s not canceled though 😉
  • Winter – Summer In Trigue: writer took a sort of “sabbatical year”. I honestly was so busy releasing the games that I couldn’t use my traditional electrified spiked whip to “motivate”…

In summary, it was great. I managed to met a LOT of deadlines and in my kind of work, it’s something really uncommon! 🙂

And now presenting the…

Winter Wolves 2016 awards!

Haha I did this a few years ago, and now I want to do this again, FOR FUN! All the writers, artists and musicians that worked for me did a spectacular job. But like everyone, I have my own preferences, so I want to do this again. Of course your opinion may (and should!) differ!

Basically will make a sort of ranking for my own games in five categories: writing, art, music and gameplay. Once again, it’s based only on my tastes, it’s not a ranking of popularity/success/WHATEVER. Just my personal opinion! And my opinion is not so important, since I tend to make games based on users feedback.

Best writing

  1. Heirs & Graces
  2. Queen Of Thieves
  3. Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense
  4. C14 Dating
  5. Never Forget Me

This has never been tougher than this year! As always depends on tastes and interests. For example if you like archaeology, for sure you could put C14 Dating first! 🙂 Anyway for my specific tastes, I really liked Heirs & Graces, because of its “originality” and the bittersweet overall story. The happy/funny and the more serious/sad moments made the whole story really good.

Queen Of Thieves was worth playing just to read the scenes in which the sisters fight with each other. I never laughed so much reading a story before. Ah, and also Thalia. One of my favorite characters ever! Apart this, the rest of the story was also very well written I think.

PSCD was awesome, and my inner geek and sci-fi fan was very satisfied by the insane world building job. I liked in particular the tough choices and the consequences, and also the “political intrigue” parts. The romances were great – maybe not for everyone for the numerous sexual jokes, but personally I found them very funny.

C14 Dating is something you play when you want to relax. There are some moments of tension, more serious ones, but overall it’s a relaxing experience, one of those stories that you know will have an happy end, and I think in a moment like this, we need those 🙂

I put Never Forget Me as last, but only for a reason… since I wrote the storyboards myself, I didn’t want to seem presumptous by placing that one higher. I think the writer did a good job though, the scenes were a mix of funny but also touching moments. If  I hadn’t written the storyboards myself, probably I’d have placed this higher, because the married life is a topic that interests me.

Best artwork

  1. C14 Dating
  2. Queen Of Thieves
  3. Never Forget Me
  4. Heirs & Graces
  5. Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense

This was a tough call as well. I really love Queen Of Thieves art, in particular the character design. Those sisters are lovely. Oh and Arianna! Arianna… is totally hot, cute, sexy, awesome. However, Deji is really great. She is without doubts one of my favorite manga artist. The sprites are adorable, and Joan is a masterpiece. I’ve never seen a cutest character in a game! You just want to kiss and hug the screen whenever she shows up.
Never Forget Me art was the “usual”, I think perfect for an otome game. Heirs & Graces was well done too, the costumes in particular were really well done. For PSCD, yeah I know, the uncanny valley effect sometimes shows, but I liked it anyway. The alien art are the best ones I’ve seen in games!

Best music

  1. Queen Of Thieves
  2. C14 Dating
  3. Heirs & Graces
  4. Never Forget Me
  5. Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense

I think Queen Of Thieves theme song is one of the best of all my games. The soundtrack is also very well done. C14 Dating comes second, and I really liked the unique feeling and instruments of Heirs & Graces. Never Forget Me soundtrack is really good, and the theme song it’s also perfect for this kind of game. PSCD is last, but just because the others are so good. Even its music and theme song were great 🙂

Best gameplay

  1. Planet Stronghold: Colonial Defense
  2. Queen Of Thieves
  3. Heirs & Graces
  4. C14 Dating
  5. Never Forget Me

Told you this depends mainly on tastes, right? Well, I love card games, so for me is natural to say that PSCD had the best gameplay! However, even reading various reviews, it seems that the gameplay was universally acclaimed, even by people who normally don’t play card games. That made me happy 🙂
Queen Of Thieves had many innovations in the battle system, and I think the catacombs were really fun. I probably wouldn’t redo a randomized missions again in future games though.
Heirs & Graces and C14 Dating are very close. I put Heirs & Graces first just because I like more the scheduler+skill checks approach than C14 Dating minigames, but I know many players really enjoyed those minigames, so once again depends on tastes.
Never Forget Me had some innovations in the scheduler, like the goal-based system, however it essentially was simpler than the others, so seems fair to place it last for gameplay.

In conclusion, I think this year I made very different games, games for all tastes! I don’t know if I’ll ever repeat a year like this (also because many games were in the work since a while, that’s why I managed to release so many).

Probably not. Also because the next games are almost all RPGs…!! and will of course take a while to finish each of them!

Next blog post will be my first of 2017, in which I’ll try to predict what will happen. One thing is sure: I won’t release 5 games in 2017!!

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11 Responses to 2016 The year of… many games!

  1. Franka says:

    I would have to rate the Queen of Thieves story as the worst for this year. I thought the main story was terribly short, and at times rather confusing (Raoul is now… a DEMON LORD, HAHA!). In fact, I’d better not review this game when it comes out on steam. 😉 I did enjoy the romances a lot though, so it wasn’t all bad!

    And hell yeah, PSCD best gameplay of the year, definitely.

    • admin says:

      Well because he wanted to become immortal like Arianna 😉 what use is a hot babe who doesn’t age if you grow old!!?!? 😀
      But yes definitely the romances were the best part. I think the main issue was making a story when the gameplay was made with random robberies. That’s why in the unannounced Dingirra game (same writer) we made a clearer storyboard with all the steps and the main story should be better, with some interesting plot twists 🙂

  2. Bob The Mob says:

    Hopefully (can’t make any promises) this won’t become blog-length itself, but I felt like speaking my piece (and apologies for not being able to say much w/ H&G; just not really one for same-gender romances in games [NOT *AGAINST* PEOPLE WHO ARE SUCH IN REAL LIFE, THOUGH] nor PSCD since card games on a screen an’t my thing) :

    Best writing
    1. Queen Of Thieves
    2. C14 Dating
    3. Never Forget Me

    [I have just one thing in this that I wasn’t to keen on: Mary-Ann was WAAAAY to forward–creepy, even, w/ when the sisters first visited. XP Just wanted to put that out there…]—–LOVED the arguments the sisters had, as well as many of Thalia’s lines in general. “I was only trying to grope you.” XD Classic! We need more like this–Roommates-style games. 😀
    CD also was awesome, esp. w/ the numerous references to Indiana Jones, and to various video games w/ Shoji.
    Haven’t yet finished NFM and so I really can’t say for certain how I feel about it overall, but from what I’ve played it seems pretty cool.

    Best artwork
    1. C14 Dating
    2. Queen Of Thieves/Never Forget Me (tie)

    Deji’s work was awesome: Melissa is the cutest dame I’ve seen outside of Aravorn in Winter Wolves games and the chibis made for some really funny moments (esp.in the dating parts). 😀
    QOT had some of the coolest sprites to date in terms of enemies (ex.: the knights) as well as the fact that this time around armor was visible on the warriors rather than being listed on-screen but not shown [NOT MEANT AS AN ATTACK; simply an observation].
    From what I’ve thus far seen w/ NFM the art is epic; I’ve always loved manga. Haven’t played much, so I can’t really say more than that. (Other than [as I’ve said before] there NEEDS to be a male version at some point–many of the ladies in that game are damn fine…)

    Best music
    Queen Of Thieves/C14 Dating/Never Forget Me (3-way tie depending on what kinda mood I’m in)

    What I mean by that: QOT’s music has a lot of fast-paced kinds of things, w/ the battles and such; I want something like that when I wanna get HYPED.
    CD’s music has for the most part a “chill” kinda feel to it; I tend to play games like that when I wanna relax and unwind.
    NFM has–esp. w/ the main theme–a very soothing way about it, making it perfect for mellow-out kinds of situations.

    Best gameplay
    1. Queen Of Thieves/C14 Dating (tie)
    2. Never Forget Me

    The catacombs in QOT were a welcome thing since in the last Aravorn RPG I played, SOTW, there weren’t any grinding areas; I love having places that can be used again and again to level up. I also found it cool w/ how the money was going to that mysterious hooded figure and we were kept in suspense as to what the entity’s intentions were; would really like to see a sequel and/or DLC explaining who they were and what their intentions were.
    CD–I always did dig puzzles, of any kind; they are to the Mind what barbells are to the Body, as I see it. And so the cave puzzles were a lot of fun. (It was also cool that one could form images by filling in squares; make things that looked like sprites from old-school 8-bit games and use the save feature to keep those images. Not sure if anyone else did that, but I found it fun. 🙂 )

    So yeah–overall, awesome stuff made this year, Jack!!! 😀

    • Bob The Mob says:

      (Self-head slap)

      Re: the gameplay in NFM–I like it, I like the challenge of trying to get certain things leveled up by a certain time, as well as the flavor text that shows up, esp. when there’s comedy (ex., at the movies, when Amy says she’s inspired to fight crime in spandex 😀 ).

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂
      Some random notes: I want to have a male game illustrated by NFM artist too. Of course not now (too many things going on already) but in future yes.
      I don’t understand why people say PSCD no because card games aren’t my type: but you can play it as a pure visual novel if you want! 😀 And also a VN with a lot of choices->consequences, so even taken as pure VN, I think is one of my most interesting stories (from gameplay/branching point of view).
      Anyways, maybe if I redo it with new art people will be more interested in trying 😛

      • Bob The Mob says:

        That last part:

        For the record, I personally found the artwork in PSCD to be awesome! 😀

        I wouldn’t change it, myself. 🙂

  3. Laineygirly says:

    Yay! Cursed game not cancelled! Whoo hoo! Great year, keep it up. 🙂

  4. CarterNick says:

    Yay! Can’t wait for the cursed game!

    We need more power to carry it through! 😀

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