Last week’s announcement took me by surprise – or rather, the overwhelming response to that post took me by surprise. I knew the Redwall community was big…really big. What I hadn’t accounted for is how active you are, how connected, how ENGAGED! And of course many of you are asking questions that I can start to answer here, though for many of you this post wont tell you all the things you’re really looking for. Still – it’s a start.
Here are a few core thoughts we’re working with on this proejct.
- The Story is Sacrosanct.
We’re going with the core notion that this is in no way a reboot or a ‘re-imagination’ or any of that silly nonsense. The Redwall books are awesome as-is and staying true to what Brian Jacques wrote is of critical importance.
To that end, we don’t want to create anything that alters the story and by extension can’t make a game that allows a player to change the story…at least not in any big ways.
- Redwall World == Huge. Soma Games < Redwall World
The world defined across 22 books is immense. It spans generations, perhaps centuries depending how you measure your mouse-time. With that fact well in mind, even a BA studio like EA would find it daunting. Nary a game-designer could build a single game that got it all in one place. Ergo, don’t cockily attempt the impossible.
- Quality is More Important Than Quantity
Since Soma Games started we’ve held quality, especially artistic quality, as a core value. With Redwall, that will be even more important. With that and #2 in mind, when tension arrises between doing more or doing good*, we’re going with good.
- Food is Essential
This might sound like a strange detail to include here but the feasts of Redwall are legendary and many fans have made it clear – a Redwall game without some significant attention to food is an Epic Fail. We hear you. Who’s up for a ‘make me a sandwich’ mini-game?
- This license is not an Opportunity, it’s an Honor
This may in fact be our biggest consideration. It would be all too easy, and totally wrong, to take inappropriate liberty in the name of creative license or the idiosyncrasies of the medium. We want to move forward with a clear sense that we’ve been entrusted with something that isn’t ours and our role isn’t to add our two cents, but rather to make serious efforts to treat the story with as much respect as it deserves…and that’s a lot.
Some Upfront Concessions:
Along with what we want to do, there’s a lot to deal with as limiting factors. Fans of the series may already know these things but it’s worth pointing them out for those who aren’t uberfans.
- Redwall Abbey is Physically Impossible
Either a ‘dirty little secret’ or ‘unbounded brilliance’ is the fact that there is no 3D world in which all the details of the abbey are reconciled. If all the descriptions of the Abbey are taken together it becomes clear that certain spaces and details run into each other. So either Redwall is some kind of extra-dimmensional TARDIS-like thing, or we just have to do the best we can and call it a WAG.
- Scale is a Mess
In the same way the abbey itself is impossible, the scale of the Redwall world is…flexible. When we’re wrapped up in the magic of a novel, willing suspension of disbelief is more palatable then when I’m playing a game where reproducible results are a pre-requisite. So just like with the layout of the abbey, the best we can do is hold our thumb out and make a best guess. If a mouse is 1 Martin tall, and badgers are roughly 3-4 Martin’s tall, we’ll say an Elm is 50 Martin’s tall and call it good.
Some Technical Specs:
OK, OK, I know lots of folks are asking for some technical specifics – I’ll drop a few but reserve te right to change our plans as the project progresses.
- Genre: Progressive Fantasy Adventure
- Platform(s): PC/Mac as primary experience. Tablets as secondary. A console option is a maybe, we’ll see how it goes.
- Launch Date: TBD, but not anytime real soon. Be thinking in the 9-15month range, not 2-3.
We’re not trying to be coy by keeping technical specifics to a minimum. But as we mentioned, this is still pretty early and just about anything can change. We want to prevent a situation where folks are excited about some particular detail and we wind up having to disappoint them. But as things firm up in the coming weeks we’ll be sure to lay out more specifics as they come.
I’ll wrap this post up now and come back with more later…
* Yes honey, I know it should be ‘well’ but that messes with my consonance.