The process of creating a game is difficult, long, and often stressful, but it's one that can reap many rewards alongside actually seeing your ideas come to life.
No matter the size of the game or how long it ultimately takes to make, each new title involves a lot of hard work, tough decisions, and a little bit of luck before it even gets out the door and onto devices. And in the current mobile games market, that's only the first step to making the title succeed.
To highlight all of the extensive work that often goes on unseen in the background, PocketGamer.biz is reaching out to developers to learn more about the general rigmarole of releasing a video game, with our 'Making Of' series.
PocketGamer.biz: Can you start off by telling us about Bright Paw?
Bruce Slater: Bright Paw is a fully voice-acted narrative puzzle game with an incredible soundtrack. You play as Theo, the cat of an evil supervillain that's just been murdered. Step into the mind of this inquisitive cat on an adventure to discoverer what happened to his owners and I’m sure there are some surprises along the way.
There was a moment when we had all of this incredible audio work from the those two, and when we put all of that together with the game it just clicked.Bruce Slater
Where did the initial idea for the game come from?
The idea came from trying to find a story that people were familiar with but also something that we could flip on its head and do some really interesting things with the narrative. This was on the list as a base concept and from there the game took on a life of its own. The core and base were the narrative hook of some of the levels we really wanted to create.
How long did development take, and how many people worked on the game?
This is a real hard one for us to work out. Freddy (Radical Forge tech director) and I starting toying around with the card mechanics in December 2017. From there, we had a core team of four people working on it part-time, then we went to around seven people and a bunch of freelance people along the way too. Our overall team was around 12 people and it took approximately three years to make the whole game.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome during development?
There were quite a few challenges that we needed to go through. Working out the design flow that players needed to go through but also making sure that it fit the narrative flow was a challenge, but both fitted together nicely.
Making sure the synergy between the two felt good for players as they went through it all as well. If you notice in every act there are some easy levels straight after hard levels yet they feed the narrative and aim to give players a break.
At what stage in development did you feel you had a game that you were happy with?
When we got the voice over in from Sam Hughes and the music from WIll Bedford, both changed the game for the better. There was a moment when we had all of this incredible audio work from the those two, and when we put all of that together with the game it just clicked.
The audio team really did some amazing things with the game. From there, it was a super collaborative process with exciting back and forth to make iterations and small tweaks to the game and its pivotal narrative moments.
Why did you feel this was the right time to launch on mobile?
We always saw the game as a premium product because a free-to-play title with a narrative simply does not work unless you have a longer game that you can split into episodes.Bruce Slater
It was not just the right time to launch on mobile, it was the right time to get the game out. The studio was super excited to get the game out the door on as many platforms as we could. We really wanted people to be able to enjoy the game that we have made.
Who do you find to be the game's main audience?
I have really been enjoying watching streamers play so we can gauge their reaction, however I've also received good messages from people in their seventies and twenties. The spectrum of players is quite wide. All of which were talking about how much they enjoyed the game. So, in our mind, we tried to target anyone that enjoys playing narrative experiences.
What was the decision behind going premium as opposed to free-to-play?
Going premium was always the plan for us. We always saw the game as a premium product because a free-to-play title with a narrative simply does not work unless you have a longer game that you can split into episodes. We knew from the start that it was not going to work unless we committed to premium.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted ongoing development in any way?
We were super lucky. We can all work from home. So, with that, our office was raided by all of our staff to grab everything they needed to make remote working viable. It took about two days to get everyone set up with everything that we needed. It was a super smooth transition.
How happy are you with the game's launch so far?
I am overjoyed that Bright Paw is out. For some of the team at Radical Forge it’s their first game and for others, it's one of many. As a studio, we've been working on Bright Paw for so long that it's nice to see it out the door. The studio made a lot of sacrifices to make this game a reality, so to see it finally out there and for people to be enjoying it is incredible.
How are you approaching live ops? What can you tell us about your plans in terms of updates?
We have some updates planned for the near future. The feedback we've received is that people love the game and its narrative but they want more puzzles. So, we're looking into doing just that throughout the year.
What can you tell us about your future mobile projects?
We have some other things in the works at Radical Forge. However, for the meantime, the studio is focused on making new Bright Paw content and sorting any bugs that need fixing.