The Path —— Status Report February 2009

February 6th, 2009 by Michael

When we finished the game by New Year’s eve, we thought the worst was over. We thought we could relax a bit more and get part of our lives back. We promised ourselves not to work after dinner anymore (which already happens late in the evening here), and use that time to chill out. And we managed to keep that rhythm for a week or so. But then the reality of things sunk in. We were not ready yet! There’s a million things waiting to be done. And the deadline is still as immobile as before (as it is defined by a tight budget). Get to work!

It’s a very different kind of stress, though. Production towards the end was a slow and complex process filled with doubts and with an enormous pressure of needing to get a huge amount of work done in a small amount of time. Now the work is easy. Bug fixing is easy. Making websites is easy. Making screenshots is easy. Trailers. Logos. Talking to distributors. Talking to press. Thinking about marketing. Trying to solve technical issues. Organizing a launch event. Two launch events, maybe. Considering retail release. Talking with publishers. Talking with beta-testers. Talking with co-producers. Reading contracts. Designing postcards. Getting offers from the printer. Trying to get funding for that. Trying to get funding for traveling to the Game Developers Conference. Not forgetting to book tickets in time. Talking to people about porting the game to another platform. Etcetera. Etcetera. All extremely easy tasks. But there’s so many of them!

It’s not the pressure anymore of getting things done. It’s more like not knowing where to start. And constantly doubting if you shouldn’t be doing this other thing first. All small things, so it wouldn’t matter. It’s pretty hectic, I assure you. And there is not much time for chilling out. I just hope we find a moment to slow down a bit before we launch. So we’re not shaking like headless chickens when everybody wants to talk to us about our game.

Anyway, this month. What did we do this month? After some holiday down time, we started beta-testing and -fixing. First on our own and then with some carefully selected testers. This process is still going on.
We have also created lots of nice pictures that can be used in press and marketing. We made some videos that we will be releasing one by one.
We even made a rough sketch for the launch trailer. It will be very cool! It’s not what we were planning to do (a traditional narrative trailer) but it’s much more in the style of the game and will neatly divide the audience in people that are interested in what The Path has to offer and people who are not.

We’ve started work on the websites for the game. Yes, plural. We’re crazy like that. We’re keeping the current website as a container for all possible information about the game. But we’re adding two others that we’re calling “box sites”. Since The Path will initially be exclusively distributed digitally, we wanted to make a sort of “digital box” for the game. In the form of a website. I guess the two websites can be seen as two sides of the box. The front will be very simple and straightforward. And the back will be seductive and try to give an impression of the atmosphere of the game, or be complementary to it.

We have also managed to get some previews of the game published in some rather large publications (Game Informer, IGN, and soon Edge and Igromania). And judging by the amount of journalists who have requested to see a preview version, many will follow. We’re curious to see what different people will get out of the game.

Our pseudo-viral campaign with teaser videos also seems to be working, judging by the number of hits on our new website for the game. No, I can’t tell you more about it. That would ruin our stats. ;)

We also have decided on a date for launch. But we need a bit more time before we can be absolutely confident that we can do it, to make sure that no serious technical problems show up in the beta. We’ll announce it in two weeks or so. Stay tuned.