Hey everyone, here’s an update on what’s been happening on The Novelist lately. I’m going to try and do an update every Friday so that you can get a nice summary of the goings-on each week.
First off, thanks to everyone who’s voted on Greenlight! From everything I know the selection process is still shrouded in mystery, but when you have a game on Greenlight you get to see a chart of how your votes are tracking compared to the top games on Greenlight, and as far as I can tell The Novelist is on a great trajectory. Thanks to everyone who has already voted or left a kind word, and if you haven’t voted yet I’d really appreciate you taking a moment to support the game.
As for what I did this week, I focused solely on interviews. I had a great, much-needed getaway with my wife last weekend and got back Monday night, so I’ve only had 4 days to do interviews this week. I didn’t get through as many as I thought I would; I’ve found that doing a good interview takes time. I’m working on more today, but here’s a quick list of the ones that have been published so far:
- Aussie-Gamer: This is part one of a two-part interview, and it goes into the background of the game and how the dynamic narrative works.
- Indie Statik: This interview goes into detail on the backstory of the game (starting with my interest in player-driven stories) and also talks about replayability in The Novelist.
- IndieGames.com: This one goes into the finer points of some of the mechanics, talks about why some of the decisions were made on the game, and explains some of the challenges of transitioning from AAA to indie development.
- Shacknews: This interview, presented in prose form, digs into the central question of the game and talks about the different ways people may find meaning in The Novelist.
So there’s the list of interviews that have been posted so far. There are 4 completed interviews that haven’t been posted just yet, and there’s also a second part of the Aussie-Gamer interview on the way, so if you’re interested in the game there’ll be plenty more to read in the near future. I still have a bunch of interview requests to work through, too, so there won’t be a shortage of coverage any time soon.
As always, if you want to keep up with the game there are a few different ways:
Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have great weekends!
Hey everyone, sorry for the delay in getting a second update posted here, but the last week and a half has been completely overwhelming. The Novelist has received far more attention than I expected, which is absolutely wonderful, but after 15 months of working on the game silently it was a huge change to suddenly have to think about working on the publicity side of things. I’m really swamped right now, but I’m deeply grateful that people have taken an interest in the game.
Anyway, here’s an assortment of links that recap some of what’s been going on this week:
- IGN Gameplay Video: This is the first public footage of The Novelist in action. They tried to keep it to 5 minutes, which is a really compressed timeline for a game like The Novelist, but it’s still worth watching to see what the moment-to-moment gameplay is like. The real meat of the game is making multiple decisions and shaping Dan’s relationships over time, which is the kind of thing that’s impossible to show in a short video. I hope to post a longer video soon that shows more of the chapter flow and gives a more normally-paced look at the game.
- I participated in Indie Press Day, which was a really great time. There were a bunch of indie games there, along with press, and it was really fun to see other games, play a few of them, and watch people play The Novelist. It was the first time I’ve ever had complete strangers play the game, which was exciting and also valuable from a playtesting perspective; I already have a list of things I want to improve in the game based on watching people play it for the first time. Keep an eye out for stories coming out of that event.
- I also sat down with Nathan Grayson from Rock Paper Shotgun today and let him play through a chapter of the game. We followed it up with an interview, so keep an eye on Rock Paper Shotgun for more coverage.
- Speaking of press, you can always get a look at the latest coverage on the Press page. If you scroll down, there are links to the ongoing coverage for the game, so bookmark that and check back every now and then!
- Remember, if you want to keep up with the game’s development there are a few different options. You can subscribe to the RSS feed by clicking the Follow link at the top of the page, you can find the game’s official Twitter feed at the top of the page, and you can follow me at @KentInPublic.
- If you haven’t already, please consider supporting the game on Steam Greenlight. From what I can tell the game is doing well in the voting, and with a little more support I’m hopeful that we can get the game on Steam!
So what’s next? Well, I owe a lot of journalists a lot of interview replies. It’s gonna take me a while to get through them all, but I’m deeply appreciative of their interest and am going to answer every last question.
And development on the game marches forward! I finished outlining the final chapters of the game late last week and am going to start writing them very soon. I’m also going to get around to some of the unsexy features you need in a game, like an options screen, to balance out the tough creative work.
But in the short term, I’ll be heading out of town for a Memorial Day weekend with my wife. It’s been an incredible week and a half since the announcement, but it’s also been utterly draining. I worked some … let’s say … very long hours prepping for the Indie Press Day and IGN demos, and just like Dan in the game I have to make sure to spend time with the people I love!
I hope you all have great weekends, and thanks so much for your continued support and encouragement. Working on this game is very difficult at times, and your kind words and enthusiasm really do pick me up. You guys are amazing.
Hi, my name is Kent Hudson and today I’m announcing my game The Novelist. After more than a decade of working on AAA games like Deus Ex: Invisible War, Thief: Deadly Shadows, BioShock 2, and others, I quit my job in late 2011 and took a leap of faith into indie development.
Aside from doing some consulting here and there, I’ve been working on The Novelist for 15 months now. It’s definitely a very strange feeling to put it out into the world after keeping it under wraps for so long; to be honest, in many ways this is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. In AAA development you’re part of a team, so you never feel like anything is 100% on you. If something goes wrong, it’s highly unlikely to be completely your fault.
But when you work on a game in your apartment for over a year, it’s all on you. The good stuff, the bad stuff, the weird stuff … the only fingers I can point are two thumbs, pointed squarely at my chest.
But as nerve-wracking as it is to share my game with the world, it’s also incredibly exciting. When I went indie, I did it solely because I’d gotten to a point in my career where I was creatively unfulfilled and just wanted to work on something I believed in with the smallest number of creative barriers possible. Indie development is definitely challenging in terms of scope and stretching your money, but the ability to make something you believe in for the sake of the creative challenge makes it more than worth it.
Anyway, enough about me. The trailer is live, the site is live, and hopefully you’re interested in what I’ve been working on for so long. If you’d like to keep up with my blog posts, just click the Follow button in the menu bar above. You can find me on Twitter at @KentInPublic, and if you want to get in touch just hit the About page and shoot me an email.
Thanks again for checking out my game, and I hope it connects with you in some way.