March 7th, 2013 | By Mark Isaacson
Forever Lost has caught the attention of many a gamer of late and with good reason. The title has built a strong following, with anticipation for the second chapter building momentum following a successful opening episode. So who else to get the inside story on what’s to come and the journey so far than the team behind it all, Glitch Games:
For those that aren’t aware, how would you describe Glitch Games to a new fan?
Glitch Games are a fun-focused duo that have a passion for games. We want to make games that people want to play. We are not trying to make millions of pounds or change the world, but we do want to bring a certain amount of joy into people’s lives. We see games not as an escape from reality but rather an extension of it. They can bring people together or simply pass the time on a boring journey. These days, you can be immersed in new worlds after a single tap on your mobile phone. Ultimately, Glitch Games consists of two people that love what they do and, so long as we can afford to eat, we will continue to do so.
Forever Lost was not one of the eureka moments when you wake up in the middle of the night and shout… well… “eureka.” It was a long drawn out process that took many months to formulate. We have always wanted to make an adventure game, so we decided to test the waters during a 48 hour game development competition back in February 2012.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with app/game development, 48 hours is an incredibly short amount of time to make any game, especially an adventure game (we still sometimes look back and wonder how we did it all in 48 hours.) Sometimes we spend longer than this on Forever Lost just making sure a shadow from a pillar looks right. Anyway, we ended up winning the competition and we decided it was time to make a full adventure game.
Before diving in head first, we decided to break down existing adventure/puzzle games and see how we could improve on the genre. The main annoyance in almost all of the games was that you had to write down all clues on a piece of paper or simply try to memorise them. We thought this was stupid, especially since everyone will be playing the game on mobile devices, so we decided to spend a few weeks developing a camera feature that allowed the player to take photos of anything they wanted. This way players can look back at clues, and whatever else took their fancy, at any point in the game without backtracking.
The second thing we noticed was that most of the stories within this gaming genre, at least on mobile devices, took a backseat to the puzzles and visuals. We wanted to change this and build a deep, intense atmosphere with a strong story. We didn’t want to spoon feed the story to the player though, so we decided to begin Episode 1 with no prior memory of anything. This may be a little cliché but it works perfectly since everything that the player discovers for the first time is also what the protagonist is seeing for the first time. They are both in the same position with no idea of who or where they are… so the aim is clear.
During the very early testing stages of Forever Lost, a friend said to us “this could be big” after a single playthrough of the game. We knew we had a good game but the problem was getting people to know about it. We have indeed been receiving lots of good coverage, reviews and mentions over the last few months, but recently it has just snowballed. The hardest part of making the game is knowing what will work and what will not. We seemed to hit the nail on the head with our first attempt and most people seem to love the game.
All of this attention has made us very excited for the release of Episode 2, we’re actually taking bets in the office as to how many downloads we’ll get in the first 48 hours. Needless to say we’re probably being way too optimistic, but if you don’t expect success you’ll never achieve it.
Forever Lost was also split into chapters in order to evolve over time based on user feedback. With that in mind, what kind of feedback did you receive following the release of Episode 1?
The first thing we check every morning is not the financial reports, not the previous nights art renders and not even if the office is on fire. We go straight to the customer reviews and see what people are saying about the game. We use this as a guide to make sure we are heading in the right direction for future episodes. Luckily our feedback has been mostly very positive with many people claiming that it is the best mobile game, and in some cases the best game they have ever played. This is astonishing to us because we’ve been playing games our whole lives and to think that some people rank us that highly is a huge honour. Almost all of our user reviews ends with some variation of, “can’t wait for Episode 2.”
Despite spending 12 – 16 hours on the game every day, we do not want to rush it and release a sub-standard game. We have a vision of what we would like to achieve and we are going to try our hardest to achieve this.