Sunday, January 10, 2021

Year in Review: 2020

It's hard to believe that my last real Year in Review was for 2016. I haven't been keeping up with this blog as much as I'd like, but this time it's been because of how busy we were with Aground between 2017 and 2020.


In April 2020, we finally released the full version of Aground, and over the summer we released our final major content update - the Hybrid Path. As difficult as 2020 was for everyone in the world - us included - Aground's launch was by far the biggest success we've ever had. We are so proud of how far the game and its community has come. Achieving an "overwhelmingly positive" review score was one of my long-standing goals as a game developer, and even though it is just a number, it was really special when we finally reached it.

The console ports for Aground are nearly ready to launch - so look forward to that early this year on the PS4, Switch and XBox One. Beyond that, while we've considered expansions/sequels/DLC for Aground, we kind of feel like it is done, and has a strong, complete story, and we are ready for something new. We may come back to Aground at some point, but it will not be our next project.

The big question is: what comes next?


So, what DOES come next for Fancy Fish Games? When in doubt, I do what I've done in the past (and what actually gave rise to Aground) - rapid prototypes to find out what works, and what to focus on. We now have several prototypes, and while we aren't fully decided, it's likely we'll be working on Stardander School for Witches (previously called Witch Academy) next. Which is funny, as in my 2016 year in review, one of our goals was to push this project forward after </reality>.

Ideas have been circulating for this game for a long while, and Natalie has already done a lot of art for it (as you can see above), but only recently have we put together a strong prototype for it. I'm also very proud of the battle system, which is one thing I've struggled with in other game designs.