While the world seems to have turned upside down in the last twelve months, and we don’t yet know what all the knock-on effects will be, one good thing has come out of 2016 for us – last year Talespinners didn’t exist, and now it does!
We kicked off Talespinners as a company back in May, and both directors started off working part time. Ian moved to full time at the end of August, assuming that we’d be coasting for a few months, expecting it to take a while to build up clients and projects. However, we were frantically busy from week one. So as of today, Giles is now full time – having wrapped up his work on The Descendant – and we have a number of associate writers on our books helping us out when there’s a need.
In other words, something’s working. Our premise – that there are quite a few small to medium games companies out there who’d like support in delivering their story – appears to be true. We’ve worked on so many projects already; it’s a joy to see such variety and to get to play in so many different worlds.
Work In Progress
This being the games industry, there are lots of projects we can’t announce yet – and that number is much higher than we’d have dreamed six months ago! However, here’s the current Talespinners’ list of things we can talk about:
The Siege and the Sandfox
We’re working with the folks from Cardboard Sword on this one – a lovely pixel art ‘stealthvania’ with a Persian flavour. Cardboard Sword brought us beautiful art, and a rough idea of story, and we’ve worked with them to create a world, a background and a narrative arc – and even a game title! We’re now starting the process of putting the story into the game world for them. Uniquely for a pixel platformer, they’re working with Unreal Engine 4, and they’ve been able to leverage some great dynamic lighting (and a lot of attention from Epic!) It’s a gorgeous-looking game, and we’re very pleased to be involved with it. Follow their progress here.
The Exiled is a PvP Sandbox MMO from German company Fairytale Distillery. We’ve helped them draw together a lot of source ideas from their early development of the game, and to work out how to marry that up with their game design, which has brought its own unique challenges – the game setup is very unusual, allowing different world instances to have subtly different game rules. We’ve completed a pass on the story bible for them – covering things like history, cultures, naming, and the fundamental building blocks of the game world, and are now working with them to roll that out to the players.
Raid: World War II
We’re working with Croatian-based Lion Game Lion on this title, a co-op FPS set in World War II. We can’t say too much about the content as yet, but we’re having great fun creating additional dialogue for multiple characters. Look out for this one, it’s going to be a blast!
Frictional’s New Title
Ian previously worked for Frictional Games in Sweden – the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent – on code and design for their last game, SOMA. Now, via Talespinners, he’s Story Lead on their upcoming title. But like all Frictional games, the details are shrouded in mystery…
Adventures in VR
Finally, we were able to offer a very quick sneak peek last week of a client’s VR MORPG. Provisionally (and temporarily) titled Dungeon Raiders, again, we can’t say too much about this one yet, but we’re starting work on the narrative side of it right now – watch this space.
We’ve taken part in a number of conferences and expos this year. GDC San Francisco was where it all started for the company, as it’s where we decided we’d set up Talespinners. Beyond that, we’ve been to Develop, initGame();, AdventureX, EGX, and Gamescom in Cologne, which was a fantastic launchpad for us.
We’ve given talks on storytelling, philosophy and horror at some of those expos and for various other organisations. Drop us a line if you’re interesting in us giving a presentation or lecture.
Since we’re so busy, we’ve got a bunch of additional writers on our books who can work on specific projects that suit their talents or give us a hand if we’re snowed under. That list has grown faster than we expected, and now includes some well-known names that, frankly, we would be honoured to work with. More on this over the next few months!
It’s bright. It’s lots of chance meetings at expo bars coming together. It’s storytelling experience gleaned from years of working in cross-disciplinary media suddenly coalescing into a toolset that we’re using every day. It’s us thoroughly enjoying digging into people’s projects and helping them find a world to exist in and a heartbeat at the centre of the game. We’re here. Give us a shout if we can help, we’re always happy to talk.
To keep up to date with all the amazing projects we’re helping out on, feel free to say hi and be sure to follow us on Twitter where we are @tale_spinners, Ian is @wildwinter and Giles is @ThatGiloFella.