Talespinners: State of the Nation December 2017

It's six months since our last State of the Nation and, appropriately, we've been snowed under! Over the last six months our project list has shot up; at one point we had sixteen projects on the go at the same time. Our writers and associates have been hard at work on everything from cat-dating sims to futuristic horror!

Here are some highlights from the last six months:

  • New releases:
    • Paw Print Games and nDreams released Bloody Zombies, their VR co-op 2D brawler.
    • Lion Game Lion released Raid: World War II, their WW2 4-player behind-enemy-lines co-op.
    • Runner Duck released their superb FTL-like WW2 flight game Bomber Crew.
    • The Bunker - the live-filmed video adventure we helped write for Splendy Games - came out as a physical release on PS4 via Limited Run Games, and also appeared in an edited form as a short at the Cannes film festival!
  • We helped Bae Team and Bossa put the finishing touches to Purrfect Date, the interactive cat-dating sim/visual novel/comedy that you didn’t know you needed! It’s out on the 15th of December, so be sure to add it to your Steam wishlist.
  • Work in progress:
    • We’re working with Earplay on ‘stories that you play with your voice’ - interactive radio plays that are experienced via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and other voice-activated devices. It’s really exciting to be in at the birth of a new storytelling medium!
    • We’re writing Winter Hall for Lost Forest Games, a horror-tinged first-person adventure about historical plague in England. It’s part-funded by the Developing Beyond programme of the Wellcome Trust, so we’re doing all we can to make sure it’s realistic. Happily, one of our associate writers is a trained archaeologist...
    • We’ve done a bunch of work for Villainous Games on Depot, a first-person sci-fi adventure which we won’t spoil here, but which tackles a whole raft of interesting themes.
    • We’ve been helping out Green Tree Games on their emotional and tactical sim Burden of Command. We’re acting in a consulting role on this, alongside such luminaries as Alexis Kennedy and Chris Avellone. It’s a study of leadership in warfare that looks at the hard choices field commanders have to make.
    • We've been busy with Krillbite, giving them some writing and story support for their upcoming game Mosaic.
    • We've written for Curiscope on Operation Apex, their roomscale VR adventure set in the depths of the ocean.
    • We’ve also done new work for Orcari, Gamefjord, Soedesco, and a whole bunch of other international clients that we can’t talk about yet, alongside ongoing work for our stalwarts - Frictional Games, Quantum Soup, and Cardboard Sword!
  • We did a whole load of talking - giving lectures at Nineworlds, AdventureX, the Celtic Games Show, and the Arcade Vaults, alongside our usual work with local universities. We sponsored AdventureX too, and the Wordplay Festival in Toronto.
  • Ian took part in the judging for the UK Games Fund’s Tranzfuser programme, which saw some wonderful concepts from a wide variety of teams. Giles has been helping out on the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain’s games committee, and judging panels for the BAFTA Young Games Designer and BAFTA Cymru’s Best Game award.

We also had a chance to chat to the Articy:Draft team at our stand at Gamescom this year about story, narrative, VR and all sorts things. They made a video - take a look here!

Oh, and check out Ian's recent article on getting into games writing.

And finally, we launched our Mentorship Programme! A chance for upcoming writers to have a helping hand from us, as we’ll steer them to create a finished title. The closing date for this is Wednesday 6th December!

As you can see, the last six months have been outstanding, and the next six months are set to be even bigger for Talespinners. Thanks to all the amazing developers and publishers who’ve been part of our journey so far, and to stay up to date on our forthcoming announcements as they happen, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

However you celebrate the festive period - we hope you have a great one.

Wordplay 2017

We’re sponsoring the 5th annual Wordplay Festival, on November 18th in Toronto, Canada!

WordPlay is a free festival run by the Hand Eye Society celebrating the most interesting uses of writing and words in contemporary games. Each year there are curated games showcase, talks by creators about the craft, and ways for the public to learn about making games.

This year has talks by the creator of Twine, on narrative design, on why AAA writers love indie games, and a series of microtalks and workshops.

AdventureX 2017: Without Words

Ian is speaking at AdventureX in London on 11-12th November, giving a talk on all the bits of game narrative that aren’t words.

We’re very happy to be back at the event – there are all-too-few game narrative conventions around, and AdventureX is always good fun. We’re even happier to be one of the sponsors of the event this year!

There are lots of great speakers across both days, and lots of great narrative games to see and play – come along.

Operation Apex

We've been working with Curiscope on Operation Apex, their roomscale VR adventure set in the depths of the ocean. For more info, check out their website here - the ocean is a perfect fit for VR, and given their experience in the field we're excited to see the result.

From the site:

We strongly believe we all have the power to inspire one another to care more about our planet. We are deeply concerned about marine life and its future. The ocean forms two thirds of the Earth and millions of tonnes of plastic ends up in it every year, killing marine life and threatening precious creatures. Operation Apex invites you to get fully submersed in the wonders of the ocean and connect with its inhabitants.


Winter Hall and Depot

The Develop conference in Brighton was excellent for us this year – we’ve just confirmed that we’re working with two new clients who we met for the first time at the event.

Winter Hall is a game in development from Lost Forest Games. At Develop, it was announced as a semi-finalist in the Epic Games/Wellcome Trust Developing Beyond competition. The game focuses on exploring a village in England that has gone through the ravages of the Black Death – you, the protagonist, can jump into different characters’ perspectives to explore the horror-tinged legacy. We’re helping to knock the story into shape and to develop the writing – fingers crossed for the game in the final round of the competition!

Depot is a sci-fi adventure game from Villainous Games. We’re working with Mark and his team to develop the overall story, which we won’t spoil here – keep an eye out for further announcements!

August Talks – Nineworlds and Arcade Vaults

Ian has two talks coming up in the next week.

The first is 3:15 this Sunday at the Nineworlds convention in London. In this talk, Ian will dive into what’s really going on when you’re trying to create strong emotions such as horror in computer games, LARP, and other media, drawing on examples from recent titles he’s worked on. He’ll discuss strategies you can use to elicit specific responses from your players through design, writing, art, sound and gameplay. More information here.

The second is at the Arcade Vaults popup in Cardiff on Monday 7th at 6pm, where Ian will be talking about the bits of game storytelling which aren’t the words, and giving some hints and tips on techniques to use. More information here!