Hi. It's Claude Labonté and this is how we got to not do a Bravest Warriors game for Wii U and PC/Mac.
q-bit games or the never ending making of a non marketed game
In early 2014, we released an action/exploration based side-scroller game called Machete on PC/Mac. It featured four characters; Leenox, Molesto, Danielle and Roméo. Their goal was to retrieve the eyes of their lovely creatures living with them, the Machete, that have been stolen by something or someone. This game eventually served as a prototype for what we thought would be our next game, Machete DX.
Machete DX was a lengthy adventure game with all sorts of features we wanted to implement in the first Machete but couldn't due to time and technological barriers. We were going to add a way bigger world. Each character would have their unique abilities, unique summonable weapons. And so we began working on the game...
I discovered Bravest Warriors while designing Machete DX. I didn't know about Cartoon Hangover until I got interested in Pendleton Ward's work. I went on his wikipedia page and found out about another of his creation; Bravest Warriors. I immediately fell in love; cute characters saving people in space is really great, but when you add up quality voice acting, cute creatures everywhere, a more adult oriented scripts and the creativity it features, it's perfect. At least for me.
But what stroke me the most is that a lot of features of Bravest Warriors was ressembling our own Machete DX. The set of characters, the adventurous nature of the missions, cute creatures, the sticker pets, and some others. While we could link other projects with another easily, this one really felt like it completed our design idea.
I then suggested to my partner-in-crime Roméo we develop a Bravest Warriors game instead. A Bravest Warriors adventure game. He agreed so I sent an e-mail to Frederator to know if it would be possible to have intellectual property rights to develop such a game. We knew Fly, Catbug Fly was coming soon and it was developed by people like us so we guessed we could give it a try.
I got an answer a week or so after, telling us to send them a proposal and they'll see what they think of this. I WAS SO STOKED I wrote the proposal and a brief game design document to send them. We showed the documents to some people we know that are already in the industry to know if they were ok, we never did this kind of thing before. One week later, on January 29th 2014, we sent the documents their way, anxious to know what they think about it..
After a couple of e-mails, they said we'd have word in mid-february. After another round, they said they wanted to keep contact to see where it's heading. The usual, we didn't except having it super easy. We sent couple of other emails, with no answer. Finally, today I sent another e-mail. We know that if after all this time we have no news, it's probably dead. But why not tell us? We just want to know. One minute after I sent the e-mail, we got an answer and it indeed was a no.
Was your game really worth it if they refused?
Well yes and no. It was a nice game, it had really good potential for both the fans and Frederator. I honestly went through every Bravest Warriors material possible, cartoon episodes, making of episodes, comic books, took hundreds of screenshots to analyse. We wanted the game to be true to the franchise. It's really sad that they didn't want the game, but I'm not mad at them, like I guess it's business.
But I do have to say, I was in music industry before and I had to deal intellectual property rights and it was way easier. I currently still have the right to adapt Patrick Senécal's Aliss in music form, and it was a breeze to deal. Now of course it's not the same industry and the same scale (Bravest Warriors reaches MILLIONS of people while Aliss probably sold around 1million or so) Still, it's business!
But didn't you do a demo? What about the game now? You take no as an answer?
Nope. I guess we should have done it, but I honestly don't think it would have changed something.
The good thing is that while dealing with them, the potential game came to be really cool. The ideas are still there, we just don't have the Bravest Warriors name. Our reach may be greatly reduced, but it's okay, if what we wanted was fame and fortune, we wouldn't develop games independently.
I guess we're taking no as answer since there's not much we can do. We're dedicated to our next game and we still have this potential space adventure game so we don't know what will happen next, but it's not over yet for this project!
PS : You can read the proposal we submitted if you're interested. The game design document is obviously not available for now :)
Back in 2012, when we started Machete, we didn't really know what to expect or what it would require to complete a game. We really thought that we had the concept and main design nailed down. We though everything was perfect. We then went into production and we quickly, quickly, realized that almost everything we had planned was wrong. So wrong. We learned a lot through that process, but there's one thing that came out more than everything else. Fail faster.
This month, we participated in the game jam hosted by RPG Maker and Humble. We proceeded to sift through our lot of hypothetical games folder to find one we wanted to do. There was Dark King of Evil Thieves – we ended up renaming it to Dark Queen: World Domination. An adventure RPG game with some RTS elements. I had been thinking about this one a lot, so I pitched it to Claude and it was set. We turned the adventure part into a roguelike twin-stick shooter, and the RTS part ended up being resembling Nintendo's Warrior's Way. This was all fine and dandy. We started playing with the adventure part, and it was (and is still) pretty fun! I switched back to developing the RTS mode: this is where things started to get weird. I didn't have any prior knowledge of the genre and this hindered the development but I pushed forward. We started seeing how it was lackluster, but we figured that we would really know once we had the "full picture". I pushed forward. We started changing things, but it wasn't improving. I asked for feedback and tips, and decided to stick to the plan. I still pushed forward. Yesterday, we finally realized that the RTS side wasn't as good as we wanted it to be, and that maybe it hadn't its place in our game.
We're now about nine days from the deadline of the jam. It's way too late to improve or change. And without the RTS side, the game is just an "ordinary" twin-stick shooter. We failed. We realized too late, but we realized. It's our record, though. 20 days. Not bad. It's with a broken heart that I put this game on the back-burner: I will surely return.
You can play the game in it's "whatever" state here.
Earlier this week, we gave an interview to Le Mouv', a french radio station. In the interview we spilled the beans about a couple details regarding Machete pricing and our upcoming Brawler! It isn't out yet, but we will let you know when it is.
Machete Brawl (working title)
There has been a lot of things that changed concerning Machete Brawl. First of all, we're planning on going through Early Access. As Brawl is a multiplayer party brawler, we think that having feedback early and often will be very beneficial to the game. That means we'll be focusing on the PC version before the WiiU version. This has to do with technical details as well as reach. We're assuming most of our players own a PC. Also, as the section says, we're trying to rename the game. We think that confusion with the movie has happened more than once and we want to detach ourselves from it.
Machete will be free as soon as we release Brawl into Early Access. Those of you who bought the game (thank you!) will be granted a key for Brawl.
- We're trying to rename Machete (Brawl) to avoid confusion with the movie.
- We will focus on PC before WiiU.
- Brawl will be "Early Access"-ed, around September.
- Machete will be free once Brawl hits Early Access.
- You'll get a Brawl key if you buy/bought Machete.