We Released Queen's Wish 2: The Tormentor!
Our 18th Full Length Game. Yikes.
It's our 18th all-new full-length title. An iOS version is coming soon. It's an indie, epic, turn-based, story-heavy, et cetera, et cetera. Writing PR text is getting exhausting.
We've been in the business for 28 years, a record for the longest period of continuous professional indie development. If you think you can prove this wrong, feel free.
I've spent a lot of time playing this game. It's quite fun, it has a cool world, and I really like the story and characters. I say, give it a try. We even provide a generous demo on our web site.
For the blog, I wanted to just provide a little commentary about the game. Design, business, all that stuff that has no place in actual PR.
It Won't Be a Hit
We'll never write a hit. We don't write hits. We satisfy a small dedicated fan base to maintain a pleasant, middle-class existence. It's pretty nice, actually.
Our retro, text-heavy games don't sell massive piles, which is fine, Sadly, though, these days it's pretty much impossible for us to get media attention. At least we're on page 6 (as I write this) of Steam's Upcoming RPGs list, behind about 73 porn games.
Sometimes, our fans say they worry about us. Please don't. We're fine. We're professional bottom feeders, and we're very lucky to have the gig.
We Raised Our Prices
Our new games are now $25, exactly the same as our first game, Exile: Escape From the Pit, back in 1994.
Inflation has taken its bite, and we're keeping up. Indies started charging $25 a few months ago, doing the hard work of normalizing it.
Plus, honestly, we make a rare, bespoke sort of product. It's hard to make this sort of game, and this genre has a small but very dedicated fan base. It's exactly the sort of game that should charge a little more.
Of course, our customers will now get a vote on how true this is.
This trilogy is heavily into politics and tough choices. You enter a rebellious land, and you have to whip it into shape. You have many options. Not many of them are good.
I recently got an email from someone who got stuck playing Queen's Wish. They reached a point where they didn't like any of the choices they had, so they quit.
That's their right. It's their leisure time, after all. However, I am standing by this decision. I want this series to engage with politics and power and empire in an honest way. This is a necessary part of it.
Suppose you're some major official in Ancient Rome, and one of your provincial governors dies. You have to pick a replacement.
But here's the thing. You have to choose among the people who are available. You can't open a vat and pull out the perfect leader. You have to choose among existing humans, all of whom, being human, are high flawed.
Yet, you still have to make a choice. Generally, the most important thing is to not make the right choice but to make sure some choice gets made.
That's how life works, and I want the Queen's Wish trilogy to have little reflections of life in it. I hope the realness (to the extent that it is real) makes up for the frustration.
Video games are a big industry. There's room for all sorts of games.
Improvements Over Queen's Wish
Queen's Wish: The Conqueror is a very innovative game. It tries a lot of new things, and it mixes them together in unusual ways. Some people liked it. Some people didn't.
However, I made mistakes. I made a lot of changes in Queen's Wish 2 that I really think improve the game.
There are far more abilities. You get experience more often, providing a more even flow of dopamine hits. You have more customization options for building your empire, some of which affect the story.
Yet, it's still basically the same engine. Of course. The weird new parts of the game engine are all still in there. So if you were mad at me, before, you still be. Whenever you change anything in your games, you inevitably lose people. Your job is then to add new customers to replace them.
The only alternative is writing the same game again and again. If you try to do this for 18 games, you will go mad.
It's About Family
One of the most unusual things about the Queen's Wish games is that so much of it is about dealing with your family. This is not something games have a lot of, and family is a huge part of human experience.
I have had a lot of fun writing your mother, brother, and sister. They are complicated, demanding, and occasionally infuriating. I also have a great deal of affection for all of them, even your brother. They are my favorite part of the series.
If you find yourself hating any of them, keep an open mind. They have a lot going on. You learn a lot in the ending. (I really like this game's ending.)
It's Also About Empire
I've always been fascinated with history and politics, and my games reflect that. Perhaps to a fault. I wanted this trilogy to focus on that dominant force in the history of humanity: The building of Empire.
I was a little worried about this, because the Internet is a very politically touchy place, and empire is a bad word. Yet, how can I engage in politics in any real way and avoid this most powerful of political and military techniques.
I live in an Empire, which projects its power in a huge variety of ways. Not just military, but financial, philosophical, cultural. My Empire competes with other Empires.
Empire is not just a white person game. The biggest Empire-building project in the world right now is China in Africa, and white people aren't even involved.
Honestly, when the series is done, I'll probably wish I'd been more bloody-minded and less cowardly about how I touched the topic. Then again, I still have one game to go, and politics in the world of Haven is getting ugly.
What Is Coming?
Queen's Wish will probably be my last all-new series.
Most of the rest of my career will be remasters.
I've written a lot of really good games that are old now. They don't run properly on newer machines. They look bad even by my standards. Each of them took around 1.5 years, and each needs at least a year to bring them up to the level I want to leave them at. Three years worth of work seems a real sweet spot for indie games.
I don't feel bad about this. Most creators reach a point where they have to say, "I had a finite number of ideas, and I've expressed them. I'm going to close out my career going on tour and playing the hits." There's no dishonor in it. It's a decent life.
Quentin Tarantino has said he plans to make ten films and retire. He's going to make one more. He never wants to crash and fail. He has honestly evaluated what he is capable of, and he's acting on it. I admire that a lot.
Similarly, I'm getting old. It's getting harder to churn out these huge games mostly by myself, and, honestly, my bag of tricks is getting empty. I may write other new games, but they won't be RPGs. I'd love to do a twin-stick shooter.
And That's Another One In the Bag
I've been doing this a long time, and I've learned a lot. I think I've gotten pretty good as designing games. I hope you try Queen's Wish 2. There's a big demo on our site, and Steam will give you a refund if you play less than 2 hours.
We hope you give it a try! Thanks!