What's the Longest You've Followed a Game in Development?


#1

Watching a long development cycle has its ups and downs, but seeing a game find its identity is inspiring.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/qvvmbq/whats-the-longest-youve-followed-a-game-in-development

#2

I think the easy answer for longest would be Final Fantasy XV (aka Versus XIII). Both its world design and the way the combat was pitched and shown made it a game that I followed for almost as long as I was online. While it came and went from the public eye (and was eventually rebranded), I always knew I’d pick it up near launch, just to see what it would be after all those years on the back-burner. It’s a little different from the Subrosa example Walker gives in the article; my interest was rarely from seeing it (although the gameplay trailers were always fascinating to me), but interest in the pitch, which danced and tweaked over time as the game itself did.


#3

Personally, I’ve followed a couple games via Kickstarter (Knights and Bikes, The Wild Eight, Chronicles of Elyria, Stonehearth), but the one that’s taken the longest and has devoted the most attention from me has been Hiveswap, the Homestuck Adventure Game.

It’s (FINALLY! HOPEFULLY!) being released after 5 years in development, but MAN what a journey. Publically announcing a developer, going dark, that developer leaving (and then rumors of stealing Kickstarter funds came out), creating a BRAND NEW game development studio to facilitate the development of the game, the game switching art styles (3D to 2D, pretty drastic change), the announcement that it was going to be four different “acts”, and finally an actual release date followed by an eight month delay…

Just hope it’s good!


@robowitch FFXV is a great answer and really one of the few successful examples, recently. I only followed it at arm’s length through a friend, who was REALLY, REALLY into it. Followed it from Day 1 of development, would crawl around the subreddit and online forums for any scrap of information, stay up late to watch livestreams that were totally in Japanese, post YouTube videos about how excited he was for it… only to be disappointed by the final product when it came out.

Interestingly enough, while he hoped it had been a revelation, he doesn’t regret all the time he spent on being excited for it to be released? He says the wait and mounting excitement was its own sort of fun. Sort of an interesting standpoint, I think, and similar to how the Half-Life 3 “story reveal” was talked about on a recent Waypoint article.


#5

Hey folks. Long time listener, first time caller, etc… This topic was the push I needed to finally make an account!

Anyway, the easy answer for me, far and away, would be The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 - Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie - Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa, or just Barkley 2 for short.

Enough has already been said about Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden in the past. It’s brilliant, funny, and legitimately manages to be a fun game that both satirizes the state and form of the Japanese RPG while being an extremely competent example of said genre. So when Tales of Game’s studio announced they’d be producing a sequel, with honest-to-god production being put behind it, I was instantly on board. It’s been one of the handful of Kickstarter projects that I’ve backed at a high level (I backed at $250 for the physical artbook and that super-tsundere Cyberdwarf dakimakura…), and I’ve been watching the development of the game like a hawk since.

…the development of which has been painfully slow, if I’m being honest. We’re more than 4 years in, and we have very little to show for the game, not even a playable demo as of now.

In fairness though, I don’t hold any of it against them. Coordinating something on this scale among their team has to be a nightmare, considering most of them live in entirely different places. Not only that, but there’s been a number of shakeups and roadblocks that have made the development hellish for the good folks at ToG. A lot is expected of them, and I know they genuinely don’t want to disappoint. But it’s hard not to feel a strange sense of agony at this elongated development period, doubly so when the product looks so dang good in previews and in the drip-feed of content regarding the game and all its features.

I know in my heart that it’ll come out eventually, and it’ll be a glorious day when it does, but lordy bagordy I’d like to cut to the point where I get to shoot those rad gun’s in the post-cyberpocalypse already.


#6

I’ve been following Overgrowth almost from the start

I started and finished high school and went through four years of college in the time since, and there’s still no end in sight


#7

It had to be Aliens: Colonial Marines. And no, I’m still not over it.


#8

It’s certainly not the longest I’ve followed a game, but in many ways it feels the longest because desktop dungeons had a fully playable free version in 2010, but took nearly 4 years to make it to steam.


#9

These are all REALLY good answers! There’s a lot of stuff here that I totally assumed had come out (or had been canceled entirely), but I guess not!


#10

Wolfires Overgrowth. The bunnyhopping Lugaru sequel has been in development for nine years, and suddenly popped up in my Youtube feed again this spring as it entered beta.

It has had a

long

journey


#11

The obvious one in The Last Guardian aside (I bought a PS3 exclusively to play that one…), I think I have to say Jack Houston and the Necronauts. Successful Kickstarter in 2012, every few months there might be a quick update which is good to see, and also livestreams his progress so it’s never really felt like the project has been dead.

When it comes down to it, it’s no surprise that it has been 5 years in development. It’s basically one guy building scale model sets and stop-motion rigs and that stuff takes years even with a team of people.

Bonus armature animation test video.


#12

Oh man, it’s like Austin stalks my twitter or something because I’ve totally been following Sub Rosa and Heat Signature for years.

Also, I’ll join all the voices with Overgrowth. I had just gotten out of Community College with Overgrowth was announced and now I have a BA, MA, and 4 years in the workforce. I used to watch each alpha religiously as soon as it hit my subscription feed. Now maybe once every few months I wonder what they’re up to, pull Wolfire up on YouTube, and forget about the game again.

But the real ringer no one has brought up yet is the hardcore CRPG game that finally came out this year: Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar. This baby started development two decades ago! I first heard of it probably 7 or 8 years ago. He released a demo in 2012 when he was supposedly weeks away from releasing it and I tried it and boy was it was perhaps more archaic and obtuse than the CRPGs that came out when it started development. Now it’s out and honestly, I’m too scared to try it. I almost want to buy it just out of respect for the guy for finally following through.

Among the hardcore CRPG fans this game was the one that you would joke about from time to time and then the dev Cleve would come out of the woodwork, drop a bunch of info and then disappear for months, maybe years, at a time. The joke’s on us. Babies can fly.

Edit: Fixed some timeline stuff about Grimoire after doing some fact checking.


#13

Academagia: The Making of Mages is a game that was released in 2010, though only on Steam last year. It is a life-sim style game about being a kid going to a wizard school. It is not necessarily a good game - awful UI (apparently cleaned up for the Steam release but still not great), too many pointless skills, obtuse systems, etc. - but contains a huge amount of mostly well-written content so it’s a lot of fun if you can get into it. Notably, however, all that content is from the first year of Wizard School; the second year and beyond were intended to be DLC, and then to be separate but linked games. The dev team promised that they had begun work on Year 2 immediately after Year 1’s release, and it was ‘not far away’. Until Year 2 was ready, they would keep the content fresh with free DLC packs.
Seven years, seventeen DLC packs, and a Steam release later, they won’t even release screenshots of Year 2. They regularly update their community forums and website with details - “we’re redesigning the duelling system” or “we’re deciding which skills to remove” or “we’re writing new stories for X character” - but it’s extremely clear to anyone with a working brain that the damn game is not coming out. And yet I keep checking back, every few months, to see their new excuses. Academagia Year 2 is never going to be released and yet I will follow this development to my grave.


#14

SpyParty. I can’t even remember when I first heard about it but I thought it sounded cool. Wikipedia says it debuted in 2009 so it has been around 8 years.I know you can buy into the beta now but it’s still not out officially and that’s crazy to me. I looked forward to it for a while and forgot about it eventually. I was only recently reminded of it.


#15

Owlboy! D-pad Studios was one of my first follows on Twitter. Obviously a lot of care went into the final product but I feel like if it had come out in a ‘timely’ manner with when it was announced/first shown it would have tore up the indie game. For the record I really like the game, but it would have been a frontrunner back then, and now it is a strong title in an over saturated market, which probably caused a lot of people to wonder, 'why should I play this game over [x]?"

See below article for more:


#16

Like a couple of people here, Overgrowth is the longest and closest I’ve followed a game through development, though in the recent years I’ve fallen off the news and I’m now more lukewarm on it. It’s been in my consciousness for quite a while, before it hit beta, before it was available on Steam, before many of its current features and polishing touches were in place.

I loved playing around with the movement mechanics, the loose physics based combat and the vague element of stealth. When I was in on the alpha releases they had an in-engine level editor where you could easily create platforms, spawn enemies and give them weapons, or hog the weapons for yourself; I think the customisability made up for the lack of a real campaign structure.

I hope their campaign creation goes well and the game is successful, I want to see the finished release some day.


#17

Surprised no one has mentioned Kingdom Hearts III yet. I guess it didn’t technically start development until a few years ago, so maybe that’s why. But taking into account the fact that I figured it’d be out immediately after KHII which came out in 2006, I’ve been waiting 11 years and it’s still not out yet. In 2006 I was 12 years old. In that time I’ve finished Middle School, High School, and college. And it’s still not out yet.


#18

So I haven’t been following this game for the longest time, but definitely with the most enthusiasm: Kentucky Route Zero. I picked it up not too long after Act III was released, and I vibed with that game right away in a way that no other game has done. Since then I have been regularly checking Cardboard Computer’s twitter page, watching their live streams, and patiently waiting for every bit of new content they put out. It doesn’t even feel like it’s been over three years of me following that game, but every time I’m reminded of it I remember just how special that game still is to me. No other game has gotten me to spend hours of my day watching old 70’s experimental documentaries or track down the bibliography of a fake playwright, but KRZ definitely has.

Sidenote: just today they announced a partnership with Annapurna, plan to release the final act early next year, and might release the next interlude “very soon,” so I’m having a good day in this regard.


#19

I mean, in terms of games that were followed for the longest amount of time, I feel like everyone kinda “followed” the Duke Nukem Forever development process–if only in a “I’m terrible and can’t look away from this 80 car pileup” sort of way, at some point.


#20

I’ve been following Saturated Dreamers for a looooonnngg time. Enjoyed the staff’s earlier work on Immortal Defense, couldn’t wait to see their next project. It’s been years, though? It sounds like they’re putting it out this year, but who really knows…

Also: unrelated, but I cried when Nier Automata was announced. Thought it would never happen.


#21

Hey, I made that 2014 trailer! It’s probably the video I’m most proud of making, and I always enjoy seeing it pop up somewhere. Hopefully one day it will be an obscure footnote to a successful game with a large, thriving community.

As for the question: When I was in highschool, I didn’t have nearly as many resources for keeping track of games in development. I remember reading about Project Ego/Fable in Game Informer years before it came out (and then being disappointed that Peter Molyneux did not quite deliver on the hype). Like others, I was watching Overgrowth while they were regularly posting updates on Youtube. I got onto Wolfire through Black Shades and Lugaru. Once a year or so I look up how Ground Branch is coming along. I don’t remember when it started, but it’s been several years.

I have been watching Sub Rosa since that 7dfps jam, but it’s not the longest I’ve been watching a Cryptic Sea game. In 2011 or so, some friends in the Arma gaming group I’m in got a few of us to download Hockey? and we had a few hours of fun flailing around on the ice. I dug around further on the Cryptic Sea site and saw the 2008 trailer for A New Zero and downloaded the demo that was current at the time. I played the hell out of it, and started following Alex’s devblog. When he posted about the game jam and Sub Rosa, he mentioned he was inspired by “Dark Business,” an Arma mission that he’d seen our group play. Reading that post was like unexpectedly seeing myself on the news. We got a small test game together with him and David from Wolfire back in version 0.06 or so. Sub Rosa has since evolved into something much deeper and more suited to public play than Dark Business. A New Zero and Sub Rosa seemed to be developing alongside each other, with updates from one making it into the other. I don’t know if he’s actually still developing ANZ or if it’s on hold while focusing on Sub Rosa. It’s been a couple years since I’ve played either game, but I still follow Alex on Twitter for updates on all of his projects. Recently I’ve enjoyed playing Golf For Workgroups, which was released on Steam this year after technically being in development by Cryptic Sea since 2005 or so.