Sept #3: THEODORE
“Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all,” said Ernest Shackleton, somewhere between Antarctic triumph and dying in South Georgia of an alcohol-induced heart attack. I wonder which end of that spectrum I’ll end up on?
I’ve always had a thing for cold, heroic exploration. Whether it’s a first-hand account of Scott’s final expedition to the South Pole in The Worst Journey in the World or the inescapable paranoia of John Carpenter’s The Thing, there’s something about the mad, unnecessary heroism of humans conquering the impossible that really gets me where it hurts.
I wouldn’t last five minutes in the Antarctic, but I do think Shackleton’s worth listening to. I like seeing problems as a challenge, though I should admit I’m a pathological fixer. I have actually practised the scene in Parks and Recreation where Chris Traeger, another pathological fixer, learns two very important words:
When your life’s been shredded, I hear, one way to deal with it is to look up at all the pieces floating down on you and actively decide which bits to catch. So here’s what AK and I plan to do next.
We’re going to do More Stuff with Cultist Simulator. It’s a great, flawed game that we can improve upon and shout about, proudly, to a lot more people than we have already. So you can expect more from that quarter over the next six to twelve months.
We’re working on a previously unannounced title, which we were working on before all this happened, and which goes back to Weather Factory’s specifically experimental roots. If it works, it’ll solve a really interesting creative problem AK’s been working on for years. If it doesn’t, we will understand why nobody’s managed to solve this problem yet and look a bit sheepish. It’ll also allow us to try a bunch of experimental developmental and marketing stuff, which is good when you’re personae non gratae outside the golden glow of the communal campfire. Us and the trash pandas. And Shackleton, if he likes.
We’re no longer able to work on multiple titles at once, but once this unannounced experimental game’s up and running, we’ll most likely return to BOOK OF HOURS. It’ll be a smaller beast than it was, comparable in size and imperfection to Cultist Simulator, but just as hygge and friendly. I’m too disappointed right now – in people, and the internet – to totally get on board with a kind, satisfying game about organising a magic library, but in twelve months’ time, I’ll be ready.
In the meantime, our “State of the Factory: Year 2” should make for interesting reading, if you’re into the business ramifications of pretty much the worst PR a small indie studio could have. AK may turn his hand to some non-game-specific writing, but again, we’ll see what happens.
I don’t think we’re what Jon Ronson called ‘the brutal nadir’. But I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject, from Cybersmile to the UK government’s advice on workplace bullying to Crash Override. So I’m slowly beginning to understand what happened here, and can start making plans for the future again. Weather Factory’s road leads on, and if it isn’t the same golden path it used to be, there are still a few mad-eyed birbs in the underbrush which keep it worth the walking.