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Postmortem: Tale of Tales' The Path
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Postmortem: Tale of Tales' The Path

July 22, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 8 Next

December 2007 was an encouraging month. We had decided to pay the 3,000 euro participation fee for Game Connection in Lyon. Game Connection is an event where developers can present their projects to publishers through very short back-to-back meetings over the course of three days.

Thanks to the loan, we didn't really need publisher investment -- but we wanted to see how commercially-minded people would respond to our idea. Because we still weren't sure if we were completely crazy or not. The response was remarkably positive. So much so that we even followed up on a few of the contacts made. But as usual, all of it fell in the water sooner or later. Publishers seem so disorganized and unreliable sometimes.

In that same December 2007, Edge magazine featured a double spread about Tale of Tales that focused on our new production. And our demo of The Path was selected for "Excellence in Visual Art" in the Independent Games Festival.

We personally had no doubt about the quality of our project. But we also had no illusions about the bias of the IGF jury towards more "game-like" video games. They had rejected The Endless Forest the year before, so we weren't expecting much better for The Path.

And we still think that our game was not just selected on its own merit, but partially because of our big mouth. We had triggered a lot of discussions with several blog posts that were very critical of the current state of game design, without which it would have been a lot easier to ignore us. In short: the marketing plan was working!

The four-page article in Edge Magazine, December 2007 was very exciting and encouraging!

So, in February 2008, we were presenting The Path in the Game Developers Conference again. This time with a proper playable demo in the Independent Games Festival pavilion, among dozens of indie colleagues in the year when indie games really made their big push towards public recognition. It was quite an exhilarating experience -- an intense three-day long playtest session from which we gathered heaps of information.

Partially to force ourselves to take a break, and partially because of marketing benefits, we decided to interrupt the production of The Path briefly to develop a small game that we had acquired some arts funding for. In March 2008, we released The Graveyard. Since we had applied some of the ideas in The Path about minimalist interaction design to it, The Graveyard became an interesting test to find out how the audience would respond to our ideas.

It was also a way to figure out the whole e-commerce thing. The Graveyard was not designed as a commercial title but selling a "full version" of the game with only one difference (the possibility of the death of the protagonist) was part of the artistic concept. And it makes no difference to PayPal what your intentions behind charging are. This experience helped us prepare for the commercial launch of The Path a year later.


On 17 March, the day before leaving for the Game Developers Conference, we "pre-launched" The Path with co-producer Villanella in the Muhka Media Film Museum in Antwerp. The evening consisted of an interview with Flemish culture diva Chantal Pattyn, a short playthrough of the game on a big screen, the opportunity for the audience to play The Path before its official launch date in the company of a Robin cosplayer, our first!

More photos...

On 18 March 2009, at 9 o'clock in the evening, The Path was launched from a room in the hotel in San Francisco where we had first met 10 years ago. We released our seven daughters from our hotel bed and checked email on our laptops over and over again to see the messages flow in. It was a joyous moment.

On 24 March, we had our public launch event in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, right around the corner of the Moscone Center where the Game Developers Conference was taking place. It was an intimate gathering, about 80 invited guests, with wine and bread and a play session projected on the big screen, accompanied by live music performed on the stage of the small cinema by Jarboe and Kris Force.

More photos...

Article Start Previous Page 2 of 8 Next

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