Q:Will you bring some voice acting in Solstice? I know that good voice acting can convey so much in a dialogue, but it can be hard to find good voice actors.
This gets brought up quite a lot, so I’ll go into a bit more detail on why voice acting is beyond our reach. At least in the foreseeable future.
- Our games tend to be pretty big. Cinders’ script contains 155k words, spoken by 11 different characters. Recording it all in a reasonable quality would cost thousands of dollars. Possibly more than we can expect to earn from this kind of game.
- We could go budget mode and hire amateur actors, but it’d still cost quite a while, and in our opinion half-assed voice acting is worse than no voice acting at all. Takes you out of the mood completely, while beeps at least get your imagination working.
But it’s really nothing compared to the logistics of it all:
- 155k words that have to be written, then directed and recorded, then cut into lines, then equalized/smoothened, then added to the game.
- And if anything changes in the text, like due to player or editor feedback, it has to be recorded and implemented again.
- All of this would have to be done right at the end of development, when all the text is ready and proofread, delaying the release by several more months.
- We’re just 4 people here, with only me handling the technicals and production stuff, so it would significantly cut into development time.
Hope that explains things a bit. And sorry I don’t have a more positive answer for you :).
Q:How many different endings will solstice have?
Four basic paths with multiple variants, just like in Cinders. Weight is put a bit differently though. Main paths relate to what happens to the City itself, variants are for particular character epilogues.
Steam just rolled a huge (and very blue) update to its storefront! It puts much more weight on personalized recommendations, tags, user reviews and curators.
We’re still unsure how it’s going to affect us, but one thing is certain: while Cinders won’t suddenly start appealing to the mainstream audience (especially not in the recent clime surrounding anything to do with feminism and video games), there are still players interested in narrative games who never heard about it.
So hey, if you enjoyed Cinders and would like to see more stuff like it appear on Steam in the future, please consider leaving your review on our store page.
Also, we totally need more Steam curators interested in anything other than shooting zombies! ;)
Q:You've probably heard this question a hundred times, but: what is an approximate release date of Solstice? Thank you. (I've pre-ordered it, by the way).
I hate answering this question, as I always end up doing some guesstimates in good faith, then the game inevitably gets delayed, and I feel like a big fat liar. ;)
Solstice is a huge project, and we’re all crazy perfectionists here, prone to tweaking and polishing stuff again and again, making schedules very unpredictable.
So while I can’t say when we’re going to be done, I can tell you where we are now:
- All of the game’s 6 chapters are already written sans some minor stuff.
- Out of those, 4 are already polished and implemented in the game.
- The 4th chapter had some pacing issues, and we’re currently working on resolving them.
- Once we’re done, the game will be handed to proofreaders and editors.
- Remaining 2 chapters pretty much work as a single grand finale. It’s a lot of work, however, as they involve heavy branching dependent on which characters make it that far.
- Then it’s all testing and the game’s gonna be out. First for pre-order owners, then for everybody else.
As you can see, there’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re definitely on the last stretch. Once again, thanks everyone for your patience. This has been our hardest project by a large margin, but we really believe it’s going to be worth the wait :).
Q:As a longtime KOTOR fan, now I'm REALLY curious. Which KOTOR2 character influenced Solstice? (I'm even more eager to play the game now so I can try and figure out where the influence is in the narrative!)
Hubert says it would be a spoiler if he disclosed who it is, even if only a minor one. ;)
Q:What inspired you guys to make Solstice?
Ah, THE question! :). I’ll let Agnes and Hubert (Solstice writers) answer this one:
We wanted to make a game we ourselves would like to play, obviously, which meant focusing on the aspects we rarely ever found satisfying in other games. So you could say we were inspired by those things that are uninspired in the adventure genre in general.
This boiled down to two things: a diverse cast of complex characters we could relate to, and a narrative driven by confronting people rather than events. One character from Knights of the Old Republic II had a significant impact on our idea of what it means to have a well-developed and complex NPC in a game. We wanted to re-create the way that character felt and show that in-game dialogue can give you goose bumps, even when you’re not wielding a sword or speak to a 10 ft tall monster.
The setting is a mix of general fantasy motifs with film noir. The strongest inspiration for the City was Polanski’s Chinatown. When it came to visuals we asked Gracjana to create a melting pot environment where Italian Renaissance and Central Asian Muslim architecture could exist side by side.
To a small degree the characters, especially the two protagonists and their “romantic” relationships, are based on our own experiences. We can both be as snarky as Yani and as irresponsible as Galen, as Tom and Gracjana will surely confirm. To varying degrees, we both have a taste for men in our own city, so that is what we used. Additionally, there are two male characters in the game whose looks were based on real people, quite well-known in certain circles.