Decadence: Home, Sweet Home

This is a good example of a first project of a young and enthusiastic team that ends up being devoured by its own ambition.

I joined the Revolution System Games team for a year (2012-2013) as a narrative designer and scriptwriter on what would be their first and last video game. A team of about 15 people (at that time a fairly sizable team for an indie studio, although the term «indie» wasn’t even used yet) was working on an open-world RPG set in a post-apocalyptic universe, with an aesthetic somewhere between Fallout and Fable.

The main problem, and the reason the project was eventually cancelled, is that the team was working on its own engine, something that buried the creators’ aspirations forever.

But that wasn’t the only drawback. The game was huge. And I mean HUGE.

For better and for worse, the game was inspired by open worlds like Shenmue. This meant that all NPCs had their own daily routes and a lot of generic dialogue had to be generated for each occasion. There was also a Diablo-like inventory system and the option to buy and sell items that improved attack and defence attributes, so it was necessary, on top of everything else, to properly balance the stats of the equipment in relation to the amount of money and the stats of the enemies. Quite a big (and unnecessary) headache for an inexperienced team.

Despite the setback, my first experience with the world of video games helped me to learn a lot about time management, organisational structure, and narrative design, which I tried to keep fully documented at all times. Here is the final narrative design document of the project:

I still believe the game looked pretty good for the time:

There was even some pre-alpha footage with gameplay and cutscenes:

The truth is, despite the huge disappointment of the project’s cancellation, I’m still strangely proud of this work. I was even interviewed on an indie game development portal! I believe it somehow encouraged me to continue on the path of creative writing and game research that has brought me to where I am today. I’m very grateful for the opportunity!

Te has perdido