TÖKEN - Reviving a Game on the Brink!
TÖKEN was born one night in mid-August. By late September, a team had been assembled and development had begun. My role on the project was that of the Designer and Producer. We quickly got a prototype up and running, and behold! After about 30 seconds of playing, our testers discovered the "Ah-Ha!" moment and were quick to express support! This was the final push we needed to launch into full development.
Queue the Pitch Video.
Released to garner attention and support for our game among local and international developers it was by all means a success! Our public announcement of the game's internal deadlines and milestones, however, lead to a lot of confusion and frustration for fans in the long run.
Over the following months, we would have people come to us and exclaim with a big smile on their face that they LÖVED our stop-motion pitch. However upon seeing our game, it was both cool AND disappointing. The pitch does a fine job of building up hype and explaining the game, but after 3 months all we had to show was exactly that... the game.
A very well polished game that ran on mobile devices and played well on PC. The single player component fell flat and the multiplayer component required too much organization for the average player to cobble together.
While the product we had was by all means ready to ship. Enthusiasm for the project had died. It didn't perform very well with repeat testers, or on showroom floors. Members of the team lost confidence that the game would be able to stand up by itself on the market. What had gone wrong?
In our pitch video, the proposed game has character. Our game at this point was fun to play the first few matches but had very poor user retention.The singleplayer element lacked a clear "Ah-ha!" moment, and 3-Player local multiplayer was simply a hard sell for many mobile gamers.
We delayed launch until December to refine things further. Then the team simply got busy.Most of the team had been working part-time, and now everyone was working full-time. TÖKEN might have died and been buried in our (D:) drives at this point. However, between busy weeks we began doing some research, speaking with external developers, and exploring TÖKEN's potential.
Hearthstone and Armello are outstanding digital games, that at their core started as a physical card & board games. Stripping away the fancy paint, a Hearthstone card is a couple numbers and a keyword or two. Without the worldbuilding and characters, Armello would still be at heart a board game with dice, rules, and tokens.
We focused too strongly on recreating a physical board game in a digital space. TÖKEN needs a new coat of paint and something to frame the game. Something that was only possible within digital media.
Development sparks again.
Why did players originally fawn over the game? - The concept seemed to have a lot of character and personality. - Players were able to quickly discover the "Ah-Ha" moment. - Playing with friends lead to a lot of enjoyable taunting and table-talk.
We need a stronger singleplayer experience.
We'll build out a campaign with a unique and interesting cast of characters. These characters will fill in the table talk and shit-stirring that made multiplayer so fun. Not to the same degree of course, but it should be enough to at least hook the player's attention. Players should be able to effect the actions and responses of these characters using a very basic conversation system similar to Hearthstone's.
The campaign will ease players into new strategies and mechanics slowly. It will also act as a progression system, so the player unlocks new tokens and color palettes by beating characters. Tokens and color palettes unlocked in singleplayer will be useable in local multiplayer.
We will strongly integrate the game with social media.
Encouraging and supporting screenshot sharing via Twitter or integrating with Facebook to compare progress with friends.
Needless to say, TÖKEN has been revived from the brink of death. The team is reuniting. Research has been done. Development begins again with a newfound clarity of vision and enthusiasm.
Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to read over this. For those of you who have known about TÖKEN, thank you for your patience and support. <3