Lots to share this week even though the team is knee deep in work and in story related content. Enjoy!
As we near the end of content complete, we come a bit closer to understanding our estimates, and what we can/can’t accomplish in the time we scheduled. The level design schedule is looking tighter than we’d like for the final week, as it has taken a bit longer to record VO than anticipated, so rather than ask everyone to work super crazy hours we’ve made the call to extend content complete by an extra week. This won’t affect street date as we had built in time to the schedule for exactly this kind of situation. So, still roughly 2 weeks to go until we can say “this is the content we’re shipping with”.
In the meantime, the team continues integrating content and getting us to the point where we’re ready to submit to ratings. One area of interest right now is the Parade District. Some of you may remember that we had planned to add this in the last Early Access update, but we removed it because we felt it was too intertwined with the story (aka, there was really only story content there, and much less systemic gameplay). Once we made that call, we were also able to make another one: we are creating this area by hand, rather than using the procedural system. This should give the Parade District a very distinct feeling, and provide an experience that is a bit more hand crafted. However, that means a lot of art team time, so almost the entire art team will be working on this for the next two weeks.
Narrative Team - Alex and Lisa
Design Team - David, Hayden, Antoine, Adam, Ben, Eric, Roxanne and Benji
Animation Team - JR, Rémi, Vincent, Mike P, Jules, Raph and Franzi
As you can see with this weapon, you will be able to realize real carnage in a short amount of time! But when you equip it, you are restricted to only walking. This weapon is too heavy for you, so you can't run. It's the same for blocking the attack of your enemy.
So you are not strong enough to do that, but maybe another person can... yes some other NPCs can carry the bone saw. And this transforms them into powerful opponents.
Do you have you an idea who?
Hello people! This week, I was still on cinematic animations. Progressed quite well and did lots of back and forth with the rest of the team for a complicated scene. And when I say the rest of the team, I mean the WHOLE rest of the team. I got some feedback from programmers, artists, concept artists, writers and other animators. I find it quite important that you ask everyone for feedback. Everybody has a different background and knowledge that can apply to your animations. They might not be able to tell you that your animation lacks weight or why it needs more anticipation, but in the conceptual phase, anyone can tell you how they feel about the scene. Everyone has already played a game or seen a movie. If a non-animator notices there’s something off, maybe it’s worth listening to him ;).
Sadly, we were not able to fly to Texas with Alex for the Mocap session, but still managed to be in a conference call and watch them from Montreal. They did an amazing job and Alex was great to direct the actors. The only times we had to communicate is for the initial setup of the scene. Where the characters should be at the beginning/ending of the scene and providing them with the right dimensions of the environment.
I can’t wait to get my hands on this data and start playing with it!
Ahoy lads and lasses, the rest of the animation team is not quite dead, despite what you would think, reading the previous updates. We’re still hard at work on the cinematics, as well as all the little scripted moments that can’t be done with simple conversation animations. Tackling those smaller events is a nice change of pace, especially when you’ve been animating 4000 frames long scenes (Alex quite likes to write, in case you haven’t noticed yet!).
We also welcomed yet another new animator to help us in the final stretch, Franziska. She’s gonna give us a hand on the conversation animations, along with Raph who just arrived a few weeks ago. That makes eight of us, and we all have quite ‘du pain sur la planche’ (did I mention Alex writes a lot?).
Greetings! Aside from integrating several scenes into the game before content complete, I spent the week on the end of the game… yes, you read that right! WHF actually gets a complete story with a beginning and an end. Who would have thought. And let me tell you, it’s short, sweet and totally satisfying. It’s also a technique we haven’t used a whole lot of in the past. Our cinematics are all in first person, but at some point in the game we make a cool transition into a new point of view.
I don’t want to tell you more, because we think the whole thing is a very nice moment in the game and I wouldn’t want to spoil it. After all that, I’m very happy with the story, where it got to and where it’s getting. In the end, it truly is a lovely day for it!
Art Team - Whitney, Emmanuel, Tito, Marc-André, Sarah, Guillaume, Cary and PH
Rock’n Props for another week. I’m still trying to help everybody here with the last minute props before content complete. Unfortunately, this week I can’t really show them to you folks. A lot of them are too much related to the story. However, here’s a little walky talky I made:
Hi people! This week it was all about the Parade District, and trying to make it look as pretty as we can, so Marc, Guillaume and I are working on the island, each of us have a section assigned and our work is to decorate with props, lights and give it the feel of a real place.
Another day, another sign. Hey lil' babies! We're busy busy busy filling all the environmental narrative gaps, and that means lots of signs in the Parade District, where all the trendy Wellies go to get their fab goods, you know. Marc-Andre's going to plug these doers in, and make them look amazing (as he so often does). Can't wait for you guys to see the Parade for yourselves!!!
The Village is undergoing major changes! After two years of creating story encounters and FX, I’m finally back on WorldGen!! Things are moving fast and some big decisions have been made in term of gameplay and final look of the procedural generation; we’ll have more control over it and will be able to predict how levels spawn, therefore being able to effectively art them up and place them into the world, no more gaps! The idea is also to compact the world and being able to predict and control the series of events the player will be facing. All of this is extremely exciting and signifies the final steps for bringing a powerful and coherent experience at anytime and anywhere in the world of We Happy Few!
Engineering Team - Matt, Serge, Michael, Lionel, Rob, Evan, Maarten, Céline, Neil and Guillaume (sometimes)
I have spent the week working on the Doctor, which can now revive someone that you killed during combat. Plus an effort on his signature weapon, the bone saw, has been done with Jules. His unique ability to smell someone that is not on joy allows him to chase you more efficiently than any other archetype (so take your drugs when you see him). We also continue to iterate on conformity rules to increase the pressure on the player while ensuring that the whole experience stays fun.
Getting creepy as we approach Halloween, as I am working on stealth! Specifically this week I have been doing little bits and pieces to get distraction objects working. We want the AI to be so addicted to the sound of smashing and crashing that you can lead them wherever you want with enough empty bottles and rocks. Before this week the citizens of Wellington Wells were really uninterested in using their ears, but with a few tweaks they are getting better.
Hopefully we will continue to improve this, and other stealth gameplay, up until launch, because personally I prefer having the sneakier, less lethal approach to our encounters. After all, they were once your neighbours.
Publishing – Steve, Jeff, Mike C, Mike R, Austin, Meredith, Elisa, Kat, Kelly, Nicole, Sean, Brad, and Erick (and more)
Hey guys! My name’s Kat. I’m a recent East coast transplant to the Dallas area, and one the newest members of the Gearbox team. As the Publishing Project Manager, my days are spent working on thrilling things like Gantt charts, schedules, emails and spreadsheets (which I love)--basically making sure everyone has the most information possible to make awesome stuff! I’ve been working hard on the production of the Time Capsule (what we used to call the Collector’s Box), and currently have a prototype of the mask replica sitting on my desk! Caffeinated lifeblood in a can for scale:
I also helped with a motion capture shoot for an upcoming trailer with Alex yesterday, which was awesome to see. I’ve never been part of something like that before and I learned a lot! I look forward to being able to share more with all of you in the future!
Thanks for tuning in!
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