As of this week, Muteki is now 12 years old. It's crazy to think both how fast the time has simply flown by, and how much we've done over those years. It's also crazy to think how little we've done publicly over the last five. Let us take this chance to right that wrong, offer some insight as to what we've been up to, and maybe shine some light on what's coming next.
This might be a long one, so here we go...
The last five years
On top of anything we do as Muteki, it's important to note that we stay busy on a lot of projects. We have always worked with other companies on things we found interesting. As a perfect example, did you know that some of the Muteki crew worked on The Disney Afternoon Collection? What about the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection? Or what about some pinball machines? The list could go on, but that isn't what you're here for, so let's talk Muteki.
Our last new game release was in late 2013 when we released Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice (then known as Dragon Fantasy Book II) on the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. Since then we released the game for PC/Mac/Linux, Nintendo 3DS, WiiU, and iOS/tvOS. We even did a limited physical release with the help of Limited Run Games. And then someone had to go and open their big mouth and make a promise...
Rumor has it if we sell out with @LimitedRunGames next week we'll do an LRG release of the first game with a new chapter added. Allegedly.— mutekicorp (@mutekicorp) September 9, 2016
See, we care about our fans, and saying something like this means we have to do it. Unfortunately, our ambitions have a way of getting away from us...
So, about them Volumes of Westeria?
We originally intended to release this Special Edition of the first game in 2017. We thought it'd be quick and fun to add some more maps and call it a day. Then we got ambitious. New ideas flooded for different mechanics we hadn't played with before. You would think having come off of a large game like Black Tome of Ice we'd recognize these symptoms that tend to delay projects and hold off releases. But when you're excited, you're excited.
Our last real update on this was over a year ago. In that time, the entirety of the scripting, maps, and dialog has been thrown out and rewritten. The core idea remained and just about nothing else. As of this week, we're excited to announce the latest status on this:
- Dialog is written
- Programming is completed
- Scripting is completed
We have a few bits of art to clean up, and then it's off to final testing and then finally on to submission. While we'd love to give a more solid date, we'd also hate to pin ourselves down and risk missing it.
The problem with promises
We like keeping our word to our fans. Now, we won't pretend that we're perfect, or that we follow up on every single message we receive. But when we say we're going to do something, we want to do it. Having yet to finish the VoW special edition, there's this feeling that we're betraying our fans if we go off and make something else. But at the same time, there's this constant urge and drive to do just that.
That leads us to having a lot of prototypes of games over the past couple years that we start, and then put on hold, because that promise hasn't been fulfilled yet.
Here's a few examples of some of the crazier ideas we've played around with:
C64? Yes, please!
We originally posted this as a joke, but then decided maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. The screenshots above are taken from an emulator, but it fully runs on an actual C64. It was to be a mixed JRPG style game with ARPG elements on the Commodore 64. We even started looking at production partners to ship boxed copies of the game on floppy or cartridge. Ultimately, we decided the pay-off would be too small for now and we have bigger audiences to reach. Even so, we may come back to this in the future because it's just so much fun working on these older machines.
We've played around with various VR technologies, but honestly it was Daydream that was the first really exciting one for us. The fact that it wasn't tethered to a machine made it feel a lot more free, and the pointer, while limited in functionality, was enough to get working interfaces. So, we decided to throw a demo together. We took a few assets we had laying around from an old 3DS demo and voila, Pirate Bay VR:
It was fun enough to play around in for a few minutes, but not really enough to call it a complete game. And in all honesty, there just isn't large enough of an install base for Daydream VR to make this worth finishing. And this is coming from the same people who just paragraphs above were talking about selling boxed Commodore 64 games on floppy disks...
Another fun exploration was into Wearables and how they could serve as a gaming device. The result of this was Rock Monster Rush. A small, fast-paced Rogue-like where you pick a class of Rock Monster, and battle through increasingly difficult levels gathering random gear to become more powerful. We didn't get far enough along to really judge if this is a fun and engaging experience people would want to play on their wrist throughout the day before shelving this to get back to more important projects.
As long as we keep having our own wearables on our wrists there is a small chance we may returned to this. But promises are promises.
The Rippon Brothers
Did you know that Adam has a brother? True story! And such was his brotherly love that he decided his brother should also start making games. The teaching began. Then came the game demos. Now some months later, his brother is officially "in the industry" and a fellow game developer.
In addition to these ideas we left behind, there are a few things in the works.
Dragon Fantasy: Volumes of Westeria for PS4
As discussed above, this is our top priority. We are very close to completion on this and look forward to being announce when it is submitted, and even more so when we have an actual release date. The plan is for a PlayStation 4 digital release, alongside a physical release for PlayStation 4 through our friends at Limited Run Games again. We haven't yet settled on if there is enough demand for a Vita physical copy, so please, let us (and LRG) know!
Dragon Fantasy on Nintendo Switch
This is something we get asked about fairly often. Unfortunately, we haven't actually been approved by Nintendo for development on the Switch yet. Until that happens there is really nothing more we can say about this. So, if you are a Switch lover and want to see the Dragon Fantasy games on your favorite console, let Nintendo (and us!) know and hopefully we can make that happen. But for now, it isn't in our control.
Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice for Android
This is something that is more than a long time coming. We intended to release this along side the iOS version and in all honesty it simply fell through the cracks. That said, we want to make sure we right this horrible wrong and get this game out on Android right after that DF: VoW build is submitted. Thank you for your patience, Android lovers.
An updated website
Our website hasn't been touched in years. Outside of the 2 or 3 blog posts each year (all of which promise more frequent blog posts... a promise we need to get better at keeping!) there's little content to go for and little information to gather. There isn't sufficient information about our games. There isn't a place to reach out to for questions. We don't even do a good job of helping ourselves by making it easier for people to find our games to buy.
Some updates were started recently that we expect to finish over the course of the next couple of months to remedy all of those issues, as well as make the site a little more fun. After all, in the most wise of words from Theodor Geisel, "these things are fun, and fun is good."
In addition to the above, we also have something new in the works. An Unreal Engine 4 powered side-scrolling shmup that blends aspects of a few well-loved classic titles and adds to them some fun gameplay elements from games we worked on in the distant pre-Muteki past. This we currently have plans to complete following the above work and will have more to share about in the coming months.
But what about...
...another Dragon Fantasy? This is a question that comes our way regularly. Our standard response has been that we don't yet have anything to announce and that when we do we will. Given the years since the last new entry in the series and the fact that we still get this question regularly, we knew there would be a time to start thinking more seriously about this. That time came in the middle of last year when we started throwing ideas around for gameplay and story.
There are no dates to share, and we are definitely in the early days of this project. Still, while we don't want to call this an official announcement by any means, we have started. Designers have done some designing, artists have done some arting, and Ogden has, well, you tell us: