In 2016, we set out to find local indie game developers to make connections with. What we found was as many inspired individuals with talents doing as little, or less, than we were. Quickly we came to understand that if we couldn’t find “people to know,” we would become the people to know. We knocked out a couple mobile games, Chibi Chase and Rainbow Reflex, to prove what we could do. Later that summer we began to bring our friends into the fold and produced the mobile preview as a proof-of-concept for our current project, Death Witch. Showing the game at GDEX in 2016 provided the positive feedback to know that what we thought we might be able to do was a reality of what we can do. We had started an indiedev. But all of this is ancient history.
2017 was the first full year that Stray Cat Studios was in operation. We started the year with a game project, a team, and a general plan. Everything we undertook last year was in order to move all of those things forward and I wanted to take time here at the beginning of the year to outline all of our growth from the past year as well as share some company objectives for 2018.
First, while we had the elements of level one of Death Witch: Bloodline designed for the mobile preview, the work on it really began in earnest in April of 2017. We already knew that we would be returning to GDEX with the first showing of the PC version of the game, so with that in mind we set out to bring more than just an updated version of level one. Investments were made in new hardware and software to give our team the opportunity to shine on the software they trained on. Each of these investments have done us well throughout 2017, as these hardware and software investment allowed the quality of the work created by our team matched their skill and was not limited by the tools.
Working remotely certainly presented it’s challenges, but the production of the game persisted throughout the summer, sometimes by sheer will alone. Obstacles occurred along the way, such as time and money, but nevertheless as we had set out to do, we were in a strong position to show a full two levels at GDEX, just 6 months later. (Remember, the game was nearly entirely resculpted, remodeled, retextured, reblueprinted from the original mobile preview.) The last week leading up to GDEX we took time to bring everyone together in order to incorporate all of the assets and team skills into Unreal and make the game the best that it could be. It was during this week that we also announced that a second game was in the works, Hyperloop Escape, and would be shown as a demo at GDEX as well.
Fourth quarter is always a hectic time in any business, and Stray Cat Studios is no exception, however we managed to finish most of the assets for the third level by the end of the year, and a few after, putting us in great shape to meet our goals for 2018.
When we founded our studio, it was then that we realized we already knew who we needed to make games. Throughout 2016 we reached out to our friends to take part and in 2017 we solidified those roles. We are first and foremost creators, and so our games reflect us as a team of artists rather than a team of coders. Many game developers either rely on Unity or Unreal or other such marketplaces, but we have hand crafted every part of the characters, environments, hard surface and organic objects. We have created our own 2D and 3D art at every step of the way. This takes time, but in the end creates a wholly original and more “cared for” visual aesthetic that other companies can’t match. I cannot express enough how our talented artists make this project more than an average indie game.
However, some art forms are very different than others and we have used outside talent in our games as well. Since the first two mobile games, we have used dotWAVsound as our audio team for sound effects and soundtracks alike. Their original score for Death Witch: Bloodline is one of my favorites. They are currently in development of the audio for Hyperloop Escape and while we would love to bring them both under the umbrella of Stray Cat Studios, the autonomous dotWAVsound will remain our audio department of choice for some time to come.
2017 was an outstanding year for growth in Stray Cat Studios, but 2018 is poised to do even better. We are in a strong position to release Death Witch: Bloodline in the first half of the year, Hyperloop Escape over the summer, and an untitled project by the end of the year. It’s an ambitious schedule, yes, but we are foaming at the mouth with ambition. It’s a lot of dedication and deadlines for everyone involved, but we have one of the best collections of artists around.
Lastly, as an exclamation mark on this report and a great way to stir inspiration for the year to come, I am pleased to announce that Codey and myself will be in attendance of GDC 2018 in San Francisco this March! We will be continuing to expand our brand, name recognition, and growing list of industry connections. I’m super excited to get a chance to meet with industry professionals and talk about everything we have done to make Death Witch, and Stray Cat Studios, a reality.
Once last time, here’s to a great 2018!
- Leroy Binks