We did it.
After a ton of work from this awesome team, we finally finished and presented our demo of Through Rust we Are Returned. I am incredibly proud of this project whether we go forward or not into the spring. No matter what, I know we have crated an awesome portfolio piece that this whole team is proud of.
The demo of TRWAR, I believe, gives a good feel for what the greater game will be like. The player gets introduced to Angel (the main character who you control) and M.U.M. (another of the game's main characters). TRWAR is ultimately a game about anti-authoritarianism but I wanted to tell this story from a more interesting perceptive than the traditional "rebel fighting the system" Star Wars-esque perceptive we often see. In this case, Angel is a law enforcer sent to put down the rebels and it is only throughout the game that you start realizing that you are not on the good-guy's side. In the case of the demo, you are fighting AI Anarchists and at the end discover their leader was an old friend of yours. As you start to question your protector and guardian, M.U.M., (who is an AI squarely on the side of the authoritarian British Imperium) you have your memories erased to prevent you from learning more about your past. This narrative arc of the demo gives a taste of what the grater game will be like while also telling a concise story.
Another aspect of Through Rust we Are Returned that has shifted throughout development is figuring out who this game is targeted at. This is one of the first games I've developed that is not aimed at causal players and this fact has been really exciting. We are hoping to attract a small but devoted group of strategy RPG players who will also be interested in our game's narrative. This has meant that me and my fellow designer have gotten a lot of freedom to develop complex systems that this core of players can really sink their teeth into as they play the game. Building off of this, I think one of the biggest successes of our demo was creating a functioning version of our Memory Map and Thought Process systems. These are our core progression and build-crafting systems and not only were we able to create a demo that includes them but I watched QA testers consider and plan their choices, showing that this core progression system is compelling (at least on some level).
Will I be sad if we don't get approved to go on next semester? Sure, I have all sorts of ideas for this project and will miss working with this talented group of people. Despite this, I also know that no matter what we have already created an awesome, portfolio-quality piece of work that we are all very proud of.