Game Director Story Demo Impression
“I learned playing this demo that I would make a terrible manager and we would likely all be living in boxes because I cannot seem to balance the teams needs all at once.”
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at running a game studio? In Double Blit Games’s Game Director Story, players will take on the role of Owlice, a game director who oversees a team charging to the finish line of their current project. If you ever wanted to understand how challenging, draining, and rewarding game development is, this game will certainly give you a small taste of that experience.
With only fourteen days to complete the project, Owlice must juggle a variety of tasks including supervising team moral, managing cash flow, keeping the ‘reps happy, and ensuring that the game’s development stays on track. Through a series of chats, Owlice must make difficult decisions for the sake of their team and try to succeed in making it to the end goal of getting their product to E3.
Given this game is part of the Steam Game Festival, the demo is short, but it gives you a good introduction of what to expect from this visual novel. With razor sharp wit and clever writing, the demo gives a sense that there is a strong and fun ensemble cast to follow. My personal favourite was Tala, the studio’s audio engineer, who constantly needs to be in “the vibe zone” to be productive. If you have ever managed a team, it can be overwhelming, and in games creation, when working with tons of creative types, it is easy to fall off the rails. Given the limited amount of days to work with, it’s hard to gauge what tasks may be the most vital, when everyone is coming to you saying their task is the most important.
I can honestly say that I could feel the frenzy in this demo in terms of making decisions. It’s so easy to get caught up in what the team feels is valuable, versus what the publisher deems is necessary. I found myself yo-yoing back and forth trying to keep up with the needs of my team and ended up failing on day seven because we were stupidly over budget and had nothing to show for it. My ending had the publisher pull out because my studio my studio was deemed “a liability.” My team was forced back to the drawing board.
I appreciate how much of this game clearly is based on real life accounts and how stressful it can be a development team. This demo was merely to show off the game’s writing and core decision making, but it’s also clear it’s to give gamers a full picture on how to deal with unexpected situations. Game Director Story also looks at how to forge stronger relationships with your teammates, but also how to live with the consequences that comes from being the boss.
Overall, I am impressed with what I played during the demo and am excited to see the final product when it it releases later in 2020. I love visual novels with timed response choices, if only because it challenges me to make split decisions, and work on the fly. I learned playing this demo that I would make a terrible manager and we would likely all be living in boxes because I cannot seem to balance the teams needs all at once. However, once the full product is released, I will be trying again to see if I have learned from my mistakes.