First of all…HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!
We at Senshi.Labs definitely have a lot to be thankful for. Near the end of 2016, for starters, we won four awards at the ICT Creative Awards Night: Best Narrative, Best Sound and Music Design, Best Educational Game for Adarna 2: Alamat ni Maria Blanca, and Game of the Year for Book 1: Pisces.
And the month before that, we had an awesome experience at ESGS2016 where we had our photos taken with Castlevania’s Koji “Iga” Igarashi and had interviews with various interesting media personalities. We were able to talk about what makes Alamat ni Maria Blanca different from our other projects.
For this year, there are two games still left in the pipeline. These are actually the last of the games we had planned in 2015. In fact Mathoria: The Final Solution should have been released before Alamat ni Maria Blanca. If some of you might be able to remember, the original Mathoria was released in December 2014 and then launched on Steam’s Greenlight in early 2016. Its sequel should have immediately followed suit, but we were juggling so many things that its release had to be pushed back.
The good news is that it’s almost done.
Yes! We can finally move on. Unlike its predecessor, which focused solely on addition, Mathoria: The Final Solution combines all four mathematical operations. You now get to explore more of the several islands within the world of Mathoria as well as the protagonist’s back story. Speaking of protagonists, you no longer play as a lonesome individual. You are now accompanied by Roxanne, who has family problems of her own. The story remains simple, as we did not want to make things complicated for our youngest players.
Many of the tilesets are still done by Jeremy Plana, but we have a new lead artist: Kimberley Warne, who also happened to be the lead artist for Alamat ni Maria Blanca. Like Jeremy, Kim is flexible in her style despite her darker palette. As for the music, none other than Nhyne Junio worked on it. If you want to know more about the art and the music of Mathoria, you can click here.
The last game we plan to release in 2017 is Book 2: Taurus for the War Guardian Chronicles. This game’s story begins before the events of Book 1: Pisces but then also covers events that happened during AND after Pisces.
DocB no longer has to work on the design, sprites, story, and mechanics all by herself. This time, she solely focused on the narrative and the level designs, because the mechanics have been already pretty much in place since Pisces. The trickiest part is making sure that Taurus’ major plot points are aligned with that of Pisces’, considering that their stories are intertwined. The Taurus team, however, aims to have a richer narrative than its predecessor, especially after the success of Maria Blanca.
With Taurus, we completely scrapped all the existing tilesets used in Pisces. This makes the development process longer than our usual cycle. Map designs were done by Detroit Tañeca, while the tilesets and sprites themselves were a combined effort of Detroit and Hans Antonio. Backgrounds are done by Andrei Ferrer, while Sheryl Lim and Lorianne Halago rework some of the monsters and portraits. The look had to change, with all art assets coming solely from our own team, even if the War Guardian Chronicles atmosphere remains intact. There will also be additional music done by Nhyne Junio.
One of the games we had worked on in 2015 and planned to release in 2016 was Brushstrokes. This was from the same team that created Anemone. This is also one of the reasons why we want to go into a research break because this is one of the games that has been stuck in the back burner for ages. Brushstrokes is the story of a girl who tries to make sense of her family’s life. The game starts out as completely gray. With every puzzle that the protagonist solves, the rooms will start to show their true colors.
Brushstrokes is in 3D and its demo, which we’ll be releasing one of these days, was done in Unity. Our only problem, however, is not that we’re undermanned. We do have a 2D team that can do 3D. It’s that we lack resources: time, funds, energy.
Going on Hiatus
Speaking of resources, Senshi.Labs will be going on a research break to replenish these. For the most part, we realized that we’re actually more of a club than a game company. Most of us have day jobs (also in the game dev industry) and do Senshi work during our spare time. From 2014-2015, most of the teams inside Senshi worked on separate games, which was how we were able to release six games in two years. But in 2016, some of the teams dissolved and we all merged into one core team. With the smaller team, we were more efficient, communicated better, and we produced games that we were actually quite happy with. This core team worked on all the games that were released in 2016. This core team will also be responsible for the releases of 2017.
To be honest, core is a bit tired. We are brimming with game ideas and are constantly producing art, narratives, and other game components. But we feel that between our day jobs and our game dev activities, we need to take a breather. We still want to be able to make that dream game, but it won’t be possible if we wore ourselves thin. So we shall go on hiatus as soon as Taurus is launched. That won’t probably happen until the third or fourth quarter of 2017, so we’ll still be here to keep our supporters company until then.
With that said, we’d like to thank all of you for staying with us and continuously supporting us. Without you, we would not have lasted this long.
Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR! And may 2017 be as exciting for you as it is for us.