In an honest indie postmortem
, Wadjet Eye Games' Dave Gilbert discusses the creation of adventure game sequel The Blackwell Convergence
, looking at everything from promotion through art direction and engine to analyze what went right -- and wrong.
For example, lead character Rosa Blackwell was one of the things fans liked best about the first Blackwell
game. In the second, the challenge was evolving her while staying true to who she was:
But, how was I supposed to "fix" Rosa without completely changing her character? Simple. I didn't change her. I just put more focus on her positive traits than her negative ones. Rosa is the bookish sort. She's a writer and a reporter, which makes her intellectual and very observant. She knows when people are acting suspicious or when they are lying. This is a side of Rosa that we didn't see in the first game, so I made a point of showing these traits in the sequel.
Plus, the sequel takes place six months after the first, so she has had the time to mature and get used to her new supernatural abilities. Rosa is still very awkward in the game (and it provides the game with some of its more funny moments), but the awkwardness takes a back seat to her other qualities which get a chance to shine.
When the game was released, the change in Rosa's character was instantly noticed by reviewers. Some criticized it for being too much of a drastic change, while others felt it gave her a much-needed edge. I don't think either is entirely accurate. For me, she is still the same Rosa Blackwell -- just viewed from a different angle.
As with any project, there are some things that weren't as successful -- for example, the higher production values of The Blackwell Convergence
compared to its predecessor did not translate into higher profits:
The slicker production values did help Convergence sell much better than its predecessors, but it also took much longer to earn back the production costs. So in terms of pure profit, my earnings are exactly the same as the previous titles. I am satisfied enough with how the game is selling, but I do have to ask the question: would I have been better off keeping the lower production values (and cost) of the original games?
Honestly, I don't know. Perhaps some kind of cost/sales analysis would shed some light, but as an indie developer with very little experience with business or sales I wouldn't know where to begin. Either way, on a personal level I love how the game looks and sounds. It easily conveys the dark mood and atmosphere of the series perfectly, and is exactly how I envisioned the game when I first started out.
You can now read the full, candid indie postmortem
of The Blackwell Convergence