This is the second segment of a two-part series profiling the impending game 'To Azimuth' developed by Zachery Sanford, of studio [bracket]games. To read Part 1, click here.
In the first half of Tech Times' interview with To Azimuth game maker Zachery Sanford, the developer provides insight on inspiration and influences. To Azimuth, as he explains, is more than just a story of two siblings searching for a brother who may have been abducted by aliens. It's more about their lives and interaction.
Creating a game while running a crowdsourcing funding campaign at Kickstarter wasn't easy, admits Sanford, and he came within $6,000 of his $20,000 goal. Sanford says that is a large enough showing of support to keep To Azimuth chugging along and he is already mulling another campaign.
As Sanford explains, many events in To Azimuth are beyond a player's control, though each decision will have an impact on the two siblings, Nate and Susannah, who are searching for their brother Eli. For example, when selecting another sibling, the choices made with the first character will shape the reactions of the latter.
Tech Times: How much of an impact will decisions in To Azimuth have on the player's experience?
Sanford: Decision-making in the game largely serves to define Nate and Susannah as people. Some story events will change pretty drastically based on player decisions, but choices made in the game will largely serve as a way to color the experience as opposed to guiding the path of the larger narrative.
Furthermore, the plan is to incorporate a way to share the build of Nate and Susannah that you've created with other players so that they can experience the story with the characters as someone else has played them.
Tech Times: How has the Kickstarter and Greenlight experience gone? What did you find encouraging or discouraging about the process? (Steam Greenlight is a system that enlists the community's help in picking some of the new games to be released on Steam and helping developers with feedback during development stages.)
Sanford: Running a Kickstarter is hectic, consuming work, especially when the campaign is struggling, as To Azimuth's did throughout its run. But while it was one of the most anxiety-provoking, borderline-obsessive experiences I've ever had, I can't say that it was a negative one overall.
I'm probably more determined to make the game now than I was before, but there are a lot more hurdles to overcome since we didn't reach our funding goal. So progress has slowed down, and that's kind of infuriating, but it's still progress. I guess what I'm trying to say is that my experience kind of sucked, but in the end it was a really positive thing.
It's kind of a blur. My team's previous game, Three Fourths Home, spent months in Greenlight before going through, so it was surprising to see To Azimuth go through in a matter of weeks.
Tech Times: Why do you want to forego Early Access and when do you project the game to release? (Steam's Early Access gives players immediate access to games as they are being developed. The games evolve as they're played based on feedback and as developers update and add content.)
Sanford: As a very narrative-focused game with relatively few mechanics, releasing on Early Access would equate to little more than an incomplete story without much cause to return before a full release. I don't think that would be a good experience for anyone, and I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable selling something like that.
Tech Times: Is there anything else you'd like to say about the game?
Sanford: I'd just like to reiterate that we're still making the game. It will probably take longer than we first projected, but it's still in the works. We'll have more to share in the next couple of months.