'To the Moon' and again once more: Making a sequel after indie success
Kan Gao’s life modified remarkably in 2011. That is the yr his studio, Freebird Video games, launched To the Moon, a young position-enjoying recreation about two docs who journey by means of a dying man’s reminiscences to grant him a remaining want. To the Moon launched quietly, however it had a powerful impression on the gaming business — it gained a nomination on the 2012 Unbiased Video games Pageant and picked up different awards, together with the headlining spot alone “Better of 2011″ lineup. Final yr, To the Moon even confirmed up on an inventory of Engadget readers’ favourite online game soundtracks.
To the Moon‘s success has allowed Gao to give attention to creating unique video games full-time. Nonetheless, it is taken 5 years to formally reveal his subsequent challenge, a To the Moon sequel referred to as Discovering Paradise that is as a consequence of hit PC, Mac and Linux in late 2016 or early 2017.
“To the Moon‘s launch definitely modified my life in a number of methods,” Gao tells me. “It’s definitely fantastic to have the ability to not fear about stability in the meanwhile whereas making the sport, however on the similar time — and I actually do not imply to sound ungrateful, because it has actually been so lucky — there’s a type of expectation and strain that comes with it that nearly balances issues out when it comes to my focus.”
Gao is conscious that it is taken some time for Discovering Paradise to seem. Since 2011, Freebird Video games has revealed an cute To the Moon cartoon and launched two associated mini-episodes. In 2014, the studio launched A Hen Story, a brief recreation in the identical universe. However, these have been easier tasks. Discovering Paradise is the subsequent, full episode in what Gao calls the Sigmund Corp collection (based mostly on the reminiscence-altering firm in To the Moon).
These episodes merely take time, Gao says. He is the only developer engaged on the Sigmund Corp collection full-time, although others chip in right here and there. Plus, he is extremely near the video games and his private life regrettably impacts his progress, he says.
“I am the one one that’s devoted to the tasks, and I’ve to type out every little thing from writing to coding to music and to some extent, [creating sprites],” Gao says. “It makes the work fascinating to modify issues up day by day, nevertheless it does get exhausting in time — and in relation to the workload of particulars, sky is the restrict.”
When it (lastly) launches, Discovering Paradise ought to function a wealthy, emotional story, identical to Gao’s earlier work. To the Moon, for example, is heartwarming and heartbreaking on the similar time, full of strong characters main complicated lives — and complex deaths. Gao calls Discovering Paradise a “tragicomedy” very similar to To the Moon.
“As with To the Moon, the story’s by no means meant to be ‘unhappy,'” he says. “If something, I hope it could possibly be one thing significant, and maybe relatable in a easy and elementary approach, regardless of its considerably of a fantastical veneer.”
Gao is even making an attempt to strategy Discovering Paradise the identical approach he did To the Moon, although now he has to maintain the highlight out of his eyes. “I attempt to not change and keep how I used to be earlier than To the Moon, only a hermit making video games and writing tales as a strategy to talk.”