clarity that it’s about ecosystems not gardens/farms - balance and systems not aesthetics and harvesting
rich design thinking about later game systems
What feels promising but currently absent from build/pitch materials
Pushback from nature. The ideas that ecosystems ‘fight back’ and that plants are characters are enticing, but very muted currently. Plants feel interchangeable and inert. ‘Pushback’ is entirely embodied in moisture vs NO balance. Main other voice in the game is Geva.
Clarity on what the ecological message is. If your intention is to market this as a game for the climate-anxious, what is the games point of view about humans and the wild?
What feels conflicted/concerning
open-ended systems-driven gameplay vs finite narrative structure (also gameplay length concerns here. Not an accident that Firewatch is 3-4 hours not 15).
audience definitions are weak and conflicted - Animal Crossing/Stardew Valley players want exactly what you don’t want the game to provide (control, harvest, exploitation, aesthetics over systematics). Also query hierarchy here: most of the current build/intended design is around sim/factorio-y gameplay. Sim and sim-curious audiences should probably be main target.
It can’t be Firewatch and Factorio AND Animal Crossing. Pick two, not three (at most).
“You’re not fixing the world you’re fixing yourself” - this isn’t how the current build feels at all. It feels entirely like I’m fixing the world, and there’s nothing in current materials to showcase how I’m fixing myself. (Also is myself me or Syd in this statement?)
This is a big project and these concerns are going to keep needing revisited - the priority now is to intensify the teams ability to pitch and showcase the game to publishers. As such, I’d recommend a single ‘Creative Promise’ exercise to sharpen and prioritize vision elements, around clear outputs for pitch materials.
1) Prep work: everyone watches ‘Creative Promises” section (5 minutes or so) of