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DaCostaBR: Gemini Rue, Papers Please, No Time to Explain, Dust an Elysian Tail and pretty much every other game made by a single person.
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stika: Gemini rue was made by a single person?
Leroux already explained, but yes, with WadjetEye publishing and having voice acting you'll certainly see more than one person in the credits, but when a game is written, designed and programmed by a single person, which it was, I tend to just go ahead and say it's made by a single person; plus with the guy doing the art as well I feel even more justified in saying that.
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stika: Gemini rue was made by a single person?
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DaCostaBR: Leroux already explained, but yes, with WadjetEye publishing and having voice acting you'll certainly see more than one person in the credits, but when a game is written, designed and programmed by a single person, which it was, I tend to just go ahead and say it's made by a single person; plus with the guy doing the art as well I feel even more justified in saying that.
Ah, I didn't know that, thanks for the info :)
The Witcher
The smaller the team the easier it is to imagine it as a labour of love, that's why I find the question more interesting when it comes to big budget games. Also not all labors of love have to be very sucessful, interesting or good. I'm not much fond of the Leisure Larry games, but they indeed are very personnal (in fact, all old sierra on line adventures give me this impression). I'm ready to believe that about the Postal games aswell. Also wouldn't Daikatana qualify, as well as all those Peter-Molyneux-Reshapes-The-Industry games ?

Maybe the question could be : what are the telltale signs ? Like :

- Originality. Opposes itself to derivative leeching of a genre. But again, a hommage to a classic genre or universe can be a labour of love too. I mean, Giants Citizen Kabuto is probably a child of love, but maybe some total ad&d game is too.

- Details and other forms of bonus content (in-game or in the manual, etc). Work is not the strict minimum. Of course, one company could mechanically go "stuff it with details", and have the means and budget to easily add three theme songs. But yeah, NOLF, Deus Ex, Fallout, etc, feel quite sincere on that respect.

- I'm not sure about quality itself : it's hard to tell "sloppy" and "quick-cash-ey" from "great beloved idea that fails completely" and "enthousiastically amateurish". Sometimes clumsiness and "unprofessionalism" also give me the labour of love vibe.

- The origin ? This may be a tad unfair, as there are sincere people in big companies, and purely commercial adventurers in random countries, but I easily suspect a labour of love when a game comes from a country that isn't well known for its gaming industry. Games like Inquisitor, Hard to be a God, etc, evoke me the idea of labours of love quite spontaneously, maybe just because of that.

- Ambition. Okay there can be purely commercial ambition ("let's make the most cash-earning milestone game"), but still, you need some passion to get into some amount of details, in particular -but not exclusively- when going further there makes your game more and more "niche". This also shows in the documentation, or sometimes in-game museums. Shadow of the Comet may or may not be an exemple here, but I'm thinking mostly of some flight simulators (remember microprose?) and grand strategy titles (Total War, Europa Universalis, etc).

- Humour, in my opinion, can't be faked. You are funny only if you find what you do actually funny. Funny games probably made their authors laugh a lot. I really can imagine the Sam&Max authors enjoying themselves, as well as the Giants, and NOLF ones. Successful humour, in my eyes, always has to be a labour of love, sincere and spontaneous to a degree. When you just try too hard, or apply recipes, it kinda shows. Maybe this goes for emotions in general ? But I kinda feel that drama can more easily be unsincere... And maybe this paragraph is about all that makes me ill at ease in those pixar movies...
Post edited June 06, 2013 by Telika
Got some nice trivia for you guys from one of our games in the catalogue:

Warning: Caps Lock was used in this so forgive me but I can't go through and decapitalize everything :D

JONTY HERE : ...I AM WRITING THIS AT 4AM ON KEEPERS LAST DAY. I LOOK AROUND THE OFFICE AND ALL I SEE ARE THE TIRED PALE FACES OF THE KEEPER TEAM. THIS PROJECT HAS DESTROYED THE HEALTH AND SOCIAL LIVES OF EACH MEMBER, SO I HOPE YOU LIKE THE GAME. AMAZINGLY AFTER SIXTEEN HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK, FOR NEARLY 5 MONTHS WE STILL DO. THIS GAME HAS BEEN WRITTEN WITH A PASSION I AM PROUD TO BE PART OF.... I DO NOT JUST HOPE YOU LIKE IT, I ALSO HOPE YOU ARE AWARE OF THE HUGE AMOUNT OF WORK WE HAVE ALL DONE. ENOUGH WAFFLE AND ON TO THE REASON FOR THIS TEXT... THE ENDLESS GREETINGS... GREETINGS GO OUT TO IN RANDOM ORDER... RAB C, JACOON, BUCK, SI, BARRIE, KIK, CHRIS, PROC, RUSS, RIK, ALEX NEEDS, LARRY MOOR, EMMA TEUTON - AN ALE DUE TO EACH ONE OF YOU - THE LIST GOES ON.... LOUISE GEE, MY GOOD SIS NICOLA, GEMMA, JENNY, HALEY, JO EVANS... SARAH TELFORD.. PETER AND STEVEN, AMELIA, SARAH, ISY, SALLY, MARK, MATT WOODCOCK, PAUL NETTLETON, PETE BANFORD, TOM, DAVE BANHAM, DAVE KEENS, ALISON BOSSON, MIKE LINCOLN, KIRSTY, DARREN SAWYER... AND ALL UEA NORWICH PAST AND PRESENT. NICK ARNOTT, BAVERSTOCK, SARAH BANKS, SEANY, MARK STACEY, GILEY MILEY COOKSON [WHERE ARE YOU?], STEVE CLARIDGE, DEUBERT, JAMES GREENGRASS, SIMON ONG, KEVIN RUSSELL, CLARE WRIGHTON, ELTON [GIB IS JUST A DAY AWAY], NICOLA GOULD, STEVE LAST, KEN MALCOLN, RICO, ANDY CAKEBREAD, ROBBO, CARR, AND THE LITTLE ONE, CROFTY, SCOOPER, JASON STANTON [A CUP OF COFFEE], AARON SENNA, MIKE DORELL, IAN HOWIE, HELEN THAIN, ALEX FOREST-HAY, LEE HAZELWOOD, VICKY ARNOLD, GUY SIMMONS, SHIN, VAL TAYLOR.... IF I FORGOT YOU I AM SORRY... BUT SLEEP IS DUE TO ME... AND I HAVE A DREAM TO LIVE.
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JudasIscariot:
Now this makes me want to buy it :) What's the game? :)
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JudasIscariot:
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Novotnus: Now this makes me want to buy it :) What's the game? :)
The original Dungeon Keeper :D
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JudasIscariot:
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Novotnus: Now this makes me want to buy it :) What's the game? :)
It says "Keeper team" so my guess would be, hm...
Zork? :P
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JudasIscariot: The original Dungeon Keeper :D
Blah, already have :)