Game developers love to create. It's why we do this job in the first place - to find that seed of an idea, that spark, that tiny bit of magic that captures first ourselves, then our friends, then perhaps a whole community.
About a year ago, the Lionhead Incubation department was formed out of the desire to do just that - to find new ideas and inspiration that can then be turned into groundbreaking games, large or small. This, however, is not a measure of success: The ideas that don’t get developed further are just as important as those that do.
But what's the point of creating something but then having it sit on a hard drive somewhere, never to be seen again? We want the community to share in our failures-that-are-not-failures, and so over time we're going to be sharing some of those ideas with you, hopefully evolving into a regular cycle of interesting things for you to see or play.
Now, you may be aware that Lionhead plays host to an annual "Creative Day" - a game jam where the whole company downs tools and does whatever they want for two days. The only catch is everyone has to present their results to everyone else on the third day. We get games, hardware, films, presentations - all very inventive, all incredibly inspiring.
At 2013's Creative Day a team of 4 - Jonny Hopper, Iain Brown, Adam Sibbick and Mike Green - put together a small demo called InkQuest. It was part magical map, part audio book, part adventure game, and it was captivating enough that it was "incubated" - the concept was expanded further and built into a more robust, playable prototype. We explored worlds made entirely from words and investigated different ways of telling stories within them. We explored various art styles and developed some amazing technology for a kind of artist's "performance capture" - capturing and replaying our artist's creative process. We'll blog very soon with more details about all of these.
Sadly, it was eventually decided that the game wouldn't be taken into full production. The prototype we made begins to tell the story of Sophie, a young girl who is transported into a magical book. Finding herself trapped there, she must unravel the mysteries of the book in order to escape. We've put together a short trailer to give you a flavour – check it out:
We'd love to share more of our prototypes and behind-the scenes-work – if you'd be interested then why not let us know via Twitter on @lhincubation or mail us on email@example.com. It would be great to hear from you!
Creators show up. And that's our mantra at Lionhead Incubation: Show up and wrestle with the ideas until we find that tiny bit of magic, and see where it leads us.