Cutting the scope

Or what did Anoldor look like in the first months of creation.

Not long ago, I found one of the first documents synthesizing the objectives of the game and its ambitions. The project was then really different from what it is today, and this despite a heart remained unchanged. Cutting the scope is often seen as a painful step for creators but it’s still essential for most projects. For the curious ones and for the possible creators who find it difficult to turn the corner, I’m offering you today to plunge back with us in the work of destruction we undertook to make the game more doable! (And I take this opportunity to advise you of the excellent article by MikomiKisomi on the subject.)

The content originally expected 

Here are some elements that the game should have contained at its beginning but which have changed drastically since:

    • A single story with variations depending on the choices.

    • Being able to embody a man or a woman, each with their own romances. Edwyn (woman), Aliénor (woman), Elric (both), Fen (woman), Lioren (both), Eminence (woman), Myrianne (man), Astrid (man), Lycia (man) Célise (both).

    • The game had to be playable online, in a kind of movement point freemium system.

    • There had to be a “talent” system (in a stats raise mode, so a little more management aspect).

    • There had to be a grievance system where you had to solve kingdom problems by “sending” the advisers to solve them.

Why we removed these features

Of course, among all that makes up the game, it is not for nothing that these are the elements that we have chosen to remove.

    • A story cut on the road rather than a common story: this point is a bit apart because it actually requires more writing work, but we made this choice for two reasons. 1) Because this way, we can more easily put unique and specific romance scenes for each character without having to fit them into a mold. 2) Because thus we encourage more replayability, in the sense that otherwise the player would spend their time spending the dialogues already read and therefore could not enjoy as much a second route.

    • A female-only heroine: we judged that it was too much work to also allow a male character because besides the agreement of all the adjectives in French, many characters do not interact the same with a man or a woman, that would therefore have made almost two completely different games even for common romances.

    • One romance less (Célise): when we decided to write road by road, we realized that Célise’s road was too close to another character to really bring a new and unique story, so we kept her as a secondary character.

    • A free renpy game rather than a freemium site: during this creation phase, the only reference we had was some online game. In the absence of another model we had therefore taken this one. But making our own site was too much work and especially the game came from a desire to stop being scammed, so at first we wanted to be generous in the number of points distributed, then offering it for free ended up being established.

    • Talent system: finally we found that it brought little to the game, it would have been necessary to develop it much more for it to be really interesting.

    • The grievance system: this aspect has changed insofar as it is no longer something apart, but for all that it has not completely disappeared because we have kept the best grievances to integrate them into the history of the game directly. And if the advisers advise on ways of acting, we can also do as one pleases, it’s not really them that we send on a mission.

If we had to summarize the choices we made, I would say that we simply identified what made the essence of our project and which can be summarized in four points:

     • Mature content (sex scene, sensitive subject, etc.)

     • A really strong heroine but one whose personality you can shape.

     • Great importance given to romance.

     • A “political intrigue” section with many choices that are of real importance.

Once these four elements were identified, we simply realized that what they had in common was the story. We just wanted to offer a rich, vibrant story that contains these four essential elements and that is why, for instance, certain functionalities a little secondary (like the title system of Chosen One) have been kept because they have a meaning regarding of what makes the heart of our project.

And voilà ! I hope you enjoyed this little feedback in all honesty and transparency! We are really curious to hear your own feedback on the subject so don’t hesitate to share the sacrifices you chose to make in the comments!