The beginning of the end

Only a few short months are left before the launch of the Monument Valley.

In my experience, no matter how good your design and planning are, a game production gets more and more stressful with time. As time runs out you need to pull extra hours to meet your quality goals. You have to cut out levels or features you don't have time to finish, even if months and months of blood, sweat and tears have already gone into them. Difficult problems that were put to one side come back to haunt you. Perhaps during all the months of asset production and redesigns and iteration, you lost the soul of the game and as everyone is forced to make compromises, tensions run high, tempers can flare.

Then there comes a point when what the game is solidifies. Suddenly everyone on the team stops worrying and arguing. We buckle down to finish what we started.

We closed the year pretty strung out, working really hard to launch a closed beta test and release a teaser trailer. But now, back from a well-earned Christmas/New Year rest, the Monument Valley team feels stronger than ever. We're so much better at designing levels than we were at the start of the project. By testing the game early and frequently throughout production, we figured out a lot of usability and pacing issues. All last year we were very aggressive about cutting ideas that didn't work and iterating heavily on the rest, meaning we have already have a really lean, refined game experience. The feedback from our closed beta test has been very positive, and the press coverage has been encouraging.

 Spanish feet in the Monument Valley image cul-de-sac

Spanish feet in the Monument Valley image cul-de-sac

Last week we printed out every screen in the game and hung them on the wall. Being able to see the whole game at once is a real eye-opener, and has given us new perspective on what we're making. I think everyone feels more confident than ever that we have something really special on our hands.

We just need to finish it.

 The MV team. Photos courtesy of office mum  Nanci .

The MV team. Photos courtesy of office mum Nanci.