I think I speak for the entire team here at Final Form Games when I say: ZOMGPAX10BBQ!!!11!
I could spend some time writing about the emotional rollercoaster of getting to this moment. Fact is, I want to. I think it’s a pretty good story.
However, as the stalwart long-time True Fan readers of this blog know, we do tend to get a bit extemporaneous and long-winded when we’re reminiscing. Never fear! Today’s post is going to break that tradition and cut right down to the chase! IN EMPHASIZED CAPS!
JAMESTOWN IS GOING TO BE AT PAX PRIME THIS YEAR, AS ONE OF THE PAX 10.
YES, THAT PAX 10.
WE KNOW. SOMETIMES, THE WORLD IS SO CRAZY THAT IT JUST MIGHT AWESOME.
FINAL FORM GAMES WILL BE ROLLING TO SEATTLE, AND WE WILL BE ROLLING DEEP! IN ADDITION TO THE CORE TEAM OF THREE PHILADELPHIANS, WE WILL BE JOINED BY “THE FOURTH MAN,” OUR INESTIMABLY TALENTED AND CHILEAN COMPOSER FRANCISCO CERDA.
IF YOU SEEK OUT OUR BOOTH FOR THE TWIN PURPOSES OF PLAYING JAMESTOWN AND/OR WORSHIPING AT FRANCISCO’S FEET, YOU WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY BE SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR QUEST.
AT TIMES, YOU MAY HAVE TO WORSHIP FRANCISCO IN THE PAX JAMSPACE, WHERE HE WILL BE PERFORMING SELECTIONS FROM JAMESTOWN’S SCORE LIVE IN CONCERT.
FINALLY: EVERY ONE OF THE PAX 10 GAMES THAT WE’VE ACTUALLY PLAYED IS COURAGEOUS AND FUN. WE SEE NO REASON TO BELIEVE THE OTHERS WILL BE ANY DIFFERENT. WE WILL BE HONORED TO STAND SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH THEM, IN THE AUGUST HALLS OF GAMEHALLA.
So: come say hi! Bring your friends! We can’t wait! For some of you, this will be your first chance to experience the blistering funsplosion that is 4-player co-op! For others, this will be your first time playing the game at all! To be present for either of those moments would be a true honor for us, so don’t hold back! Exclamation point!
We’ll post updates as our PAX plans solidify. For now, the weather forecast for Seattle says to prepare for rain…
…A RAIN OF COUNTLESS PINK AND BLUE PIXEL BULLETS LOLKPLZBYE!!!1!
On this very date in 1607, after a month of extremely hard labor, 104 exhausted settlers finished constructing the first fort at Jamestown (the colony):Jamestown (the game) took almost two years to build with a core staff of just 3 people, so… this analogy could use some work. STILL! We felt that this would be an appropriate day to take a quick break from our post-release duties and shout the following message from the rooftops:
JAMESTOWN: LEGEND OF THE LOST COLONY HAS BEEN RELEASED INTO THE WILD!!!
Not only is the game out, but people have been playing it and writing what they think about it! On the internet! Here’s a sampling from the first batch of reviews (emphasis ours):
“As for the game proper, it’s just a class act. The range of enemies, the design of them, the placing of them, the way they burst in a shower of nuts and bolts that you’ll want to collect, the way the guns feel, the music, the pacing, it’s all fabulous.” – Rock, Paper, Shotgun
“The environments, the enemies, the troops fighting in the background – every single graphical element of this game is absolutely stunning, to such degree that even those who don’t care for pixel art are sure to be pleased with how Jamestown looks. Every inch of the screen suggests lovingly handcrafted and passionate art, and soaring through it all was a joy.” – Bits ‘n Bytes Gaming
“…one thing’s for sure: if you had told me that Jamestown was Final Form’s first title, I wouldn’t have believed it. … Accompanying the stellar design are a stellar soundtrack and sound effects. The music in Jamestown is indistinguishable from a big-budget epic soundtrack, and the game’s sounds are an excellent mixture of retro and modern shoot ‘em up titles.” – GamerLimit
“In a world of me-too shooters plagued by uninspired presentation and flat gameplay, Jamestown is a standout, a breathtaking experience that not only hearkens back to the golden age of gaming but also smartly offers fresh game mechanics at every turn. Jamestown has rock-solid mechanics, beautiful art direction and depth of content, and it’s a pure joy to play.” – Press X or Die
And for those of you who think reading is so 2010, here are some of our favorite video reviews/first-looks:
ByteJacker – “I gotta tell you: this thing, with four Xbox controllers, and an HDMI out to your TV, has got to be, like, THE definition of kick-ass gaming. It’s just really, really amazing.“
NorthernLion – “One of the best indie games I’ve played this year and, as you know, I’ve played pretty much all of them.”
Total Biscuit, The Cynical Brit – “One of these is homing! ALL OF THESE ARE HOMING!“
Our profuse thanks go out to all the writers, commentators, and pundits who spent some time with our game, and then made the effort to tell the world about it!
Overall, the response to the game has been overwhelmingly positive. Players have been going out of their way to let us know that they’re having a blast playing Jamestown, which is like a firehose of warm-fuzzy-feelings right into our sleep-deprived hearts. So, to everyone who has been tweeting, posting, and emailing us with kind words: Thank you, thank you, a thousand times, thank you!
We’re also thrilled and gratified by the community that’s forming around the game. Watching our players help each other learn to play, post expert sessions on YouTube, stream Divine Gauntlet runs live from Japan, and energetically debate the finer points of Bomber usage in our Steam forums has been a true joy.
Finally, it should go without saying that we are extremely flattered (and somewhat taken aback) to see our little game being compared to the works of CAVE, Takumi, Treasure, and ZUN. That said, their influence on Jamestown is hopefully unmistakable; they are our heroes, after all.
Much like that very first fort at the actual Jamestown colony, the first build of our game was hardly the last. Right now, we’re working hard to fix bugs, answer emails, and keep getting the word out about Jamestown. If you want to help us with that last bit, and you love the game, then please don’t be shy about telling the world! Our twitter hash-tag is #jtown16xx; go nuts!
More updates to follow. Until then: thanks again, and enjoy playing!
This Monday, the Independent Games Festival annouced their Finalists and, to our great surprise we noticed our little Jamestown listed under Honorable Mention for Excellence in Audio!
As those who follow @finalformgames on Twitter will already know, we submitted Jamestown to the Independent Games Festival this Fall. Like most IGF entrants, we held secret hopes of recognition deep in our hearts, but saw it more realistically as a good opportunity for some exposure and a deadline to push hard for.
Needless to say, we are delighted about this unexpected honor! Many thanks to the IGF and judges for their kind acknowledgement.
Given the circumstances, we think it fitting to introduce you to the gentlemen who so carefully crafted our audio experience, and to share with you a little about how we approached the audio for our game.
First of all, we’re pleased to introduce our composer, Francisco Cerda, who works with us remotely from Santiago, Chile.
Here is one of his 4 compositions that went out with the IGF build, entitled “War Upon the East Frontier”.
As an added bonus, we’re pleased to share a brand new track, entitled “Into the Dark Sector”.
I had the pleasure of meeting Francisco while he was visiting Berkeley in 2008. A friend of my former housemate, Francisco stayed with us for a few days, on a few occasions sitting down at the piano for an hour or two of improvisational play. What I heard was expertly performed, dynamic, and emotionally powerful.
We exchanged contact info before he returned home, and have stayed in touch since. When the time came to select a composer, we worked with a few (truly amazing) candidates, but ultimately could not refuse Francisco’s passion, versatility, speed, and sheer compositional might.
We decided to eschew the traditional shooter chiptune soundtrack, inspired instead by games such as Ikaruga, Gigawing 2 and Under Defeat. Our milieu and story suggest a more conventional orchestral instrumentation, so we tried to marry that style to the intensity of a wailing Joe Satriani guitar solo. What we ended up with is something that we feel is greater than the sum of its parts.
For sound effects, we turned to our old friend Justin Mullens, with whom I worked on several past titles. While we can’t as easily represent his work here as Francisco’s, suffice it to say that his steampunk-inspired wood/brass/cloth approach to the UI sounds offers something new to the shoot-em-up landscape. He scratch-built all the sounds in the game, employing every trick in the book to find some coherence in the crowded sound space of a 4-player shoot-em-up.
We are all honored to have our hard work acknowledged, and to be able to bring this honor to the oft-overlooked shmup genre in general. We are working hard to continue to improve the audio experience for our game, so that by the time it ships to you it will provide an even richer experience than what the judges saw in October. After all, the most important external validation can only come in time, when the game ships to the world at large.
It took 365 days of hard livin’, but we’re finally here: Final Form Games is one year old today! You are our loyal, never-say-die readers with whom we will always shoot straight, and we hope you are excited to celebrate with us! Over the past few days, we’re brought you up to speed about where we’ve been and where we’re at, but said very little about…
WHERE WE’RE GOING
Seriously: What In Tarnation Are You Guys Working On?
What a good question! We are working on a rad videogame! It represents a lot of what we love about games, its working title is Jamestown, and we think it’s going to be a blast.
First things first: The screenshot we posted back in October wasn’t an image of functional gameplay. We know, you’re shocked. HOWEVER! That image does represent the overall aesthetic and milieu that we are striving to deliver to YOU, the customer! To vouch for the truth of our words, here are some totally real, in-game (and very Work-In-Progress!) screenshots of what the game looks like on this very day:
And HERE are some scintillating details:
- Jamestown is an old-school, handcrafted shoot-em-up (or “shmup“) with a new-school twist: 4-player co-operative play!
- As many have guessed (amazingly), it is set in 17th-century British colonial Mars. It will feature: Famous alt-historical figures! Majestic alien landscapes! Steampunk space tech! Hard-bitten settlers taking their shot at ekeing out a better life in the New World! Redcoats and Martians settling their differences with spear and space-musket!
- With the gameplay, we’re striving to press all the important hardcore gamer pleasure-buttons, while still leaving room to innovate on what co-op can really mean in the context of a classic shooter. We just love co-op games so much!
- We hope to tell a story within this world that is legitimately engaging and worth reading/watching/playing. A story that one might use the word “swashbuckling” to describe! Or, “coherent!” Or even, “explodathon!”
- In terms of timeline, we plan to submit to IGF this year, and hope to release on PC sometime in 2011, with other platforms to follow. The comments section awaits your snarky comments about release dates!
This is our first project, and we undoubtedly have plenty of rough waters to contend with between now and ship day, but we are optimistic about the journey ahead. As you may have read in our previous two posts, Year One was largely about investing a huge percentage of our energy into developing the game mechanics, technology, tools, and skillsets that we think are necessary to make our game great. Year Two is going to be about using them.
Thanks for being here with us on our first birthday. More to come.