In mid of a very tight production schedule, we still try to find sometime to sample games for inspiration and relaxation. This week of course it is Cyberpunk 2077. As a fan of The Witcher 3, I pre-ordered Cyberpunk 2077 months earlier, and enjoyed watching the constant launch-postponing drama recently. Everyone who designed game would easily understand how much work CDPROJEKT must have done (and need to do) for such a big, cross-platform game, and hence would not blame on the delay. In the meantime, huge waves of complaints from the gamers’ side create such a spectacle that people who don’t play game at all are aware of Cyberpunk 2077 now.
After a 30 mins play on December 10th, I quit the game. Not because it sucks though, I have to spend time on our own game design. I played to see how much is there to enjoy, the answer, of course is a lot a lot. Cyberpunk 2077 for me is a mature RPG game. It looks like the designers tried their best to assimilates all the important systems in the genre and perfected them: weapon/gear system, character creation system (appearance and attributes), combat system, dialogues and choice matters. On top of which, there is a highly stylish vast open world for games to explore. You constantly are reminded of the other earlier games you enjoyed before, Diablo, GTA, Deux Ex, and of course the Witcher 3.
Indeed, today, video game has its own universe, a massive repertoire. An avid player knows what he/she will get when reading the descriptions, the way a movie lover does with film synopsis; but, what about something out of expectations, something that you don’t know you can have. The way first Assassin’s Creed made vertical dimension playable, the way Ancestor made evolution an intelligible experience and the way Undertale experiments with telling a cruel story without killing. I believe that we are in the era of experience: everything is about the experience of it, physical or virtual. Humans yearn for experience, something that belongs to someone else, somewhere else and some other time. Video game offers the art and tech for designers to create such experience and for gamers to enjoy it.
This where we are interested in. We admire senior game devs that defined the media and the genre, and deeply enjoy their works. At the same time, we want to make contributions in our own way. As a small studio, we are not equipped to make large scale works that place gamers in a virtual sandbox, but we can, however, create something out of our own experience and imagination. For instance, currently we are making a game Forgetter, exploring the future generation’s experience of art. What is an art experience to start with, this is the first question we tried to figure out since Day One. Contemporary art is operating in its own circle, and maybe look out-of-touch or pretentious to people outside of the art system. Yet almost everyone has felt touched by something artistic in his/her life, it could be a painting in the museum, or just a glimpse at the copy of the painting on the web, a song, a movie, a performance… Artistic creations can connect people on a deeper and humane level, it makes you feel understood, comforted, enlightened. To be an artist means more than a skill, an education, a cv of past exhibitions and awards, it is also a rich and maybe turbulent life, a life that you want to remember, re-create or transform. We want to get close to all these core and intangible human feelings in this game.
Yes, we are not as motivated to create perfect games, but niche, novel ones, games that could only be made by us. In the universe of video games, we want to provide a unique space like a monastery where we can pause and ponder on our life and make something out of it, where gamers can come and rest and try to have some of our games for escape, for fun, or for medication even.
Thus we come up with the name of our studio “Sometimes Monastery”. We believe that in the vast universe of video game, of art, of every human creation, sometimes you need a monastery after a big battle, a furious race, or just another busy day. And we are the game monks that strive to indulge you with some strange experience that hopefully can talk to your heart.