13 March 2017

Dev Diary 1: BACK IN THE DAYS…

This is Alberto Belli here and I’m thrilled to welcome you all on Alaloth official website.

First of all, to be honest, I know I’m late with this post, but since the announcement of the game a couple of weeks ago, we had a couple of crazy busy weeks here at studio and GDC happened once again meanwhile.

Anyway, this is the very first entry of a Dev Diary that we are going to update with fresh info about the development and things going on with the big boy here. This post will not be about game features, release dates and so on, This post will be rather be about how everything started, bringing us to build-up a company for this epic journey.

I’m in the business since 2001, I’ve started as journalist, when printed press was still making huge numbers and online outlets were just a wonderful idea. I’ve moved on publishing side a few years later and had the chance to work on many different games: big franchises (mostly with Eidos and Midway) and small (sometimes hidden) gems that helped me to understand that making games was not only about planning wisely or being creative: making games is exactly in the middle.

Making games is certainly one of the most challenging jobs in the world but it is something rewarding as nothing else, in many different ways. Making games is great and that’s why I’ve started with game development, leaving marketing, PR and my previous life behind (even if it’s not totally true of course, because as owner of the studio, I’ve to take care of all of this on daily basis).

When someone talks about game development in Italy, he’s basically talking about nothing. I had the luck of being in the management of the largest studio here for a while and I also co-founded one of the most important indie company currently at work on the scene. Cool stuff, nothing to say. But it seemed like something was still missing.

I had an idea in mind of how my studio should have been since ages, spending so much time observing so many professionals I had the chance to work with in the past, trying to learn from them. I put part of this in STC and the magic happened: we sent out a console game in 1 year from scratch, sold well, had more than 800 pages of clippings with all the major outlets talking about the game worldwide, f0llowing a behind closed doors presentation with Microsoft at their booth at E3 2014. This is something that is not happening to anyone in his entire life as developer and I did in less than a year, with massive coverage here and there, publishers with us, awards, people asking about our projects etc.

So…what than? I sold my shares. Yes, I did. I built-up the whole plan to keep the company alive and kicking for years and then left.
Do you know why? Because my vision was different from the vision of the other shareholders and because I’ve spent my professional life working for someone else on his own project, even when I had the chance to co-found my own studio.

Why I did that? Because as I said, game development is not about the things we love only. I did what was right to be done at time and I did it at the best. Making analysis, planning things, taking care of the long term. But game development is not only about this, right? I spent a lot of time making analysis, planning things and taking care of the long term once again, but this time it was about something I really personally care about. This time is about something I was thinking since (a couple of) my previous lifes.

That’s why Gamera Interactive is born and even if it is fully operative only since the last summer, I have already learnt something new and a lot of interesting things.
Therefore, Gamera Interactive is born around the pitch of the game we’ve just announced. Gamera Interactive is born around Alaloth, following an idea that I started working on when I had the chance to meet fellow developers around the world 16+ years ago.
Easy to say, but the process took some time and presented some unique challenges. I thought to have found an investor just after the sale of my shares from my previous company, for example.

Great: I’ve just quit, one single pitch, money in, new studio, new life. You know what? The investor left the day we had to sign things with all his money (it’s a long and sad story) but we already have a few guys at work, contracts in place and bills to pay. I had to use my savings to go on with works and we arrived at the point when there was no more money, we just had a good idea and a nice prototype to show.

So, what? Consider that I’ve spent last years teaching game development tips to students in different universities here. I usually explain why sustainable business should come first than any other thing when you start a company. I usually teach that surviving to its first game, should be the mission for every indie developer thinking to start its own company. And I usually suggest to minimize risks and don’t try anything without a good plan ready. Funny, because I did the opposite with Gamera and Alaloth.

New plans, new pitch, new start, my house sold, new people in the project: all-in. We’ve been hard at work on bringing the game to the actual shape and we’re all very happy with the way the game works at this early stage. We’ll probably have the chance to talk about game features starting from the next episode of the Dev Diary, hopefully while building a smart community to interact with.

We’re now working on the website, that is going to change a lot in the next weeks. We’re working on a Wiki to be integrated in the website itself along with the first info about races, world background, characters backstories and so on. We’re also preparing videos to share, showing the game running and that’s why we are on the hunt for a Community Manager right now, along with other people to bring in in different departments (art, code, design).

We’re working on the game itself of course, after a successful GDC where we met a few publishers and selected press. We’ve tons of concepts, documents, artworks and ideas to show to you all and we’re simply trying to organize everything at the best while looking for a brand new office too (team will hopefully double in size in a very short time).

Finally, let’s say that we’re actually busy with everything concerning the social stuff and the very first upgrade of the production pipeline. So, you’re even more than welcome to join us in this adventure, our main quest. You can reach us on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram or simply go to our forum page and join the party!

Thank you so much in advance. Lot of love!

Game Director

Missives from the Four Kingdoms