Well - it certainly has been a busy couple of weeks here at Funomena! As you may know, we have finally begun to reveal the joyful, musical and silly world of Wattam, which we first announced last December at PSX with this strange little teaser. After a lot of hard work, we let the game loose at a special pre-E3 event where we played, laughed and goofed off all night long in a crazy geodesic dome. To say that this evening of playing and seeing others enjoy the game gave us a warm feeling would be a gross understatement. Keita and I were practically glowing by the time the night was through!
Among those to play the game were Game Trailer's Brandon Jones, Destructoid's Jordan Devore and Venture Beat's Dean Takahashi, who each had lovely things to say about Wattam, how joyful it was to play, and how important arty, different, unexpected Indie Games are within the overall ecosystem of games as a medium:
It feels good to read these previews, knowing how hard we have worked to make a game that defies description and categorization. Why do such a thing? Because only by defying the status quo can we explore new territory - which is the goal of all Funomenauts!
As news and footage of the game spread, we began seeing more talk about Wattam's unusually compelling, open-ended gameplay. This candid walkthrough and preview from Polygon's Michael McWhertor made us all smile. It's true - Wattam is about a bunch of things that seem playfully disconnected... until you realize that the fundamental mechanic of the game is connection itself. And that connection feels... kind of awesome:
Let there be no doubt: our laughter while playing Wattam is genuine. It was genuine at the event, and it is genuine each day when we play at the office. While scrubbing the build for bugs and testing new features, we constantly push the system in silly-yet-rewarding directions. We are genuinely amused, surprised and delighted by what the game gives back to us.
Wattam is an exploratory game, based primarily on the physical interactions between tiny simulated people and their gradually unfolding world. In that universe, Sushi and Poop can dance with Mushrooms and Flowers, as well as stack, grow, bounce, flip, and hold hands. Charming possibility is what the game is all about - which means that we're constantly discovering what Wattam can be as we build it. That discovery is a truly joyful experience. It's why we love making games.
The process of development is not without its frustrations. Building a strange, arty, creative game that encourages you to explore off the beaten path (while still providing you a clear path through its story and challenges) is no task for the timid! And I would be lying if I said that we weren't incredibly nervous to show Wattam to the press a few weeks ago. What if it's too different? What if people don't get it? What if ... there is no concrete way to say why it's fun?
For us, the game still feels imperfect... like our best work is yet to come. But watching people play and enjoy Wattam on that rooftop in Venice really truly, deeply inspiring. In a very concrete way, that one night of fun gave us the courage to let go and enjoy what was there already, right in front of us.
Wattam isn't finished yet - but it is ready. Now is the time when we see if the world really wants our smiling, magical, technicolor, exploding-with-stars-fish-and-pasta, making friends & playing with family kind of game.
So are we!! And we're thrilled that people are looking forward to it as much as we are. We'll be on the floor at the E3 2015 IndieCade booth, South Hall - #601. Keita and I will be there playing the game, hanging out with our team, handing out goodies & gathering hugs. If you're around - come say hello!