Games Inspired By Real Life: Success And Failure Stories


Game designers are puppeteers creating a game show from behind-the-scenes, but what if they got to the stage front? Would they steal or ruin the show?

Perhaps that’s how two Spanish indie game devs from Underdog studios came up with an idea of creating ‘Dawn of the Devs’ - a game featuring the iconic game designers as main characters. The 2D puzzle platformer for PC would take players to the dark World of Gaming to join a trio of famous game designer parodies on a challenging mission of game industry rescue.

To be able to move past zombies, trollfaces and copyrates, each of the 3 self-proclaimed non-heroes would use his unique skills. You would easily identify Hideo Kojima’s prototype by a peculiar stealth cardboard box (it’s from Metal Gear, remember?). And who else but Cliff Bleszinski’s parody would run with an assault rifle mixed with chainsaw reminding us of Gears of War? Tim Schafer’s character naturally got an adventure-style ability of picking up items and depthless pockets for inventory storing.

The Underdog devs launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $ 65,000 for the project. They wanted to add more famous game designer characters (Gabe Newell, Peter Molyneux, Shigeiru Miyamoto) and release platforms (Xbox One, PS4) in case of overfunding. Sadly, though, the campaign failed and the idea had to be shelved.

Another indie project, Dyscourse, partly based on same idea of putting game makers into the middle of action had better luck. This survival adventure for PC by Owlchemy Labs was funded on Kickstarter and released in 2015. Unlike Dawn of the Devs, in Dyscourse the notorious indie game devs are only making a cameo appearance in one of the modes: player gets on a desert island after plane crash and needs to survive among indie folks.

One of the makers, Alex Schwartz, told the team was creating characters for Dyscourse based on themselves and just started making jokes about how well-known indie devs would handle the survival situation. The next moment they decided this had to be done in the game. The team reached out to several developers and got a firm Yes from Rami Ismail (Ridiculous Fishing), Ichiro Lambe (Aaaaa!) and Tim Schafer right away.

Game designers liked the idea of participating in someone else’s project in a very unusual way - as game characters - depicted in a true-to-life but overly humorous manner. So eventually a total of 10 indie personalities found their way to gameplay of Dyscourse, which collected quite positive reviews from critics after release (7 out of 10 on Destructoid, ‘Good’ on Softopedia, etc.).

And who is your all-time favorite game designer?
Tell us and stay tuned for next post!
Posted by Renatus on April 25, 2017