...I've been behind in my art for a while because my family dog, Max, has been sick for a while, and got a lot worse in October, so I put a lot of energy into him and didn't have much left for my art. Unfortunately, he died October 23rd. He was such a big part of my life for 16 years so I'm having trouble readjusting to life without him, and am consequently still a bit behind where I would have liked to be.
On a more positive note, I was thinking of how I could honor him, and I decided to rework Suburbia. I've had a loose idea for the game since January, but I only had a world and a concept in mind, not so much plot and gameplay. But now a lot of ideas are emerging and things are really moving forward...
The game still has the original themes relating to mental health and is still inspired by my meditative walks with my other dog, Louie. But now the idea is that you'll navigate the suburbia in search of Max's ghost, with Louie by your side to help you deal with other ghosts that are now coming forward, some friendly, some not...
The main story mode will be where you can explore and unlock different areas of the map and go on quests made by friendly ghosts in exchange for their help with Max, or fight hostile ghosts to get to memories or get closer to Max. And I want it so that when you finish the game and the ghosts aren't bothering you anymore, you can just have a happy "dream mode" epilogue that's basically low poly Nintendogs with Max and Louie. I'm toying with an opposing "nightmare mode" additional epilogue where you can keep fighting ghosts, and now Max can help you too.
I'd love to take further inspiration from Legend of Zelda and Life is Strange for the gameplay, but we'll see how that goes. I have a pretty solid (but tentative) idea of the fighting and healing mechanics, and a loose idea of the UI. It'll just largely depend on what I can learn and properly execute. But the art style I like is similar to some small indie games I really love like Orchids to Dusk, Robin, Prisoned, and Far From Noise for the daytime aesthetic, and I'm Still Here for the nighttime aesthetic. I'm still trying to figure out how I want the time to progress though. Like a day/night Harvest Moon-esque cycle would be lit, but I might have to tie the passage of time to the story because what if time impacts unlocking new areas of the map?
I'm very passionate about this project, and I hope you might be as well! I'll post art updates on my twitter, insta, and tumblr of course, and general updates here!
Thank you so much for your interest! I'm so excited to share more with yall soon!