I'm starting a job on Monday.
Ornithopter isn't going away.
Those may seem like competing ideas, so if you've followed the studio—maybe you played Buff Mountain, or tried my jam games, or read my tech blogs—I felt like I owed you an explanation. And not just an explanation but a vision.
But first and foremost I owe you my immense, indescribable, heartfelt thanks. Buff Mountain has not brought me commercial success, but it has been an emotional success. From sharing the lumberjack with you at two comic
ons fests, to the millions of feet you've racked up on the slopes of Buff Mountain, I'm so grateful for all of you that carried our embeardened hero in your pocket for a while.
Now for the Q&A.
Where are you going? There's a company making some truly lovely games (and game-adjacent software) called E-Line Media. I first heard of them in connection with their award-winning Never Alone. Here I saw a game that drew the player into a new culture: generously sharing the history, the arts, and the lives of a native people. This, it seemed to me, was a games shop that was on the right track with what games could be, and how they could get there. I'm honored to be joining them and the friendly team they've assembled.
Why take a job? For starters: because opportunity knocked. They were looking to expand just as I was looking around and thinking "what now?" Second: because this is the right next step. I've learned a lot as an indie dev: about technical things and business things, both. But I believe I could learn a lot by working on a game team. Many talented indies came out of industry jobs, bringing a stock of useful knowledge with them. Building that knowledge base from scratch has been hard, even with an explosion of great resources aimed to help the indie along. At some point, it feels like trying to learn Spanish out of a text book rather than living in Spain.
What about Ornithopter? I fully intend to keep the lights on at Ornithopter in my off hours. But as a professional, my first priority is to my day job. The upshot is, I wouldn't expect a lot of new content. Mostly patches to keep things running. Hopefully I'll continue the tech writing. But you never know when the need to create a thing will take hold, so we'll just have to see.
What about the vision? I started Ornithopter hoping to make games that not only tell a story, but become part of your story. As long as I can best make that kind of game at E-Line—and as long as they don't mind putting up with me—I'll happily remain. Games are an invitation. I've created this world, dredged up from the murky depths of my mind, guided only by chills along the spine, and I want you to join me there. Because when you do, our thoughts can come so close to touching. To understanding. And whether that world is totally mine or just in part, the sentiment remains. This is why I make games; why I can't not.
And whether it's five years or fifty, I'll be back. We'll always have Ornithopter.