[Construct 2, 2015]
Epanalepsis was created as a spiritual successor to Catachresis. If that game was about making a horror game without the trappings of horror, then Epanalepsis was an experiment in determining if I could create an adventure game with a story that nonetheless evacuated all of the other, more fiddly parts of an adventure game (such as inventory management). It tells three intertwining stories in three different eras, and it is a "big" game in the sense that a huge number of assets needed to be created to bring those three eras to life.
Like most of my games, I created everything here short of the music, and that meant that I was under a huge amount of pressure to generate all of these things and finish the game. The object itself took on a lot of those qualities; if I can venture to "read" my own game, I would say that it is about futility and human action up against the great void of determinism. Ultimately, the player, much like the characters in the game, has very little control over this universe, and I thought that was an interesting-enough story to tell.
This was my third run at Kickstarter, and it was also my most successful. It raised $9,206 there. This is also the only game (so far) that I have released through a publisher. Mastertronic, the legendary UK-based game publishers, both backed the game financially and emotionally, and it ultimately did not pan out for either of us. The game didn't sell very well, and Mastertronic are no longer publishing games.
Press opinion was mixed. Rock Paper Shotgun's review of the game is notable because the reviewer tapped into the exact feelings of ambivalence, unhappiness, and melancholy that I had so carefully put into the game. Most reviewers, however, found those depressing, alienating qualities to be, well, depressing and alienating, and they were perceived to be flaws and issues in storytelling rather than purposeful decisions that were made in order to keep with a down-tempo, flat world design. So, bright side, it worked! Some people, like the critic and developer Michael Lutz, delved deep into the game, and to those people I am eternally grateful.
There's no debate that the most popular part of the game was its soundtrack, which was masterfully created from the ground up by John Fio. You can buy it here.
You can purchase Epanalepsis by clicking here.