Its been a busy year for Introversion. We had the Developer CD release back in July, with Mark returning to old school Introversion and personally burning cds and printing labels. We had the Mac release in May with Ambrosia, which seemed to take forever - definately the longest project we've ever been involved with. And lets not forget we had the Uplink:Hacker Elite publication and release in America, way back in March. We showed up in 9th place in the PC Gamer Readers top 100 in January (we just can't stop thanking people for that). During December 2002 we ran a series of full size adverts for Uplink in four major underground stations in London. We had the poster competition in November. And finally, PC Gamer rated Uplink as the 89th greatest PC game ever made in October 2002.
And that's just the highlights - I haven't even mentioned the Uplink IRC channel (which is getting pretty popular these days), or the new fansites that have sprung up, or Glastonbury, or the numerous Mods and patches that have been released by fans in the past year.
Wow, i'm suprising myself now. What else...
- Tom got engaged to his long time girlfriend Moni just recently (congratulations
- Chris got a massive flash of inspiration, coded solidly for around 18 hours a day, and produced a complete game in 7 days, single player and multiplayer, by stealing copious amounts of code from <the next game> and <the next next game>. This will probably show up as a B-side on <the next game>.
- In May this year Introversion hired an old friend called Andy Bainbridge to work on <the next game> with Chris. Andy is sufficiently different to Chris to ensure that <the next game> will not be anything like what you are expecting. We believe this is a good thing.
With both Chris and Andy working full time on <the next game>, progress has been good. The way in which we've gone about designing this game has been highly experimental. Uplink was designed on paper and then implemented, and the paper design was usually a couple of months ahead of the implementation. And with a few exceptions, the final game looked and played roughly like Chris imagined at the start. With <the next game> there is no real paper design, just a series of goals and intentions and ideas in our heads, and its not uncommon for us to radically change major parts of the game or just throw stuff out that doesn't work. At a guess i'd say we're on at least the third major iteration - which basically means we've been working on three games sequentially, with each game being scrapped and ultimately leading on to the next. Its very evolutionary, and we're not sure what the final product will look like. Certainly it won't look like anything else around.
In any case, we're certain thats its going to be fantastic. Introversion must be one of a tiny handful of developers around the world that has the creative freedom to be so wildly experimental - we don't have a manager or a producer, but if we did i'm sure he'd be shitting his pants right now at the way in which we're going about designing and making this game. Similarly we don't have a publisher or even a distributor. This is our game, and we haven't shown it to anyone.
If I was to guess now i'd say that we're on the final iteration - I think that this time we've got it nailed. Its actually starting to come together. Our current estimates have about six months of work remaining - which means we'll be done by March 2004. After that we'll have probably a couple of months of testing, fixing, and distribution organisation, however we chose to do it. That puts us down for a release in May 2004. And that may seem like a long way off, but really it will come around quickly. Thanks for your patience.