Developing a game isn’t easy, especially if your last game was a critically acclaimed success. Such was the challenge faced by Subset Games in creating Into The Breach, a challenge that they were close to giving up on altogether.
In an interview with Kotaku, Matthew Davis and Jason Ma, two of the developers who worked on Into The Breach, shared their struggles with creating a worthy follow-up to their hit spaceship rogue-like FTL. They had a lot of difficulty settling on an idea that worked, going through many cycles of coming up with an idea and then scrapping it soon after.
Justin : It was literally years of just banging our head against the wall, trying to get something to work and be fun. I hope our next project won’t be that, because it’s a little hard after maybe three or four times throwing out six months of work to still feel like, “There’s something good here.” I’m the more optimistic one of the pair of us, and—
Matthew: You nearly always think, “There’s something here.” And I’m like, “No, it’s terrible.” And we’re back to scratching it all out.
Justin: I think if we’d had to do that one more time, I would’ve been close to giving up.
Matthew: We were very close to giving up on the game.
In the end, while they eventually managed to settle on an idea for the game’s grid-based combat, they then ran in to trouble building it into a more robust experience. They had planned for a lot of other additional features such as city-building, random missions and resource allocation, but ultimately decided that none of worked well enough to put in the final product.
Justin: If we’re hyper-simplifying, we figured out combat that seemed like there was something interesting. And then we spent forever trying to make a meta-game around that. Is it XCOM? Is it other types of tactic games?
….The closest thing to our eureka moment was just literally, “This part of the game works. This part of the game doesn’t work. Cut all that, and just focus on the part that does work.”
…So maybe 60 percent of the game, we just dropped it all and say, “Okay, it’s just a bunch of missions in a row. Screw it.” We know that the actual combat, which is the entirety of the game as it has released, that was 30 percent of what we were hoping
What do you think? Do you think Into The Breach is fine as it is? How might it have changed if they had managed to get some of those cut features to work? Let us know in the comments below.