15 January 2016
Parting Ways To Make Us Better
So this is a strange thing to write, but as of very soon I shall no longer be one half of Force of Habit. I have decided to leave the company in the capable hands of Ashley and will be embarking on my own, curious, solo adventure.
Before I go any further I'll mention that I will be taking Friendship Club with me, with a view to continuing work on the game alongside Clockwork Cuckoo. Updates to the game were drying-up, but at the same time the 3rd party work we had to take on wasn't really bringing in enough money to devote larger chunks of time to it. We had begun seriously looking at finding investment to finish it, but the deeper we went down that path, the more I realised that money wasn't likely to fix some of the more profound issues we've been having. Neither of us were looking forward to coming into work and stress was becoming a serious burden on the both of us. The mental, physical unease of being an indie is something we're used to and sadly expect, however it was supposed to be fun. Why wasn't it fun anymore?..
Our first 'proper' desk...
My conclusion was that we are (don't cringe...) artists in our own right and rather than augmenting one anothers creative output, we were now inhibiting it. I suppose this is the crux of the 'creative differences' cliche, but I think it is more profound and subtle than that. Both Ash and I were feeling a debt to one another which was becoming unresolvable. I was aware that Friendship Club was stifiling his own ideas and that he felt the weight of a large, technically complex game that he didn't feel was his own. It was no longer a passion project, but an obstacle. An injection of money might have eased this, but there were still disputes as to the scale and scope of the final game. The problems would have persisted.
After going through approximately three-thousand different scenarios in my head, I realised that the only way we could remedy this for the both of us was if I moved on, leaving Ash with our existing catalogue of releases (afterall, there's no way I can support them) with me taking the Friendship Club IP to continue work with Tom and Sophie. We'll need to rebuild the game from scratch in a new engine, but this should solve some of the technical limits we were starting to butt-up against with the existing implementation. Likewise, Ash has done most of the important stuff and it has his unmistakeable game feel, which we must keep intact, and is something I will forever be pestering him to help me with.
Our first, 'non-proper' desk...
Walking home on Wednesday afternoon the sky was clear but for a few pinkish clouds, a deep winter blue. I craved a clear mind and thought of how the next day might feel if there were no responsibility to anyone but myself and my ideas. I imagined that Ashley would feel exactly the same; Masters of our own destiny again. I knew then it was the right thing to do and that the next morning I would need to break the news.
Packing-up the studio yesterday I asked Ash how he was going to feel come Monday. "A little bit unsure what to do next, but excited about it..."
Expect more from Force of Habit. Expect more from me.
Cheers, Nick (@NEDymond)
P.S. I'd like to drop a massive shout-out to all the people who've helped out during my time here. Those who helped us get this company started in the first place. Those who kept us mostly sane. Those who invited us to shows and those who put us up on sofas. Those fans all around the world who made the effort to share kind words. The patience of the people who encountered bugs and didn't get on our backs when they took a while to fix. Finally to the Bristol and Bath indies - I'm excited to spend more time with you in future…