Since 2009, an interactive, role-playing video game named Fallen London has been a favorite source of entertainment for people around the world. This narrative game is browser-based, and it has led to the development of two related games.
The creator and writer of Fallen London is a British man named Alexis Kennedy. A former English teacher, Mr. Kennedy shares his thoughts about creating video games and more in a 2019 interview on the Business Matters magazine website.
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When asked how he brings ideas to life, Kennedy says that the process begins with a visual image that brings out a feeling. He describes those feelings as keynotes that set the tone for the work to come. Having multiple keynotes or inspirations, he says, makes it easier to create distinctive works.
In describing an average day in his life, Mr. Kennedy says that although his primary activity is writing, most of it is non-linear text that is written in small bits. Throughout the day, he will often alternate between the writing of text and code.
As for sketching out ideas, Kennedy can turn to the whiteboard that covers an entire wall in his living room. For him, it helps to be able to sit in a chair for focused work, and also stand in front of the whiteboard when it’s time to think in larger terms.
Alexis Kennedy developed the Fallen London game while at Failbetter Games, which was the first company that he founded. This dark adventure game is set in London in the late 19th century, and has proven to be very popular. Accessed by millions of users, this browser game has been running online continuously since its debut in 2009.
The other games in the Fallen London universe are named Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies. Designed as a PC game, Sunless Sea is an adventurous, role-playing game that largely takes place in an underground ocean known as the Unterzee. Sunless Skies serves as a sequel to the Sunless Sea game.
For beginners in the field of video game design, Mr. Kennedy advises them to remain patient. They should not expect to turn a profit until they have released several games, allowing them to build-up a body of work that consumers are familiar with.
Another piece of advice that Kennedy gives to other independent video game developers is to not get stuck on a particular work-related problem. The way he sees it, it’s best to walk away from a problem for five minutes and then come back to it. By doing so, a person can gain insights into the situation that can help to solve the problem.
In 2017, Kennedy and Lottie Bevan co-founded a game studio named Weather Factory. Specializing in narrative games, this company’s first game was the occult-themed Cultist Simulator. This apocalyptic, critically acclaimed game utilizes both cards and action buttons, and has been a commercial success.
Alexis Kennedy also advises other independent game developers to listen to other people and expect to make mistakes. Hopefully, one will be able to learn from those mistakes.