A little more than four months ago, a member of our team brought in dire news – Apple has purchased, and privatised Metaio, our AR framework of choice. The loss of the software coupled from the lack of cooperation of the local cultural liaison meant that drastic actions were needed to ensure the survival of the project. Maui, the 3D action-adventure shown during EAE Day was the result of a true rapid prototype process that took place during the month of August – and the process was a brutal one.
Due to the central focus on the cultural context, the first significant change was the switch from Pre-Columbian America to Ancient Hawaii, for we had little luck in acquiring permission to use cultural artefacts (oral traditions, icons, items, personal outfits, and so on) from the former, luckily, one of our team is Native Hawaiian, and as a result can provide us with resources from his homeland with little fear of the brand of cultural appropriation.
The second was the change in perspective, no longer are we locked in the flat plane of a side scroller (in truth, Ochre always has three-dimensional assets, but it was made to appear flat with the cleaver usage of forced perspectives and custom shaders), this also opens up the option to use console controllers. A lush, tropical, and open-aired environment was envisioned and put into the place of the sterile, arid one.
The third, last, and the most groundbreaking alteration was the complete removal of the AR mechanics, which allowed free rein of the designers to create puzzles integrated with the overworld controls instead of separate, clunky ones that barely functioned. In addition to that, it meant the complete derailment from the original pitch, to create a game that should make novel control schemes interesting.
The best thing about all these changes? Our audience seem to approve, for the modern Nintendo-esque game has a much larger crowd to pander to. Needless to say, the team needs a rest afterward to recover both physically and psychologically.