In a postmortem posted on Gamasutra, third person badger-em-up Shelter’s developers said they are currently experimenting with a Tamagotchi inspired sequel called Nurture, which might feature RTS elements. Choice quotes from the post after the break.
As lead designer Andreas Wangler says, the core narrative of Shelter’s development and in his opinion, its success is the dramatic change at developer Might & Delight from making a hardcore game like platformer Pid to a more “casual” and accessible game like Shelter.
“The main idea then was to develop something that commercially would work better, that spoke to a wider audience, almost casual. Pid had shown itself to be a game aimed at a narrow hardcore audience. Well, now nine months later we have the final product, Shelter.”
However, as he wryly notes, Shelter ended up being anything but a commercial game, with the ‘art game’ having failed to chart for very long on Steam. However, like most smaller developers, Wangler is just glad to have touched some hearts.
“Seeing the many reactions from people on YouTube playing the game, and reading about people crying at the end of the game, makes us think we actually touched a few thousand hearts out there. That to me is a job well done.”
Like many focused ‘art games’, Shelter is fairly short and focuses on eliciting a reaction from the player, rather than having the player find meaning through mechanical interaction. Over the course of development, Might and Delight discovered it was as effective to fake danger as actually have it.
“During development there were many discussions regarding whether it’s enough having the player visually experience threat without there actually being any real danger. As an example, in the fire level, the fire can’t actually kill your cubs. We wanted this to begin with but found that it just wasn’t needed. The moving fire used together with the threat of the bird of prey was enough to stress the hell out of the player.”