Dev Blog #14: Optional and Wolf on Past, Present, and Future

A year ago to this day, a post was made to the Katawa Shoujo subreddit.

A year ago today, Watercress Studios was born.

In the first days of Watercress, things were chaotic. Communication was basically nonexistent. Upwards of sixty people were trying to contribute to development. A certain studio claimed that Watercress would not make it through the week.

By the time I had joined (roughly a month later) the team had relatively gotten their stuff together. A chain of command had been implemented, Coordinators elected (I was actually there for that one!) and character ideas pitched.

They had finished organizing the team, and I had joined just in time for the team to put their creative juices to good use. Shortly into production, the original creator of Sanne had to step down due to life difficulties, and I was given the blessing to make her my own.

Many leads have come and gone, and many new people have come to take their place. While no one can be replaced, it is nice to see that so many people - regardless if they are from the beginning or not - are so dedicated to this dream of ours.

In the year since then, much has changed. People have come and gone, ideas have been shared and scrapped.

In fact, we even scrapped our entire Act 1 at one point. Man, that was quite the change in development.

The current team has somewhere around 30 active members at the moment. 30 talented writers, artists, musicians, and coders.

A large mix of old, new and newer members. Surprisingly, we all get along quite well despite our different pasts and backgrounds. Sure, we have the petty squabble here and there, but things have always been resolved, one way or another.

If we couldn't settle our differences in such a way, we would never be here, now, would we?

We've learned a lot over the past year. We learned how to communicate over the internet, with a group the size it is. We've learned how to effectively organize ourselves. We're still figuring out how to be efficient… That one has proven to be difficult.

In a volunteer setting, efficiency is particularly difficult. You can't force anything. We aren't paying enough for that.

Emphasis on the 'We aren't paying' part of that.

Yeah. But we manage. We aren't the first! If others can make it happen, so can we (and even if others couldn't make it happen, we would find a way).

It could be said that ours is a story about overcoming odds. Does that sound a bit posh?

Posh? Yeah, but we would be lying if we were to describe it in any other way. Speaking of overcoming odds…

Palinurus is a great example of that.

A game made in two weeks that was more successful than anything Avitus related that we had been working on for the past year. A game made in a limited timespan for a game jam, a game that wasn't even worked on by the majority of the studio.

Roughly half of us helped create it, and it had plenty of mistakes.

But the story, art, and music helped overshadow that. Please remember to secure your belongs!

The development of Palinurus was something we all were able to take a lot out of, even those members of the team not directly involved with development. We learned from the mistakes made in Palinurus, and hope to use the experience gained to our advantage in future endeavors.

There were a few things in particular that we learned. Firstly: kill your darlings. There were many great concepts that had to be dropped due to time constraints. That brings us into the next one: deadline management. We learned exactly how a piece of work must be managed in order for all of the pieces to fall into place.

Lastly: Competent Editors. For real. Double, even triple check your games!

You wouldn't want simple spelling errors ending up in your final product, would you?

So, since it's a special day for us, let us make it a special day for you, as well.

We are happy to announce Palinurus: Remastered.

Because we enjoyed Palinurus so much, but felt that it didn't get the quality assets it deserved, we are working on a remastered version of the kinetic novel. The remaster will include several new CGs, more sprites, updated music, and a more polished script.

We are also announcing other projects, such as Dreamscape, a Visual Novel written by our very own Electro. This, paired with yet another Visual Novel, being spearheaded by Critanium, goes to show how much we really have in store for you guys!

Lastly, we have the Anniversary Bundle. It will include the Palinurus remaster, some concept for Dreamscape and Critanium's Project, the 'Selby Chapters', a snippet of Sanne St. Pierre's past as well as a plethora of bonus scenes to tease you guys into the world of Avitus. This will be our biggest piece of work released to date, and the first look at the canon story of our main project, Avitus.

Thanks for sticking with us over the course of our first year. We hope you're looking forward to the things to come just as much as we are. - OptionalSauce

It has been an interesting ride, and I can't wait to see what the future holds! - TheForeverLoneWolf