After the launch and final post-launch updates of Aground, we floundered (hah) for a bit deciding what to do next. We made many prototypes - several of which were put on hold, before finally settling on two games. Yes, that’s right, we’re working on two big games right now, and if that wasn’t wild enough, we also just finished a third game in a month-long game jam that you can play right now for free!
Stardander School for Witches
After finishing </reality>, the Visual Novel we made right before starting Aground, we had many ideas for better story-based games. But, at the time, we decided to hold off on them because of how challenging the visual novel market is. However, we both really like the magical school setting and kept trying to think of ways to make our witchy game idea better. We had loads of ideas before, during and after Aground’s development - from a tower-defense based game, to a multiplayer-only game. But, eventually we settled on a management/simulation style game where you can recruit, train, and battle with your witches - sort of like Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
This game is Stardander School for Witches, a narrative-heavy RPG rich in lore and worldbuilding, focusing on Dare (the fae cat you play as) and the witches she recruits. You can view the trailer for Stardander School for Witches below:
Stardander School for Witches will release Fall 2022, and you can wishlist it right now on Steam!
We also wanted to do something directly related to Aground, but I always want to try something new, and making DLC for the base game just didn’t excite me. I wanted to change the art style, as a lot of people didn’t like the pixel art. The idea for Aground Zero came to me when I was reminiscing about one of our first commercial projects, I Can’t Escape: Darkness (ICED), which was a 3D game. I really liked a lot of the things I did for ICED, especially the lighting system (and I even had plans for a sequel), and I thought - why not make a 3D Aground spinoff? This idea was shortly before April, and prompted the April Fool’s joke of Aground: Minecraft Edition - a farcical but also partially true joke.
Aground Zero takes place during the events of the main game - but deep underground on Earth where you are one of the few survivors of the bombardment. You have to build up a bunker and rescue other survivors and eventually make your way to the surface. While it’ll have the mining and crafting of Aground, it’ll focus more on the base building aspects - taking the ideas from my scrapped colony update for Aground. You can view a short teaser for Aground Zero below:
You can wishlist Aground Zero on Steam now:
As if making two games at the same time wasn’t enough, when the Spooktober visual novel jam came around, we couldn’t resist making a halloween-themed spinoff of Stardander. The core mechanics are the same as Stardander School for Witches, but the story, characters and enemies were all made in the month of September for the jam.
Stardander Revenant is short (1-2 hours) and story-focused, but I definitely like the interactions between the two main characters (fun fact: they are based on our cats). You’ll also have some interesting battles (especially on hard mode) that require you to utilize the spells that your two older witches have learned (and you get to teach them some more spells along the way). You can view the trailer for Stardander Revenant below:
And you can play Stardander Revenant now, for free on Newgrounds:
Stardander Revenantby davidmaletzCast spells, fight fae, fail classes and make frenemies at the best school for witches!
That’s a lot of announcements to go through, and it looks like 2022 is going to be a busy year for us at Fancy Fish Games! Which game are you most excited for? Did you give Stardander Revenant a try?
And, after having made many prototypes, I have plenty of ideas for what to make next! My game ideas document continues to grow (now at 61 entries), so Stardander and Aground Zero are only the beginning! Look forward to a lot more from Fancy Fish Games!