Summer madness is a first person puzzle game coming soon on Xbox One. The player in the role of a painter who has made a pact with the devil must find his way back into the real world after being deceived and trapped in one of his paintings. A journey into the surreal world of the artist’s creations, in which a dreamlike atmosphere hides secrets to be discovered, puzzles to be solved and a world in constant change.
The original idea of the game was to develop an adventure that was very limited and only set in a single scenario (a mysterious island) and whose game time had taken about an hour to solve its secrets and secrets. While developing a project, especially if this is the debut title as in this case, the priority has been to focus on the finished project from the first concept to the release date. Despite having plenty of good ideas, budget and timing needs to be considered in a realistic and feasible way without the temptation to overdo your planning, which will cause the project to stall halfway through development.
The cards on the table changed in February 2020 when Humble Bundle decided to invest in the project and fund a year of development. That meant that Summer madness has been revised and redesigned as a more detailed and complex game with multiple scenarios, deeper gameplay and longer playability and overall duration.
The first important point of this new development phase was the expansion of the scenarios that the player would have examined. The gameplay relies heavily on the visual impact of the settings, which reflect the painter’s imagination and allow us to dance around the narrative of events and change the tone according to the environment we are in. The gameplay does not contain puzzles that are in fact based on verbal understanding, there are no texts to decipher or historical terms to know, but it is the environment itself that acts as part of a larger puzzle that holds the key to moving further held. Observe, guess, imagine. These are the main features of the game of Summer madnesswho know no language and cultural barriers.
The main goal, therefore, was to find a way to link these different scenarios together in a consistent way. The story goes through the creations and the subconscious of the painter, and we are constantly sliding from one backdrop to the next: suspension bridges float above the clouds, a futuristic and dystopian city at dusk, the untouched nature of a mysterious island, the belly of a whale or a room bathed in total darkness and a starry sky.
In order to combine all of this, the basis of the development was to use the non-Euclidean spaces: if you open a simple door, you can see and enter an immeasurable world behind it. As you get closer to a canvas, you can step inside and immerse yourself in a completely different scenario without ever cutting, loading screen, or any kind of game interruption for the entire duration.
An unpredictable gameplay in which content and containers are constantly exchanged and the sense of space and time is lost, as every little thing can actually be the first step in changing everything.
After a year of development, all of the drawings, concepts, and illustrations I’ve worked on as a freelance 3D artist over the past 5 years are now somehow part of the game. I have often wondered where it was all going and if it would ever become real instead of just piling up my fantasies in a drawer in my life. In the end, what I’m most proud of and what can hopefully inspire anyone who plays is when I see how every piece of my artistic and human journey has become part of a story shared, lived and explored by every single player it can.