Dev Diary Issue. 1 : Early Game Ideation
What goes around, comes around…
And so it starts. Our first Dev Diary for Vicious Circle. Our chance to bring you along on our journey to create a fast-paced, down-to-the-wire, unapologetically-saucey gaming experience. Oh, and in case you missed our original announcement, let’s tell you a bit about what type of game Vicious Circle is.
Vicious Circle is an online, multiplayer-only shooter set in a retro-futuristic, sci-fi universe. Your objective? Battle with (and against) other players in short sessions to outwit, outgun, and outrun each other in the battle arena. Race to grab pickups to buff up or bamboozle the competition. Cooperate with other players to meet your objectives - or don’t. Ultimately, only one person is taking home the cup. Bring a mop, because the only thing dirtier than the floor is going to be the gameplay.
Now that you’re caught up on the basics, let’s take you back to the early days of how Vicious Circle was conjured from the game development ether.
Vicious Circle is led by Rooster Teeth Games Creative Director Michael Hadwin, Lead Designer Casey Donnellan, Art Lead Joshua Balcaceres, and Lead Producer Ron LaJoie. Michael and Casey first teamed up on Rooster Teeth Games’ inaugural project, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, and now they’re leading the vision for the team’s first original IP project. We’ve welcomed both Josh and Ron, coming from projects such as the Star Wars film franchises and Lawbreakers in the last several months to help bring the game together in its final phases.
The team is now roughly 20 members strong, however it started out far more humble many years (and several iterations) ago.
After RWBY:Grimm Eclipse shipped in 2016, Matt and Burnie challenged the team to create something of their own - an original IP and something we’ve never seen before. This is a game developer’s dream come true, albeit a hefty challenge for a small studio.
The original idea was to craft a simple game in six to eight months, and team members were given equal freedom to pitch game ideas. It was decided early on that the team wanted something that harnessed the power of suspenseful PvP stand-offs or created the intense psychological tension stealth games are known for. Casey pitched a game similar to Alien: Isolation with a focus on survival elements. Initial game concepts included photo-realistic imagery, horror, and a game that would put the player on the edge of their seats for the duration of the match.
As ideas rolled out, the core focus centered around a game that first and foremost needed to be fun to watch: something Achievement Hunter, fans of streaming platforms such as Twitch, and content creators would enjoy watching as well as playing. Secondly, the game needed to allow a healthy dose of griefing and something to keep everyone on their toes - an element that allowed for last minute upsets and exploiting other players to eke out a win while still feeling fun.
After pitching the game concept to Matt and Burnie, the idea was met with enthusiastic approval and the team started work on a multiplayer first person shooter that required teammates to escape an alien encounter while under relentless attack. The game concept expanded, and it was clear the team was developing a bigger game that would require more time and resources. We spent a year in prototyping and recruiting, which also gave our team time to fine-tune and alter the core gameplay and tone. Most importantly, it gave us time to develop the heart of the game: its universe and story. The game was missing something that tethered it to the identity of Rooster Teeth and we asked ourselves: what made Rooster Teeth a success with gamers for so long?
That missing ingredient? Rooster Teeth’s classic sense of humor, and explosive fun. (See also: a healthy dose of sabotaging your friends.)
We’re now several iterations away from what Vicious Circle was originally pitched as, but we feel it has a place in the long list of successful and beloved Rooster Teeth IPs. We’re making a game with the intent of keeping content creators excited to play every day. We’ve built a team with talent from across the games industry who have worked on some of your favorite legacy and cutting-edge game titles. The pace, art style, and spirit of gameplay has evolved to make this a game that anyone from hardcore gamers to casuals have a chance to claw or brawl their way to first place.
We’re excited to take you along on this game development journey with us in the coming months so you can share in our triumphs, challenges, and problem solving to bring you a game that we hope you’ll love to play and watch as much as we’ve loved working on it.
So here’s to hours of relentless competition and laughs - we’ll see you in the pits of outer space, Circle Jerks!
The Rooster Teeth Games Team