Finding a silver lining after his Kickstarter campaign didn’t reach its target, Sudbury-based game developer Chris Larue said he now has a bit more time to refine his upcoming release.
Tall Poppy II, he said, had its release date bumped from this October to March 29, 2024, allowing him time to experiment with some additional creative choices.
“I think it’s going to have a really good vibe with people,” the game developer and CEO of Attainable Entertainment told Sudbury.com this week.
The upcoming horror/puzzle/adventure game will include two playable characters, longer gameplay, and various other improvements on his debut effort, Tall Poppy.
Larue grew up playing video games, and is a self-taught game developer, picking up skills through online tutorials and advice from others.
He picked up the craft approximately 10 years ago, when he began looking at how to do 3D modelling and animation as a hobby. He began pursuing it more seriously a year later, and opened a video game company called Attainable Entertainment by 2016 with the goal of creating his own video games with the help of a silent partner.
By June 2019, he released his debut video game, Tall Poppy, a first-person adventure game that remained on the best-sellers list at Itch.io for seven weeks in 2021.
“It was relatively popular, and still is relatively popular for a small-time indie game,” he said, describing this debut effort as a “learning project.”
The game takes between 15 minutes and a half hour for the average gamer to complete, and mixes comedic elements with horror to create a puzzle-solving adventurous experience.
The vast majority of online reviews have been positive, with commenters posting such things as “This was the funniest horror game I have played this year,” and, “Loved the budget horror humour.”
With his debut effort a resounding success for a game of its scope, Larue set out to begin work on a sequel in January 2022, and created a Kickstarter campaign to speed up his process.
With the campaign falling short of its $9,502 goal, the 37-year-old game developer picked up a summer job to pay the bills, which pushed back progress on the game he’d originally planned on releasing in October.
The new release date is now March 29, 2024.
The necessity of a day job is nothing new to Larue, who worked as a truck driver and then taxi cab driver while developing his skills and creating the first Tall Poppy game.
In addition to his game development efforts through Attainable Entertainment, Larue also serves as a professor at Canadore College for the Game Design and Development program.
Although disappointed the Kickstarter failed to raise the funds necessary to allow him enough free time to work on Tall Poppy 2 as much as he’d wanted this summer, he said that’s just the way life goes sometimes, with bills needing to be paid.
“Game development is a very difficult job, and it takes a lot of time and energy,” he said, adding that with programming, animation, 3D art, texture art and sound engineering all wrapped up in his art, “you’ve got to be a jack of all trades if you’re an independent game developer.”
His advice to prospective game developers is, “Keep plugging away, don’t stop.”
While keeping a healthy work/life balance top of mind, he said game developers should also keep their end goal in mind.
For him, it’s about paying it forward.
“I want to be in the next generation of game developers that makes interesting stuff for kids, teens and adults.”
Depending on the type of video game you’re playing, he said the medium has the same ability to move people emotionally as movies or books can.
Larue is also pursuing potential releases on both the XBox and Playstation gaming consoles.
The following is a video game trailer for Tall Poppy 2:
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.