Retro/Grade on PSN

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Jeff Parrott polycounter lvl 12
Retro/Grade http://retrogradegame.com should be out on Playstation PSN by the end of summer (Europe and US) Figured rather than just plugging the game giving some insight and history on things (for others thinking of trying a similar approach would be helpful to the community.

So 4 years ago (almost to the day) I quit my job as an Environment Artist at a very fun company to try and start a small company with a few co-worker buddies of mine. In the summer on 2008 everything was sunshine and puppy dogs. We had a few bites with publishers and deals about other games. We developed multiple pitches and concepts. Then the recession hit and things started drying up and talks slowed down.

One day after a talk with an executive that kicked our butt bad Matt (Gameplay | Co-Founder) was rewinding the level to the start pos and our Engine Programmer (who's name we do not mention) was joking that would make a funny game, to have a game backwards. Matt spent the weekend coming up with a concept game and showed it to use early that next week. We decided to self-fund and go full boar into development of a small downloadable game.

Self-funding FUUUUUUU!!! Knowing that we were now self-funding we all had/have expiration dates. Mine was measured in months and the programmers were measured in years/decades. I just ignored that to the best of my ability for a while. So we buckled down and created a demo for IGF 2009. It's actually playable in old art form on Steam:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/29110

We got nominated for an award at GDC that year which was great. We got good coverage out on the floor at GDC and ended up into a great relationship with Sony to get Retro/Grade on PSN. The bad thing was by this time I had already approached my expiration date. I needed to find a job. So my time became splintered. I tried to contribute as much as possible. But I also had to juggle art tests, interviews, portfolio development, wife, kids, life, etc. But as time went on my ability to assist diminished drastically. I took a job teaching and that allowed me to continue to assist (not as much as I would have liked) to help complete the game. The Programmers were working the whole time on getting things running on the PS3 dev kit.

We were able to get a fantastic intern, Joe Grabowski (http://grabowskiart.com/joe) which allowed the art development to continue along with direction by me. We had a few extra outsourcing Artists help (Dan!, fellow teachers, other Artists, etc) throughout the process. But having a full-time dedicated Artist in Joe was needed. The team realized that and were able to come to terms to hire him on full-time. It allowed the art to develop, but also allowed me to stay involved giving him direction. Eventually it got to the point were towards the latter development period Joe was completely hands off and creating amazing stuff in the style of the game. I'm honestly amazed at his growth over the past few years. Really proud of what he contributed.

It feels like just yesterday we were all giving our notice, packing up at work. I had a blast with the initial development and helping out sporadically throughout the development cycle. I just wish I could have devoted more time to development throughout the process. Such is life and the guys did a great job. I'm really happy and impressed with the overall look of the game. I can't wait to see it on my tv running in 1080p with MSAA (Multisample anti-aliasing).

Retro/Grade site:
http://retrogradegame.com

24 Caret Games site:
http://24caretgames.com

Any questions on the whole process feel free to ask. I'll answer the best of my abilities or get the answer for you. (Just to get it out of the way no current plans for a PC release (but you never know). If you've got a PS3 give it a shot in a few weeks. Also if you have those plastic guitars sitting around plug those in too.

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