Broken RulesA game development studio.
Broken Rules is a game development studio based in Vienna, in the Museumsquartier as a part of Q21.
It was founded in 2009, following the success and attention gained with And Yet It Moves, an early example of the new wave of "indie" games.
I joined the studio as co-owner in 2010 with the goal to become sustainable creating games by my own standards. Specifically, my goals were to to create a game that is:
- financially successful (enough to keep making games)
- critically successful (enough to find an audience)
- artistically successful in a way that aspires to my ideals of game making
The following years were challenged with a tremendous learning curve, trying to stay afloat. Two of the major realeases were not successful enough to keep the studio alive and our only choices were to adapt or fold.
Opposing to working as a team of co-owners on a single project, we restructured Broken Rules towards a creative hub: the common studio provides a shared infrastructure, network and experience, while each member can work on their own projects, pickup contract work an collaborate with others around the globe.
We mainly worked for hire for a year, but in 2015 an opportunity arose to work on a new original title. At the end of the year, Felix and I started working on Old Man's Journey, a game that I presumed to be my last before quitting my game making ambitions.
Our perspective was that if we were to work something so expensive, exhausting and likely to fail, we at least wanted to make it personal.
At Broken Rules we share a common ground: in the past decade each of its founders started a family. Raising children, living up to the expectations of being a parent, while following your individual drive and passion - in our case developing our own games - is a topic that connects us as friends and partners, but is also one that is universal for people all over the world. Everyone, regardless of race or culture, knows what it means to have - or not to have - a family and has a personal relation to this topic.
We decided to use this topic for the game and create a character who struggles with its inherent challenges. We chose an elderly as a protagonist because it allowed us to let him reflect on his past life and his questionable choices, while still creating empathy for him through his journey of redemption.
To my surprise, the game rose to beyond our wildest expectation and fully realized all of the goals I had set when I joined the studio.
3 years have passed since the release of the game and I am still trying to gain a sense of orientation on what comes next.
I joined IndieFund and helped make a few games happen financially.
In 2019 I started a new project with Felix, but mainly retreated from active participation with the start of its production. I'm happy to have helped this project come alive and even happier to see how well the team is doing working on it.
To be continued...