An Odd Collaboration: How Neil Gaiman and The Odd Gentlemen Decided to Make Wayward Manor Together
Matt Korba (The Odd Gentlemen)
An "ordinary" Lego play session turned into a unique collaboration between game makers and a storyteller. A seemingly one of a kind collaboration led not only to a new way to approach game development, but also a unique way to approach the working relationship. This discussion will deal with a peculiar type of creative process, one that involves a game maker and outside talent from another creative field: literature. We'll talk about how to set up a collaborative environment to build a unique game and world. This unusual collaboration influenced the inception of Wayward Manor, and led to the creation of every single character, level, mechanic and story element of the game. Our play session quickly became one of brainstorming, and those little Lego bricks became representations of classic Hollywood style and the characters of old comedy horror films. As we worked, we knew the collaboration would have to combine what we were both best at. We set our pillars for the creative design and agreed that we wanted to create a living story with a dead protagonist that we could unveil across multiple games. Much like Gaiman's writing, we wanted to leave the player breadcrumbs and hints to discover more about the story as it unfolds, in a way that only could be done in games. Wayward Manor came to life through the process of Lego prototyping. With these simple tools, we were able to develop the story beats, systems and character relationships at a minimal cost. Simultaneously, we defined old Hollywood tropes to develop a game that captured those fun, iconic characters and scenarios which exemplified the genre.