When I got my cancer diagnosis in November I was completely blindsided. I went in on a Friday afternoon to get a lumpy piece of my chest checked out and the doc, calm as a hurricane eye, stepped back from the table and crossed his hands.
"This is going to... sound strange. I'm nearly certain that this is cancer. You'll need to get it cut out as soon as possible."
I went out to my car and had an earthshattering bawlfest that lasted a brief 4 minutes. Then I called my brother Seth, the programming half of our studio.
We are a two-man team, doing everything from inception to launch on the games we make. In telling him about the diagnosis I admitted I was terrified that this cancer would take our fledgling indie studio and throw it under the ground, as it may throw me. Seth reassured me and became my chauffeur for the next week as we went up to Iowa from St. Louis to do surgery, get the diagnosis complete, and figure out treatment.
It was Stage 4 lymphoma. It was on my spleen, my liver, my pelvis, my entire lymph system. The docs at the time said it might even be in my spinal fluid. A PET scan showed that my insides, rather than consisting of nice fleshy pinkness, were a coating of tumor. Despite how aggressive the cancer was, I was given a 65%-ish cure rate. Chemo was to begin the next week before I decided to up and die from tumor load.
The two weeks between diagnosis and treatment was a true whirlwind of activity and emotion. It wasn't until after I received my first chemo infusion that my anxiety settled and Seth and I sat down to begin again on our project at the time, Extreme Slothcycling.
As we began to plan a wry feeling started bubbling up from my chest. Something about this was wrong. Hysterically wrong. I interrupted Seth as he was in mid marker-swing across the whiteboard.
"Seth. I don't want Extreme Slothcycling to be the last game I make before I die."
He looked at me for a brief moment and then we both began laughing. Creating yet another action-runner for the mobile marketplace is not something either of us would define as a meaningful deathbed activity.
I wanted to make a game that meant something and that lasted. I wanted to make something big, some place I could go to escape when I was in the hospital or nauseous beyond description. Through the last four rounds of chemo and two hospitalizations Seth and I have worked to turn that desire into a reality, and we're finally ready to announce our next game:
Crashlands blends survival, crafting, creature management, strategic combat, and player expression into an endless world.
My treatments are wrapping up in March - by the time we hit Alpha I should be in remission. We will be releasing more information about the game's systems on the schedule below:
- February 13th - The World and Exploration
- February 27th - Crafting
- March 6th - Closed Alpha
- March 20th - Creatures and Taming
- April 3rd - Housing
- April 10th - Closed Beta
- June - Launch - Android
To discuss this post and see some assets from the game, check out the community subreddit