HotGen // June 2008 – January 2009
After HiScore, I decided to try my hand at freelance work.
Initially I supplied editorial consultancy to GamersUniverse.com, a nascent gaming website founded by a group of Greek venture capitalists. It was a strange old fish, trying to square the circle between offering a downloadable games service while also serving up daily news and reviews coverage.
Just a few months after starting my contract, the site was shutdown suddenly when the VCs discovered the money wasn’t rolling in as fast as they’d been promised and got cold feet. Many of the guys who wrote for the site now run AllAboutTheGames.co.uk, an independent games site which is well worth a read.
Around the same time I was approached by the developer Hotgen to design their first Nintendo DS game, a pony sim in the Nintendogs vein. The game was originally intended to be part of UbiSoft’s range of Pippa Funnell titles, though it subsequently joined the Petz range instead.
Both time and budget were tight so we didn’t have the leeway to be too adventurous or risky with the gameplay. Many of the features were familiar from other pet-caring sims, though we did manage to squeeze in a few semi-original ideas such as the Simon Says-inspired dressage and the pattern-matching beauty pageant (the game’s main raison d’être).