For years I saw on the ‘coming soon’ announcements on the Choice of Games forums that Emily Short had a choice of games game coming out, which sounded really cool to me. But after being on ‘coming soon’ for a couple of years it disappeared.
It reappeared recently, and it looks like it’s been completed (I think? It’s a little vague how much the two authors contributed, I think it’s mostly Emily Short though) by XYZZY-Award winning author Hannah Powell-Smith, and it’s releasing July 27th with the new name ‘Elite Status: Platinum Concierge’:
Thought I’d just throw this out there as I’ve been watching the progress of this since around 2017, and I know a lot of people are interested in Emily Short’s work.
The majority of it is by Emily - it was a massively ambitious project that was nearly done but needed more bandwidth than Emily had available to get it finished. She and Rebecca (the managing editor for the project at Choice of Games) reached out to me and I spent a while extending and tweaking various things, doing some updates to bring it in line with the modern CoG style guide (it was started long enough ago that the style guide didn’t exist then), and wrapping up the ending sequences, as well as responding to tester feedback. “Additional Content” is the official term for what I got up to I believe.
It’s a huge game with wildly different plots and tones depending on the paths taken. It was a fascinating experience and was honestly really fun and interesting to be involved with. The writing is great - so many of the witty lines made me laugh into my text files!
Hmm, so it is. I still have what looks like the whole thing in my feed reader. Maybe I’ll post it here and then delete it when the site’s back up… it’s a publicity piece, so that should be reasonably ok, right?
Edit: it was back up last night and this morning for me, so looks like it’s stable again…
I wasn’t sure whether to post on that thread but figured here was fine too -
This is really thoughtful, thank you for writing it! There is a ton of intricate branching in it, a lot of which is not very visible which is a different approach to many CoG games - I see it as a bit of a puzzle-box in which one playthrough can have a drastically different story especially in the second half whereas a lot of CoG games (including my own) are more strictly branch-and-bottleneck with more divergence in the last quarter or so. In a lot of ways it departs from some of the CoG house style elements, both formal and also related to what players have come to expect (it’s very much not a power fantasy, for example, as you mentioned, and the stat tests are fairly difficult), but I like to see CoG games doing something different. I was really happy to help it go out into the world after a long time in development!
(Do you think you’d ever consider doing another Choice of Games project despite the first one not doing so well?)
That’s really interesting about the house style divergences! Thanks for sharing it. I am glad it’s out there; it is really well done.
If I did do Choice of Games again, I’d probably do a Hosted Games one instead, because the formal process for the main brand probably hits up all my weaknesses in writing. For parser games I like to do a ‘skeleton’ of the game, throw all the puzzles and stuff out there and then expand around it by necessity (‘oh, this needs a room descripton,’ ‘oh, this needs a motivation,’ ‘oh, this conversation topic needs a response’.) I’ll often make drastic changes in the game based on feedback early on since the skeleton is small.
Whereas the official CoG process requires one chapter completed at a time (which I struggle with) and all the beta testing at the end (or at least more of it towards the end).
Even for Hosted Games, the part I struggle with the most is the pure text part. Without the puzzle framework of parser games to ‘hang’ things on I have to just put out pure prose and my skills just really aren’t there yet. If I could find a nice set of mechanics that gave a strong framework for my prose to decorate than I could definitely see myself doing it again!