Developing Below is different than working on a game like Clash of Heroes, which is also huge -- about 20 hours long. However, Clash of Heroes is linear, which allows developers to simply skip to the part of the game they want to playtest.
"We can't do that in Below at all, really," Vella says. Below's procedural generation scheme makes skipping ahead an impossibility, meaning testers and developers have to actually play through long stretches of the game to end up in a particular spot.
Vella has learned a lot from Below. He knows that ambitious games will probably take longer to develop than planned; he's learned countless lessons about the importance of correctly timing the announcement of big, new projects.
Taking all of this into consideration, Capy is set to reveal two fresh titles in August. Vella has been preparing for these announcements all year, bouncing among conventions to meet with potential partners. E3 2018 marked Vella's 13th year attending the show, and he's been to the Game Developer's Conference at least as often. Below has been featured on the Microsoft stage numerous times since its reveal alongside the Xbox One in 2013, and the game secured a spot in the off-site Xbox lounge at this year's E3.
"GDC is -- it's become so full," Vella says. "Everybody gets half an hour, all of the platforms, all of the publishers, have, nine to six, half-an-hour meetings, so there's like 16 meetings a day. It's not necessarily the ideal scenario for figuring out future plans or partnerships. So usually that's where it starts, and then E3 is an opportunity to sit down for an hour, have a beer and work through a lot of business."
This isn't the case for every indie studio. Vella says the surplus of projects in the pipeline at Capy allow him to truly take advantage of these conventions; there's always something for him to talk about, an angle for each partner to enter his studio's world. Most indie teams are smaller, less financially stable, and they tend to work on one game at a time, making networking more tricky. Tricky, but not impossible.
Vella remembers attending his first IGDA meeting in Toronto in 2002. He'd never hung out with video game professionals before, but he was eager to dive into the scene. So, he walked into the room and started speaking with the first person who looked open to a chat. That ended up being Guillaume Provost, who would go on to found We Happy Few studio Compulsion Games, which is now owned by Microsoft. This acquisition, packaged with the announcement of four other studio purchases, was one of the biggest moments of Xbox's big media briefing at E3.
"I really hope he's fucking rich," Vella says. He and Provost still keep in touch today.