Here are some of the game concepts Outerloop pitched before making Thirsty Suitors
Between launching Falcon Age and deciding to greenlight production on Thirsty Suitors, minority-led indie studio Outerloop Games kicked around a couple more pitches that it ultimately decided to shelve (for now).
That’s par for the course when it comes to game development, and studios will often pitch a smorgasbord of ideas internally in a bid to unearth a concept fizzing with a certain je ne sais quoi.
What’s rare, however, is getting to clap eyes on some of the near-miss ideas and concepts that were touted behind closed doors. Rules (even unwritten ones) are made to be broken, though, and in a recent Twitter thread Outerloop co-founder and creative director Chandana Ekanayake decided to showcase some of the pitches the team spitballed before eventually giving Thirsty Suitors the go-ahead.
“Initially we talked to a bunch of potential partners with three different game ideas. We weren’t sure internally which idea we wanted to go with so decided to test them out by talking to folks. This is what they looked like in 2020,” explained Ekanayake, showcasing pitches for projects called Falcon Age Adventures, (working title) Monkey Game, and Thirsty Suitors itself.
“They say always play to your strengths and our strengths are stylized visuals, making trailers, and iterating on ideas pretty quickly. For each concept, we put together trailers focusing on the unique aspects of each game.”
Falcon Age Adventures was the first idea to make it onto the pitch deck, and Ekanayake explained the idea behind that project was to create a top-down action-adventure RPG that included turn-based combat, exploration, and pet training.
The idea would’ve seen Outerloop push the Falcon Age franchise into new territory, and a brief trailer shows how players might build a settlement, interact with characters, and fight foes.
“The thing we never figured out [with Falcon Age Adventures] was the scope and scale,” continues Ekanayake. “It’s too close to other existing genre of games and the player expectations would be greater than the time/budge/scale of what we could do reasonably well.”
The next project, Monkey Game, is described as a first-person “Falcon Age like game” that would partner players with a pet monkey that would play a key role in combat and other interactions. Monkey Game was viewed as an ambitious concept that would veer into RPG territory in the same vein as titles like Dishonored.
“The players abilities were hand signals that would learn/teach the monkey over time,” said Ekanayake, explaining how Outerloop showcased the concept by hacking together a trailer using Falcon Age assets and some new components. “With this idea it was trying to solve how we could do a smaller RPG like this with a team of 15. What could we do to stand out and still make it a good experience for players?”
Curiously, it was the third pitch in the deck, Thirsty Suitors, that Ekanayake thought would be the hardest sell. Despite those reservations, it actually garnered a huge amount of positive feedback due to its theme and unique gameplay elements. Six months later, Outerloop had a playable prototype and the rest, as they say, is history.
Thirsty Suitors is still simmering away in the gleaming development Le Cruset over at Outerloop, and as for the other pitches? Ekanayake hasn’t ruled out revisiting them in a different form at some point in the future. Be sure to check out Ekanayake’s thread on Twitter to see additional concept art, sketches, and trailers for both Falcon Age Adventures and Monkey Game.