Grindwheel Games began as a collaboration between myself and Carlos Kobayen in order to produce some simple Unity games. We initially argued back and forth over making Metroidvania style adventure games and side-scrolling shoot-em-up's, but eventually realised that neither of us had the time or budget to produce something that large. As such, we worked out what we could realistically work on in our spare time, and came up with the idea of text-based adventures supported by Kobayen's artwork.
One plan was to work on visual novels, but we soon settled on the idea of something in the style of the old Fighting Fantasy novels. That would allow me to focus on getting the engine built, and the story plugged in as art was developed in tandem. Once the core engine was created, it would be a simple case of creating new stories to plug in, making yearly releases a viable prospect.
Along the way we expanded the circle of people involved, from friends and family who tested the game and gave feedback, to musicians and artists to add polish to the final product. Hopefully we can keep this small, indie mentality for as long as possible, and produce many more games in the future this way.
Getting things to work has not been easy on any of us. Even outside the fact that many of the people involved were working full time, before putting in hours of effort to get the games ready, real life has had a way of kicking us all in the rump during development. This ranged from having to delay releasing the products due to my workplace changing personal project policies to having to move to Poland and back for work. And that's just at my end!
Developing these games while working full time has essentially been like working several years of full crunch. The problems and roadblocks have popped up one by one, and we (as a team) have slowly ground them down. This Sisyphus-like labour has been hard on us all, but we think the results speak for themselves. We are all proud of what we have accomplished, and hope that things will be relatively smoother from now on.
Even if they are not, we will keep meeting these challenges with the same tenacity as always. We won't stop until we are done; like a grinding wheel slowly burrowing through a wall. That's the Grindwheel Games way.
The current plan is to use the game engine to build and release one game a year. The current major time consuming element is the development of the page art, which might delay a project slightly. Thankfully there does not seem to be any reason to believe this roadmap is going to run into serious problems.
There are multiple stories lined up for pre-production, which means we can keep things moving for several years before we might consider adding a new series to run alongside The Hunter's Journals. There is also room to slowly and surely expand Grindwheel Games. In this case, we might have multiple writers creating stories and working with different artists. This will help to expand out portfolio considerably!
I have some vague ideas about looking into merchandise should the games become successful, but I have no intention of monetising the games with in-game purchases of any kind. Nor do I have any intention of having adverts, even in the mobile builds. Yes, this does mean that the games will never be free-to-play, but it also means that you will not be nickel-and-dimed with egregious monetization.
You can be confident that when you purchase a Grindwheel Games game, you will receive the full product. And, should new pages or content be added, you will get that for free.