The critically-acclaimed indie web and PC/Mac game Reprisal wasn’t always based on Peter Molyneux’s genre-defining god-game Populous—an Amiga, DOS, and everything else classic from 1989 that launched the career of its ever-ambitious designer.
A new digital booklet released by Reprisal developer Last 17 explores the history of its development, which started with a prototype for something very different. While searching for a graphical “hook” to inject into the game, in order to stand it apart, they got sidetracked with making an isometric landscape generator. That led to thoughts of Populous, and the rest—as the saying goes—is history.
You learn about all aspects of Reprisal’s development, from that first spark through planning and prototyping, then coding, pondering screen resolution, expanding the design, and gushing over the post-release response—one million plays in its first three months, plus favorable press from the likes of Edge Magazine, RockPaperShotgun, and The Verge.
It’s a fascinating read for anyone interested in the creative process, or these games in particular, with snippets of text surrounded by large images that showcase the project’s visual evolution. The booklet is beautifully presented across 38 pages, although it suffers for lack of a copy editor to clean up the writing—diaries don’t have to be published verbatim; there’s nothing wrong with fixing bad grammar in the transition.
Pet peeves aside, go check it out. The booklet comes as a free download to anybody who has purchased the desktop version of Reprisal. If you’ve already bought the game, login to your Desura account to grab it. The Making Of book is worth the $3.99 price tag alone.