It has been a while since I have posted and I have been up to many things. Today I want to mention my most recent project that you can get your hands on: the Paradox Interactive game Knights of Pen & Paper 2. Per the publisher, “Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is a turn-based, retro style, pixel-art adventure full of danger, intrigue, death, and saving throws!”
Knights of Pen & Paper 2 — or KoPP2 to friends — is part tongue-in-cheek parody of tabletop fantasy role-playing games and part interactive simulation game simulating tabletop RPGs. You, the player, control a group of in-game RPG players and the player characters they are playing as they go on an epic quest to save the world of Paperos from disaster.
It’s all very meta, but all you really need to know is that it is a funny and fun game you can play on your smartphone or tablet, or via Steam. And that there are flying monkeys.
I had the opportunity to be a story editor and additional writer on this project. To be clear, my role in the overall making of the game was fairly limited. I worked with the smart, talented and very creative team at Kyy Games to help them kick around story ideas and I also got to suggest a few jokes and script a few of the smaller episodes (or “quests” in the lingo of the game) myself. I won’t say which ones, because that would not at all be in the spirit of a collaborative project. The final game is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people, most of whom were not me.
This was my first experience working in the realm of “interactive games” (or what I still tend to call “video games” because I am older than Pong). I learned a lot about the game-making process…and learned there is a lot I don’t know. It is always fun to get a glimpse “behind the scenes”.
I especially enjoyed the collaborative aspect, kicking ideas back and forth with the writers and producers and Kyy and Paradox, and riffing off of each other to tell the story and combining our imaginations to create an entertaining experience for the players. Being part of a creative team is a very different experience than writing a novel, where it is all on me. It was also different trying to think in terms of an interactive story, where player choices affect what happens next, and within the confines of a game environment where visuals are a big part of the player experience and text/dialogue is in many ways secondary. I had to stretch a little and it was fun!
That said, I’m not giving up on novels. I have one completed book floating around in editorial limbo right now, I am currently getting the next Jason Cosmo novel, Royal Crush, ready to release this summer and I’m gearing up to write the long-awaited Boltblaster after that. More on all that soon. For now … take a look at Knight of Pen & Paper 2 and let me know what you think! Available in your favorite app store now.