By Steve Heller, Production Coordinator
For the past seven years, our journey as a small indie publisher from the shores of Australia has been quite momentous. From our humble beginnings as a consulting firm for small developers in an office that was FAR too small for our team, to the launch of our label at the first PAX Australia in 2013, we’ve had some major stops along the way. From the release of Screencheat in 2014, the runaway success of Hacknet in 2015, and the launch of Orwell in 2016, we began to focus on the type of games we wanted to help launch, and cemented on what we, as a label, wanted to be known for.
Now we are making the biggest stop on that journey so far. A new name. A new vision. A chance for us to stand up and declare our love for games with something important, something special, something weird to say.
Welcome to Fellow Traveller™.
From the dystopian worlds of Hacknet and Orwell, to our upcoming releases including Neo Cab, Genesis Noir and In Other Waters, Fellow Traveller stands for games that take a unique approach to narrative.
I sat down with the rest of our small team, and together we discussed why we all thought renaming the label was important. “Renaming the label is like renaming one of my children,” Chris Wright, our founder and Managing Director explained. “It wasn’t an easy decision for us to take but ultimately we realised it was a rare occasion to go back to that feeling of starting something new with a blank page and the freedom to define ourselves.”
Ultimately, he is excited about how launching the new name gives us a chance to connect with like-minded developers, and our fans. “I believe indie game labels should build a reputation for a particular flavour of game in order to help developers to find fans and fans to find the type of games that they are most interested in. That’s what we aim to do at Fellow Traveller – we’re all about the weird and the wonderful and pushing the boundaries of how games tell stories.”
Marla Fitzsimmons, our Marketing Manager, aims to use that connection to fuel all of our releases. “Now that we are focusing our attention on our particular style of game, we can take a more intimate approach to marketing, where we can let our fans come along on the journey as these stories develop, and to have an inside look at the creation process itself”.
We want to be known for our interest in narrative, and this rebrand gives us a chance to really share that.”
As Drew Taylor, our Communications Manager, spoke a little about how this gives us a chance to really focus on the future vision our games hold. “In the early days we had a big mix of games, across all genres, which was fun, but hard to create a cohesive voice.
“Now we can focus on telling people about these exciting stories, and provide them with information and news that has a higher level of interest, because they’ll know and trust what our label represents.
As for me, having a chance to work on innovation in narrative is really exciting. As Production Coordinator, I have a unique chance to see how different teams work, and the tools that they are using to try and elevate their stories and games. Working alongside the developers, and in some cases, helping with some of that narrative design, is extremely rewarding. I was fortunate enough to help Matt Trobbiani develop and expand the narrative in the original Hacknet, and then took my experience there and helped Osmotic Studios fine tune both Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You, and Orwell: Ignorance Is Strength. Both instances were extremely rewarding, and I can’t wait to help shape some of the stories we have coming in the future. Turning our focus to these types of games means that we can ensure that we deliver the most interesting and exciting stories out there.
So as we sit here, ready to push the button and change the name from Surprise Attack Games, a name that has defined all of our lives for the past seven years, I ask Chris what he hopes that the future will bring.
“I feel an incredible sense of pride in what we’ve achieved so far and in the amazing line-up of teams trusting us to travel with them on their journey. Now, we can share that excitement with our fans, and invite them to come along on the journey with us.”