October 12, 2022
Games Lift: Team Godcomplex have thought this through
Would you have guessed that Team Godcomplex are already working on their third game? The four young professionals found each other at the university and have worked together ever since. With their party action game Stack’em up, they want to show what they have learned.
Stack’em up looks like a family friendly fun time: In this multiplayer game, cute and chubby animals slip into strange space suits and stack on top of each other. The funny concept art belies a surprisingly intricate design. That’s to be expected, according to 3d artist Annabel Brand: “We learned a lot from our mistakes during our master studies.” During the interview, the team keeps circling back to insights from earlier projects that inform the new one.
Team Godcomplex do indeed have years of professional experience. Concept art, art direction and game design are the domain of Suzan Azakli. Annabel is “translating Suzan’s work into 3d“ – she is the environment and character artist. Lukas Schneller is mainly responsible for coding and tech art, but also helps designing the game. Daniel Stehlik is the team’s backend developer and project manager. Music, sound, and animation are not done internally, but with returning external partners.
The team comes off as well-rehearsed, even when the conversation is informal. Team Godcomplex know each other well. And they know what they want from the Incubator.
The first weeks of the program have been intense, which is a positive to Daniel: He has gotten “a lot of input.” The team is full of anticipation. Suzan explains that the team’s focus was on the incubator program’s early workshops and that they are now finding more time for production work. Lukas is already looking forward to more coding.Keeping several balls in the air is just what this team is used to. They have worked in internships and paid positions at different studios, but the HAW Hamburg University of Applied Sciences has been playing a pivotal role. The team has assembled while still fresh at this university. Networking and meet-ups were hampered by the COVID pandemic. Getting to know each other was a process akin to “speed dating,” according to Lukas. But the team was quick to notice that they work well together.
Their first-ever project made it to the market; Enoki is an appealing mobile game about a mushroom collecting points and avoiding spikes. The game was developed as part of a university course. Next up was Forlorn – an atmospheric horror game. “One and a half years of our time at the university” went into the project, Annabel explains. That’s easy to see – the 3d game looks suitably unsettling. But Daniel is eager to criticize: The game was “out of scope” for the small team, he says. And during development, Team Godcomplex had to make tough decisions because they could not, as it turned out, turn Forlorn into “everyone’s favorite game.”
Stack’em up is a whole different game, in a completely different genre. And yet, it sounds like the logical next step. Instead of one team member getting what she or he wants, everyone got to pitch in. After brainstorming for ideas, the team chose the best combination of fun and doable. The winning concept: Animals run around, fighting each other with a variety of power-ups. Hitting an opponent nets you a point. But if an opponent is hit, they are stunned. Stunned opponents can be sucked in „Kirby-style“, Suzan explains, and stacked up on top of each other, which too is worth a point. After this hostile takeover, the former opponents have to work together as a team. Even the stacked-up animal can still use its power-ups and earn points that way. The result is a free-for-all of changing alliances and quick rounds. No one ever dies or gets eliminated from the game. Everyone can play.
The actual game is just a prototype by now, but the vision is clear. Suzan is eager to explain her project in relation to titles like Overcooked and Moving Out. And she can explain the lessons learned from earlier projects. An example: With Forlorn, the team learned about the importance of “more test sessions” with external people to gain more “fresh feedback.” This time, they plan to keep a highlight on testing.
Developing a playable demo version is one of Team Godcomplex’s main goals during the Incubator. This is important for getting a clear definition of the game’s look, Suzan explains: Developing “at least a character and a power-up” to a publishable state would help a lot in communicating the game to a broader audience. Daniel wants everyone to understand “what the idea is and why it is fun.”The team brings a certain humor and realism to their work. Asked about a possible release date, Suzan immediately answers “tomorrow,” before Daniel carefully lays out that right now, about two years seem like a good bet before a possible Early Access start. It’s not more than that – plans can change. But Team Godcomplex seem like they have thought this through.
This article is part of our Games Lift Log series, in which we share peeks behind the scenes of our Games Lift Incubator program and portrait the teams that joined the incubator program this year.