Fishing Masters

The moment when we tried to create our own multiverse.

Despite the name, Fishing Masters (temporary name) was the last game that our studio tried to build before being dismissed.
The team came stronger and wiser from the experience of Magical Districts, and that when as a Creative Director I had to bring my focus on this product.

First researches, with cameo of characters from Magical District.

The initial intuition behind it was that we wanted to give the promise of exploration and adventure while keeping a fishing theme.

We started with focusing on realistic fishing, where boats and crews had to be managed. The interface itself was supposed to bring a management feeling from the point of view of a captain.

First examples of UI inspired by fishing magazines.
Sketches of the fishes and the onboarding phase.

Later down the road we decide to spin towards a hero based game. The theme was not clear yet, so we experimented with classic tribal classes but then we had the idea to give the player a totally new story. This conclusion came out by seeing how the RPG market was saturated with epic fantasy inspired characters and we didn’t want to compete even with identity of the game.

That’s why I came up with the Art director with the idea of using portals and multiverse. The possibility to connect different worlds and play with themes which were not supposed to fit together.

Experiments with the portals and with temporary characters.
Character design of the 8 main classes for the game.

The idea itself was not easy to visualise but after the designers helped us to create the stats and the roles for each class, we managed to give a different theme and direction for each character.

Playing with modern clothing, vikings, steampunk, magical students, cyborgs, ninjas and so on. In my mind this trick would have allowed us to remove the classic bias of the classes by making them unique in their own way (for example the healers would have look also aggressive with the steampunk theme).

I took a strong inspiration from Chrono Trigger and Live A Live which were bringing together characters from different eras and locations.

Each class of course was designed with a specific weapon to be able to fight coordinate and not overlap with each others(DPS, TANK, HEALER in Ranged and Melee positions).

Along with the heroes, I started to envision the different worlds inside the portals. giving us the chance to visit regular beaches, magical forests, post apocalyptic worlds or even lands of giants. While enriching those environments there were the enemies which had a very strong and appealing personalities.
Also in this case the strategy was to take advantage of the multiverse to be able to pick the right environments based on the Live Events running or even the trends on movies and tv series.

Concept of mobs and bosses.

Thinking about the vision in the long run, means that you need to foresee not the current market but the one at your release date.

While the team was doing an outstanding job on creating the system and producing the assets. I was preparing in advance the big picture, the vision that would have made sense in the long run.

Who are our heroes? Why they are hunting creatures? Why those creatures are violent? What’s the world and the situation the live in? And last but not least, why the player should care about them?

I ended up visualising that the heroes are the players, which paved the path for the future to have a customisation system, from avatars to skins of the characters. You played as a new recruit of an organisation called “Drifters” (which would have been later a candidate for the official title of the game). The worlds were historically shattered through an entity called the Celestial Whale and as a Drifter you had the task to keep the water safe between the worlds, while chasing this entity.
This plot was designed to fit inside various Limited Time Events and the possibility to experiment various worlds, to not become too obsolete with one theme.
In the long run we would have placed inside the mechanics more narrative of the world, like the headquarter Skyward Island, the founders of the Drifters who created the different fighting styles and classes, and various characters who would have filled the world as hosts for various features (Nanami the tinker, Kerosuke the blacksmith and Argo the mascot).

Drifters exploring the post apocalyptic world.
Example of a player Journey and its various phases.

The next step was creating the player journey, with a focus on the emotional rollercoaster that we wanted to provide, which later was defined by the Game Design department which found the proper features and balancing.

I had to envision every emotional trigger, the reasons behind to be able to provide enough information for the design team to pick and craft the correct mechanics.

Once the plan has been paved down, we planned every step of the production phase, giving starting the long process which brought us to the technical launch and a couple of updates.

Unfortunately also this project had to be stopped for reasons not related to the performance of neither the product or the team, but just a company strategy. In the end I believe that this experience validated that our process has been refined in a proper way and given the right time we might have been able to deliver an interesting game.