When I released the original Stanley Parable on Moddb, this was the only description I gave to accompany it:
Other than that and a single short trailer, I literally said nothing about the details of the game in any sort of official marketing capacity. And somehow that worked! A lot of press picked up the story and either filled in their own details or said nothing and encouraged readers to discover it for themselves.
But...I'm concerned. I don't think that's going to fly with the Stanley Parable remake, since we'll be charging actual money for it. This is not a new concern, we've been thinking about it a lot, and we have a few surprises that we're saving for closer to launch to help promote the game.
That might be a ways off though, and I'm trying to figure out how we can continue to talk about the game now, to engage the fanbase we do have and continue to let you know how cool we think this game is! The problem is, saying almost anything about the game itself might spoil your actual experience playing it. The images on the Greenlight page were vetted pretty carefully to make sure they looked interesting without spoiling many of the more interesting parts of the game. We want this experience to be fresh, a complete and total surprise on day 1. And it's cool that people have really responded to that approach! But there are many people still who have never heard of the game or have no idea why it's interesting.
- They're pretty time consuming to make and so ultimately we won't be able to make more than a handful or so of them in the long run
- They avoid a direct conversation about what the game actually is
This second point is emblematic of a larger problem, which is that I (as creator) want to be able to speak more directly to you (a potential fan) about what the hell we're actually doing here! Because we're doing such cool stuff, it feels like a shame not to talk about it more! And yet...that's not really an option since what makes those things cool is how you'll be surprised by them when you at last do encounter them. I suppose partly I'm trying to mitigate this problem by writing regularly on this blog about me and some broad development details, just to convey that there is actually a person behind the curtain doing something, but even that is really only compelling if you were already interested in the game in the first place. I doubt anyone read my post on learning guitar and thought to themselves "wow! I really need to get the stanley parable!"
I want to be more involved with the community but I don't want it to come off as cheap, like running polls on which famous actor you'd most like to play the Narrator in the Stanley film adaptation (I don't need to run a poll, you all already constantly tell me it's Morgan Freeman). But I also don't want to ruin the game by getting too eager and posting spoilers. So it looks like the best course of action is to stick with the trailers and a few other to-be-revealed things leading up to the game's release. And of course I'll be writing here whenever it feels appropriate.
I relate all of this to you to let you know that if it ever feels like we're not being super open about development, that's not at all our intention! We're simply trying to navigate a very tricky relationship between our work and our community. If you have any other thoughts for how we could talk more about the game without ruining it, or what would help you to feel more involved, I'd 100% open to hearing it. If you feel we've been leaving something crucial out of our discussions of the game that you'd need in order to connect with it more while it's still in development (something other than specific details of what's in the game), please tell me. I'm not always sure where to draw the line between our development and direct communication with all of you. We're very fortunate to have people that have been as generally receptive as you have all been, and I cannot possibly express how grateful I am for that! I look forward to letting the Narrator out of his cage a bit more in the months to come.