Review Fix chats with Burak Tezateser, founder and designer, Nowhere Studios, who discusses his new game, Circadian City.
About Circadian City:
Circadian City, the 24/7 life simulation about building relationships in the day and developing personality in surreal dreams at night, has entered Steam Early Access for Windows PC.
Publisher Way Down Deep and developer Nowhere Studios invite everyone to move to the big city. Cultivate friendships and romances, then keep them alive by spending time together over shared hobbies from reading to collecting retro game consoles.
At the end of each day, a vivid dreamscape awaits, shaped by the day’s events. Farm in the peaceful area near the surface or delve deep into the wildlands to gather crafting materials, then create items to develop your personality, making each day better than the last.
Review Fix: How was this game born?
Burak Tezateser: The game idea first came from Way Down Deep. A guy having sleep problems due to stress. After countless iterations this idea became Circadian City. At first, this was thought as a linear narrative game.
Review Fix: What is your role in the game?
Tezateser: As in many other life sims, the game doesn’t give you a role. It’s up to you to find your role in that society and how you want to improve your character, make friendships, develop skills and shape your life.
Review Fix: What has development been like?
Tezateser: The development process has been very iterative. This was meant to be but we weren’t expecting to delay the Early Access date 6-7 times. A lot has been removed and a lot has been added in that process. Now we know the Early Access will be a similar experience. We already started to remove a lot of the features and UI to replace them with updated ideas and functions.
Review Fix: What makes this game special?
Tezateser: At first you would say the Dreamworld makes this game special. But if you ask me, there is no other life sim game of this extent in Early Access and the game is extremely open ended. Our community is coming up with some crazy ideas and we are able to implement them to the game within days sometimes. I believe this makes the game truly special. Being an open-ended life sim.
Review Fix: What games influenced this one the most?
Tezateser: Sims and Stardew Valley are the obvious influences of Circadian City. Anyone looking at the game for a couple of seconds can see that and we don’t think this is a bad thing. They are both great games and our idea was to make an indie life sim game in a city.
Review Fix: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Tezateser: We can’t pronounce “Circadian City” properly. Especially with our Turkish accents. We are unable :)
Review Fix: What were the major lessons learned?
Tezateser: Resolution and granularity in game design is not always a good thing. Rather, it’s usually a bad thing. You need to simplify your design to make it consistent throughout the game. This has been ignored in the beginning of the project and we paid the price. Some ideas sound really cool while brainstorming but when it comes to implement them they start seeming really complicated.
Review Fix: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Tezateser: I believe game design has been the fastest evolving area in game development during the last 20 years. Indie games might have a retro feel in them but we are very progressive in game design even way ahead of AAA games.
So as part of the game culture, it’s important to pay your respect to gameplay mechanics and looks but also it’s important to show how you iterate them.
Review Fix: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
Tezateser: My dad bought me an Atari 2600 when I was 3 years old. It was the main entertainment of many family gatherings. When I was 5, I was already the master of the games. I remember playing River Raid and the whole family cheering for me when I was beating the game for the first time as noone else could.
Review Fix: How have your previous experiences in the industry helped this game?
Tezateser: Absolutely, our first game was Monochroma and looking back at it, I can see how well we improved. Every game is a new experience.
Review Fix: How do you want this game to ultimately be remembered?
Tezateser: I want the game to be updated and playable forever. So it won’t be something to be remembered. It will be there ever-growing. That’s what I want. Players will show if this is going to be true or not.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Tezateser: There are a couple major updates coming to Circadian City which will change the way the game is being played and experienced. One of the ideas was to wait for them to release the Early Access version but I wanted to see the reactions of the community when we implement those features.
After then we will prepare the game for version 1.0 and also work on the DLC’s probably.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Tezateser: 10 days after the release of Early Access, I believe we are where we wanted to be. All the negative comments about the game are already in our development schedule and positive feedbacks surpassed our expectations for this premature state of the game. I know that the trend has shifted towards more polished games in Early Access and staying in Early Access only a few months by only making some balance changes but we are not doing that. We are actually developing this game together with the community and that’s exciting.