Buckle up for today’s anniversary devblog!
It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on this game since 2017, but five years later and here we are! Over the years, The Company has grown and evolved into something much larger than I ever could have imagined, and it’s crazy to think that the finish line is actually in sight. Before we get to that, though, I wanted to take a minute to look back on how far things have come since then.
Back in the mid 2010’s I stumbled into the world of erotic literature. Sure, it’s been around since the dawn of time, but as someone who’s not naturally much of a reader it never particularly piqued my interest. Restructures at my job put me in a position where I ended up having a good amount of downtime, and since I couldn’t sit around playing games or looking at porn on my phone in the office, I found the next best thing through sites like Nifty and ASSTR. It was through these sites that I eventually stumbled across Wandrer’s work and became fascinated by his stories. His ideas of mental and physical transformation were creative and provocative, and none stood out to me more than those set in the universe of The Company. Actually, for my fellow old millennials, reading his stories sent me back to the several months of my childhood that I was obsessed with The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek, which would definitely inform my career trajectory moving forward.
Through hopping from one story repository to another, I’d eventually come across TF Game Site and discover HTML, text-based interactive fiction, specifically through FreeCities and Perverted Education. The best part? These games are all fairly discreet, mostly text, and fully functional on mobile devices! These kinds of games would be a new focus of mine for a while, it would be through my failure to find that “perfect” game, plus my lifelong interest in development, that would lead me to seek permission from Wandrer and create my own game taking inspiration (and name) from his universe.
I uploaded my first build of The Company to TFGS at the end of July in 2017, thoroughly expecting to wake up to it getting totally eviscerated by the community. It contained the game’s intro, basic character creation, your first meetings with Sophie and a supply of MCS1 serums, and the first weekend with your family. The game ended on Monday, and the basic work loop wouldn’t be added until the 0.2 update shortly after. To my surprise, my little demo was very well received and the rest is history!
This has been a massive learning experience for me, as a developer, a writer, a programmer, a project manager, and a leader, and I’m still learning! Becoming a better coder and embracing better business practices is a constant endeavor, and learning how to present myself when addressing sensitive if not controversial topics with the community has been something I’ve really had to better myself for.
At the end of the day, I never would have put as much effort into maintaining this project as I have if not for the continued interest and feedback from the community, and for that I am truly grateful.
Now… all that being said… There are definitely things that I’d handle differently given the chance…
My biggest regret with The Company is really a product of how this project started as a hobby before quickly blowing up, and that’s a lack of any decent planning. The early days of development were held together by sticky notes and Google docs, and it wouldn’t be until the last couple years that development planning has really been locked in. The lack of a GDD resulted in a lot of decisions being made on the fly for little reason other than it sounded cool, a lack of character and location documents made bringing in outside help extremely cumbersome, and even things like early artwork implementation was handled exceptionally poorly.
Features like room exploration and wardrobe management were never meant to be implemented and were never really fleshed out as a result. Meanwhile, systems such as character stats and interactive sex scenes never received a clear strategy, and their purpose and functionality has fluctuated more than I’m comfortable with.
Then there’s the cast. No, not the “casting”, I’m pretty happy with that for the most part, but rather the scope of the game’s cast and their associated content. In hindsight, assuming the cast stayed the same size, I should have focused on characters one at a time, allowing undeveloped characters to “exist” in the world, much like the mall clerks, and fleshed them out sequentially. Moving forward with future projects, more on that later, I intend to lower the character count pretty significantly so as to give each character a lot more attention and depth.
Thinking about it, The Company could almost exist focused solely on Ava, Dakota, and Sophie as main characters, with others brought in for specific scenes as needed. That said, this existence would be purely mechanical, and I don’t think we’d be able to tell the same story without Penny, Diana, Tasha, John and the rest. It’s the kind of thing that warrants better planning for the future, and comes with experience. There’s an absolute goldmine of content for these characters, but due to its nature we’ll have to make due with deep surface scratches… at least for this game!
Update 5.1 released just recently and Update 5.2 is already in development. This update will be the final home-focused content update and will feature Ava’s “Maniacal Matriarch” MCSX ending! This will be a darker ending than others seen so far, and players should very much expect this one to be a hard “ending”. Something to keep in mind for those who prefer Free Play! Update 5.2 will also include the usual host of bug fixes and tightening up whatever content we can before release.
Additionally, a new Artwork Demo is currently in the works and should be releasing, well, today! Unlike the first demo, this and future demos will be timed backer exclusives. When Artwork Demo 3 releases in September, we’ll make Artwork Demo 2 available to the public, and so on. This update will open up a bit more content, and add the first pass at the new paper doll. While it will be locked to the default outfits, players will get an idea of what to expect. Additionally, expect to start seeing more spicy artwork drop in this demo!
After Update 5.2 releases, we’ll be shifting gears and turning our attention to Tasha and Diana. Both characters will likely get 2-3 updates before being deemed “complete”, and the character to get priority treatment will be voted on by the community next week! Don’t miss your chance to help decide which of these characters gets updated first!
Tasha’s path will allow players to cultivate her “innocent” nature to wonderful (and lewd) effect, or you can eschew serums altogether and romance her naturally. Players will be able to conclude Tasha’s path at the end of the update cycle, and depending on choices made there’s a chance Tasha will walk away from it all a changed woman.
Diana’s path will be a little darker as players push her to embrace her sadistic side, adding proper bondage events to the game. Alternatively, you can help her discover her joy of submitting, taming the older woman and molding her into the perfect pet. Either way, it’s going to be a saucy adventure with everyone’s favorite records keeper!
Once the votes are tallied, we’ll be announcing the winner during our Discord AMA session, scheduled for Saturday, August 13th at 7:00pm EST! Mark your calendars, not that we won’t constantly be reminding you, as it’s going to be a great time! Haseo and I will have some new announcements to share with the community, followed by an open floor for questions from all of you. Additionally, tomorrow we’ll be opening a submission form to send your AMA questions prior to the live event. I won’t see them until that night, so feel free to have fun!
Whether it’s to your delight or dismay, there are a series of updates coming out before the Chapter 5 finale drops. The objective here is to shore up all existing content so that when that final chapter concludes, we can properly close the book on this adventure.
That’s not to say there’s not a boatload of content coming down the pipe! After Tasha and Diana receive their updates, we still need to wrap up Penny’s content, as well as streamline her interactive scenes. Julia is set to receive a round of content updates as well, allowing players to finally get a bit of payback for that little incident in Chapter 2. John’s update will see him completing his transition into your lover, best friend, or harem leader depending on how you dose him, and Chanel will finally get post-transformation content as well!
The mall is set to receive an expansion, finally allowing you to interact with the store clerks in exactly the ways you’re hoping for. The pit will be getting fleshed out as well, and a number of systems will be given another look to ensure they’re providing value. Specifically, we’re looking at how dreams are handled, and how best to utilize the specialty coins and all that money you’ve been earning.
Of course that’s not to mention Chapter 5 itself. The story content itself will be shorter than other chapters, serving as a nice cap to this crazy journey. Of particular interest, however, will be the epilogues. Over the course of the 5.X series of updates, various tracking measures will be added to the game, culminating in one of several ending variations after concluding the story. While the story itself will remain fairly linear, the choices you make throughout the game will have an impact on just how things play out in the end, including any MCSX ending you may have in effect before finishing the game.
So that’s it! Soon, The Company will be listed under “Finished Games” and we can all sit around and remember the good times. Comparing playthroughs and slowly fading into obscurity…
…Ah fuck it, let’s talk about The Company 2!
Now, before I get into this, I want to emphasize just how early in development this project is. Like, Amazon only just delivered the whiteboard for this thing yesterday. That said, I think now’s the perfect time to start sharing just a little bit of information on this top secret project, and we’re going to do it in my favorite way possible… Bullet-points!
There’ll be more to share once there’s more to share! In the meantime, feel free to engage in wild speculation!
Again, I can’t possibly emphasize how much I owe to this community. If not for your continued interest, support, feedback, and asking whether or not the game has cheats, I never could have even imagined making it this far. It’s been an absolute joy to engage with all of you, and a privilege to have put out a game so many of you are as passionate about playing as I am about developing.
Here’s to the next five years!