FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Spokane, WA - March 9, 2009 - You’ve heard the jokes about 30-something computer geeks living in their mother’s basement. You imagine empty soda cans, pizza boxes and candy wrappers surrounding a blurry eyed gamer up until 4am playing the latest PC release, their life going nowhere.
In the winter of 2008, Chance Miller and Jillian Fontaine were two self-proclaimed computer geeks living in his mother’s basement in Washington state. But instead of being surrounded by junk food and staying up late playing games, they were creating one.
It started almost a year earlier, in a tiny apartment in Los Angeles, CA. Chance and Jillian are not just game development partners, they are partners in life. Married since age 21, their biggest shared interests were Hollywood, computers and video games. They spent their adult life working in the entertainment industry in L.A. and spent their free time learning computer programs and playing video games.
In late 2007, the Writer’s Strike closed down most productions and nearly crushed them financially, but they got through the tough times. Their independent production company, E.V.E: Electronic Visual Elements, was finishing up a new web series.
“We had a great little indie web series that we were producing on a shoestring budget.” Jillian explains.“Our goal was to finish up two seasons and then sell the concept to a studio as a series. Unfortunately, we ran out of money and the project was never fully completed.”
Once the Writer’s Strike ended in early 2008, production did not come back as expected. The studios were now concerned with a possible Screen Actors Guild strike and work in the industry was at a virtual standstill.
“At this point, we had to decide what we could do to earn our own living. To utilize our skills in a way that we could create a project that would not rely on an employer paying our bills, but our own product.” Chance says.
The pair had several concepts for indie productions, but no funds for projects involving live actors, locations, sets, costumes, props, etc.“We eventually decided that we needed to do something that would involve just our computers and our own talents.” Chance says.
“We came up with many options ranging from a full-length machinima movie to several video game concepts.” Jillian adds.“Since we have always been avid game players and we had advanced computer&graphics skills, we figured that a video game would be our best bet. The day we started development on our first game was a turning point for us. We went from E.V.E the indie production company, to E.V.E the game development company.”
Flash forward one year, 1200 miles from home and thousands of hours of work. The team found themselves living in his mother’s basement during a record-breaking winter storm in Spokane, Washington and a completed PC game titled”Mob Ties Tokyo”.
The fact that the entire game was created by two people with a very small budget and completed within a year is a sign to other indie game makers that it can be done.“Both of us worked nearly 12 hours a day, 7 days a week on this for a year, doing the jobs of what large game companies would have had many different departments working on.” Jillian says.
“I think this is the hardest project we have ever worked on, but the most gratifying”, Chance adds.“You start with a concept and a blank computer screen, then you move on to storyline, in-game environment art, programming, voice casting, video&music editing and more. Eventually when the production work is done, you begin the marketing stages which includes creating a website, game trailer, screenshots, press releases, etc. It’s a very long process, but when it’s over, you have an exciting game world that you immerse yourself in and every once in awhile, you realize, wow….I made this.”
The game takes the player to many different locations in modern-day Tokyo and includes realistic Japanese elements that can be seen throughout the game in the form of art, music and authentic Kanji symbols.“We did a lot of research into the Japanese culture.” Chance says.“We wanted to make sure that the player didn’t just feel like they are playing a game set in Japan, but that they are actually in Japan.”
“If you can create a place where the player feels immersed in the game world, in a place that they don’t want to leave when the game ends, then that is a job well done in my opinion.” Jillian adds.
Mob Ties Tokyo is the first installment of a planned series of first person shooter games taking place in the world of underground crime. As the player, you are a renowned hit man summonsed to Japan by an ex-mob boss who is trying to go legit while battling a triad of street gangs. The game promises lots of action, an immersive storyline, character interaction and top quality game play.
Mob Ties Tokyo was launched in March 2009 online at the game’s website. Since the pair doesn’t have the budget that the big game companies do to advertise they have relied on the power of the internet.“In today’s world, the web is an indie game developer’s best friend. Since day one of the games release, the downloads have exceeded our expectations.” Chance says.
“Positive word of mouth from fellow gamers is viral, it spreads fast and it’s golden.” Jillian adds.
Mob Ties Tokyo is available online at www.MobTiesGame.com
E.V.E: Electronic Visual Elements is a privately owned, independent game development and digital video studio currently based in North America and founded in 2005. E.V.E’s games are dedicated to immersive story archs, innovative character interaction and top quality game play.
Jillian Fontaine&Chance Miller, Developers
E.V.E: Electronic Visual Elements