Hello everybody! I am Bryson Whiteman, the one and only. And I’m here to say a few words about all this Sokay business. It may seem like all this happened over night. Like I put it all together as I do Ikea furniture, spending half a day flipping pieces around trying to match them to the clearly illustrated drawings, sweating and frustrated, cursing when the drawer turns out to be upside down. I’d like to squash all these rumors and confirm to you once and for all that all this Sokay business did not happen over night. It happened over the course of many nights, as a matter of fact, and I’d like to say some words about it.
In 2002 I created the Sokay label with my good old friend Ricky Enriquez. We had just began work on a new project, a video game made in Flash. The then un-named project was meant to push our capabilities as far as possible. We saw the success of the format in games like Alien Hominid and wanted to go even further to provide an experience similar to popping that new cart you got for your birthday into your Sega Genesis. We weren’t aiming to simply make a single stage. We wanted to create a full game. With a full world. And characters that lived in the world, that weren’t just placed there arbitrarily. This project became Thugjacker, which is the first game released by Sokay.
Ricky and I had worked together on many projects over the course of several years at that point, nothing that ever came to completion. Comics and animations mostly. Thugjacker was our first game. We designed a pipeline that was adapted from a previous Flash project and just saw where it lead us. I worked with my lack of actionscript experience and kept it real, we didn’t want to lower expectations just because it was difficult. We were going to make something that we were proud of.
We released a 2 level demo of Thugjacker to the world on Thugtober 31st, 2004. A month prior to that we released a teaser animation. I was biting my nails because I had no idea how the world would react to it. The game impressed colleagues, fellow artists, but I had no idea how the general public would interpret it. I discovered soon that it was a success, all the work paid off. The release changed the direction we headed.
It wasn’t until this year that significant movement has taken place within the group. On February 27th of this year we released LUV Tank. It was a small project that I intended to jumpstart the team again. A few new members join in with David Rodriguez creating the concept and doing the character animation and the duo Trek & Ryan G contributing a soundtrack. Ricky returned to do the cinema scenes and I did the design, planning, Flash work and background art. A much different game but it retained that “Sokay Spirit”.
So what are we doing here? The point of this blog was to get out some ideas. I quickly discovered that there’s a lot more work that goes into game development than one would imagine without the firsthand experience. It’s great to think of great ideas for the “ultimate game” but it’s incredibly difficult to fill in the gaps of your idea to make it a cohesive experience. And it’s even more difficult to make it a fun and enjoyable to a wide array of people. I look at a lot of these principles as common sense because these are qualities that I’ve absorbed from a lifetime of game experience. I’m also keen with expressing these ideals as I’m trained as an artist. It’s great that we have this internet as a vast resource and our technology is all peachy these days so anybody with a bit of spare time and a bit of patience can bust out a game in Flash and show it to the world. There’s a lot of talented people out there. But for one reason or another they don’t seem to “get it” or maybe don’t have the determination to “make it happen”, when it comes to making quality work. I thought things were kind of bad a couple years ago when we released Thugjacker but it seems that things have grown even more diluted. More people are out there making stuff but they’re making average games. But if you dig, you just may find gold. And you will. I still think our work is “buried treasure” and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Sometimes it takes time for people to notice brilliance.
You might consider this blog an excercise in arrogance. There’s no problem with that. If you disagree, call us on our bullshit and fight back. We want to bring about discussion of serious topics about a medium that often is not taken very seriously. Sometimes you have to fight for the truth, even if it’s your own.
That’s all for now, thanks for reading! I know that fool Chris types too much but we want to make this a varied experience. I don’t care to get as serious as Chris a lot of the time so we’ll see how things turn out.