looking back on Butt Quest
today we will talk about the most legendary princess game, a game that's been in development since 2014 and might never be finished: Butt Quest.
you may have some questions, like...
"princess why did you make a game called Butt Quest"
*long wistful sigh* it was a joke at first, but everyone and their kids loved it and we were young and sad and impressionable and got carried away,
"what exactly is Butt Quest?"
it's kinda like Mario or Zelda or any other puzzle-platformer-adventure, except you're a butt. the gameplay is pretty straightforward, but the challenge of controlling this awkward wobbly physics-based character makes it interesting. (or does it? more on that later.)
the story has changed a lot over the years, but it's basically this: the Wishing Stars have fallen from the sky, and you have to go find them and return them to the Celestial Beacons so everyone's wishes can come true.
travel the world, make friends, collect stars. this butt is also a magical girl, so it can use crystals to transform into different kinds of butts with elemental powers like wind, water, fire, mushroom, etc.
"please finish this bad game so i can play it"
i literally spent six years trying to do that lol
"surely you could just make a smaller version of it??"
ok so heres the interesting thing about Butt Quest: the scale is not the only problem! there are a lot of problems. Butt Quest is inherently flawed.
1. the butt is not fun to control. it looks funny when princess is doing it, but for most people it's barely playable, not in a funny way but in a boring way. no one ever completed the tutorial except for a few people who were already extremely skilled at physics-based games.
2. where to begin? there are too many concepts and mechanics, most of them aren't even good, some contradict each other, and a lot of the code doesn't work. if you trim it down, you're left with an empty shell of a game that's barely anything and doesn't seem worth saving.
"ok but the style and concepts are cute, so why don't you just rework it into a different game? maybe a game that's not about a butt"
yeah we're doing that. obviously it will take time. we're also a different person in 2020 than we were in 2014, so the style won't be exactly the same. it doesn't really matter because art is fake and everything gets recycled into something else eventually!
"how much work did you put into Butt Quest, anyway?"
it was very on-and-off. here's the timeline:
2014: basic prototypes.
2015: got wisdom teeth removed, spent two weeks in bed on painkillers making most of what is recognizable today. prepared a demo and showed it at a local event. (we met our wife there!)
2016: tried to make progress, but the game was a mess, and eventually it became so unhealthy it was physically damaging to our body. had to take a break and start making Jessica instead.
2017: designed some new characters, but it was still triggering unhealthy reactions from our body, so we focused on Jessica.
2018: Jessica was done, started working on Butt Quest again, got distracted by life and ended up making Bomb Dolls instead.
2019: started a new game, a reimagining of Butt Quest.
2020: worked on the new game, made a lot of progress, but too sick with Covid-19 to get anywhere near finishing it. currently on hiatus.
most of these phases happened in short bursts, so it wasn't too much of a loss. we probably spent more time thinking about it than working on it.
so, in the end, what is Butt Quest? vaporware? performance art? a learning experience? a testing ground for other games? a game that only exists in our collective imagination? a game that will be released in 2030 and set a new record for the longest-delayed videogame in history? (probably not. but maybe.)