City of Steam: Resting, Not Retiring
Before anything else, I think it's important for me to say thank you to everyone who has supported Mechanist Games and City of Steam over the years. Before I put pen to paper, the World Machine was just a dream – and as City of Steam came to life, we were all excited and proud to share a growing world with the community.
It was a beautiful experience, but could also be heart-breaking at times. As both the Mechanist team and our fans discovered, the business of survival in a competitive marketplace could often get in the way of realizing this world to the fullest.
But even if the execution didn't always match our vision, we believe it would be a tragic waste of many brilliant people’s blood, sweat and tears if this world concept was retired for good. We really respect all the dedicated work that writers, artists, programmers, designers and others did for City of Steam, no matter how much the dream changed along the way.
City of Steam definitely deserves a second chance, a breath of new life, a fair go. At times, the core crew still daydreams of bringing a sequel to life, updated and shiny and new, with none of the quirks or flaws of the original. It makes us ask ourselves many questions…
• What kind of game (RPG, MMO, Adventure, RTS, MOBA, etc) would make City of Steam’s return possible in the current market environment?
• How could the epic scope of City of Steam be boiled down elegantly to bring it up to date with high-fidelity visuals and audio?
• How could we make our take on Steampunk appeal to a wider audience without, well… killing all the things that the niche audience loves about it?
• Is that even possible without all of the original team, god bless them… and where would new talent step in to innovate and make their mark?
• And what about the browser? Since Unity and Chrome won’t play nice anymore, or even continue support for older versions, what kind of technology should a sequel use?
City of Steam certainly isn’t retired, but we'll need time to reflect on these things. A sequel would have to do justice to the world in a way that honors the original, addresses as many critiques and quirks as possible, and improves or innovates at the same time. It would also have to be good enough to make up for the shortcomings of the original – stuff that no one was really happy with. Rushing into such a massive commitment would be foolish, and would risk destroying the goodwill that still exists for the game.
To sum it all up, City of Steam basically founded Mechanist Games. It’s the flagship product, our legacy – heck, it's even in our mascot. We love this game. Revisiting it would be an incredible opportunity, and that's why when we do return to the World Machine with a sequel or spinoff, we'll do it right – however long it takes.
In the meantime, we will keep it alive as much as possible by drawing inspiration from City of Steam in our future game projects: character cameos, environment designs, crossover lore, and other tributes. Even as we explore new worlds, Nexus, City of Steam, and the characters that made Mechanist will still always be there when we need them. So as we look toward whatever the future brings, we give you Heroes of Skyrealm, and say "see you soon" to our dear City of Steam.