The Worst Grim Reaper: Soul Mates
The Worst Grim Reaper: Soul Mates is an augmented reality music game for Bose AR in which a singing Grim Reaper writes lyrics and musical accompaniment that responds to where you are, what you do and the choices you make. Sebastian is tired of his dead-end job as a Grim Reaper and wants to pursue his dream of becoming a songwriter. Lacking inspiration (and friends), he asks you to help him with his next hit by letting him write a song about your life.
Beneath is a small backstory about my experiences while making this app with the rest of the team.
One evening, I came home late, soaked with rain. I had some unread messages on the Moon Moon Moon Discord so I started to quickly read through them. My friend from overseas, Mark Benis, said we were asked to make something for Bose & Playcrafting. I immediately responded and we started shooting ideas back and forth. A few hours later, I was still wearing my wet coat and dripping backpack with my face pressed against the screen because I hadn't taken the time to put my glasses on. Looking back, it certainly feels like the most symbolic beginning to this story that I could've wished for.
Before I continue, I want to introduce you to the amazing team we were lucky enough to have assembled for the project:
and myself (Mark Lohmann)
Everything started pretty chill. We had some time to brainstorm and flesh out a few ideas before we started building the game. Back then the concept was to make an app with music that reacts to where you're walking, how much your head was tilted etc. But then one day... I remember I was hanging up some laundry while skyping with the team when we thought of the idea to bring in a beloved character from one of our games still in development: Sebastian from The Worst Grim Reaper. This changed a lot in the game and honestly, it kept me up for a few nights because I was so excited. We were gonna make an app with a Grim Reaper who sings about your life and writes a song based on your conversations with you... how could I not be too happy to sleep?
Our first goal was to deliver a prototype of the concept. One small detail: it had to be made in one weekend, at a game jam. I live in The Netherlands and Martín lives in Argentina, so we couldn't (physically) join, but everyone else was there on-site working the prototype in New York City.
Everything went well and the prototype was well received! And so... we continued, because our next delivery date would be a few weeks later: a full game on the app store.
This is when the sprint begun. I was recording lyrics from morning till' evening. It was my role to be Sebastian's voice and I took it pretty seriously. For the first time in my life, I even had to do some voice acting. After the initial cringe, I started to really like it. I'll leave it up to you to tell us whether the music is any good, though!
While I was recording and making art for the full game, the rest of the team was working hard on their part. Roman and Martín almost broke their keyboards while coding so hard for this project, Izik produced and directed the amazing looking trailers, Laura worked faster than light when we needed nice art for the initial prototype and apparently knows everything about getting apps into the main online stores (which can be a painful process) and Mark Benis was keeping all of this together with his crazy detailed excel sheets while he continued to build his genius music system that made this interactive song structure possible.
I'm pretty sure it felt impossible at times, and in all honestly we had to scope down a few times, but I think we did it. We finished something that we really wanted to make and I think we did a good job. The deadline was intense, but we did it. I hope you'll like it.
- Mark Lohmann