Storyteller is a rather novel thing, both in that it’s unlike pretty much any other game and that it offers very convenient opportunities for wordplay. The comic-book-esque mini-story creation puzzler has been in development for quite some time, and each peek offered by developer Daniel Benmergui has only increased the flow of questionable liquid from my slavering chops. I wants it, precious. I wants it. I am, then, somewhat disheartened to hear that he’s putting Storyteller on temporary hold, choosing to instead focus developmental fire on a commercial version of his free “quick RPG” Ernesto. Don’t get me wrong: it’s very good, but perhaps not quite as potential-packed as Storyteller. Fortunately, this detour is still worthwhile, not to mention (hopefully) brief.
I can’t really fault Benmergui’s reasoning. He’s been tinkering around under Storyteller’s leather-bound hood for ages, and he’s in desperate need of something different to put re-spice in his creative juices. He explained in a blog post:
“I love Storyteller, I think it’s an important game and I want it to be released soon, but I’ve been working on it for three years now and I am starting to feel creatively numb from always dealing with the same project. There are a few important things to work out before I am able to release it, so there’s no way I can rush it to completion. Storyteller still needs time and more hard work to be a great game.”
Benmergui doesn’t plan to spend an equal number of eons reforging Ernesto, though. He’s hoping this one will take three months – not another three years. After that, he’ll go right back to Storyteller. Granted, game development is kind of a minefield, so you never know what’ll actually happen.
Ernesto has its own shiny new development blog, and you can play the original version for free right here. It’s remarkably elegant and addictive, role-playing distilled down to an imagination-stoking cauldron of possibility. Also a grid. But it’s a big grid where lots of randomized things can happen/kill you. Give it a go, and watch that productive day you were so excited about melt away. Kind of like mine just did :(