Where the Bees Make Honey
Brendan Derry, Business & Tech Editor
Behrend Digital Media Arts and Technology student Brian Wilson has announced the expected March release of his new game Where the Bees Make Honey. In this artistic puzzle game, the story focuses on a girl named Sunny where the gameplay revolves around her reflections on childhood adventures. This solo developed story has gathered quite a bit of popularity based on its artwork alone but Wilson explained that it wasn’t easy getting to this point.
The game begins in the first person perspective as the player, viewing the world as Sunny, works her normal office job. The story then moves to a young Sunny in her bee costume adventuring through the world through her own mind and living those experiences again. As Brian has said, it is a puzzle game at its core but it is meant as the platform with which he tells a story. It consists of levels where the player must change perspectives of the world to solve problems and gather honeycombs. In between these levels however, the story is told and the changing scenery adds a level of artwork to be appreciated within each puzzle. If the game is as entertaining to play as it is aesthetically appealing, Brian should have no problem selling Where the Bees Make Honey.
In my conversation with Brian, he explained the process of creating a video game and having it published. A complicated matter on its own grows even more difficult when you’re also a full time student. His work on the game began at the start of 2017 and is now complete. Brian talked about the difficulties associated with time management as this project did not really have a deadline. The struggle between going to class, studying, and putting time into the game development was a struggle and had Brian working until around three in the morning during the week just to ensure it would be finished in a timely manner. Being a solo developer, Brian found the motivation to work on the game by envisioning the final project and thinking that if he did not continue working, it would eventually be lost altogether and never be completed. His take on this was that “You always just want more time.” His experience comes from classes in the Community College of Allegheny County’s video game development program. Using these skills he was able to create a product that a small game publisher based in Erie called Whitethorn Digital. Signing on with a publisher gave Brian the ability to sell his game for major consoles instead of solely on PC. He explained what a massive leap this was as those are much more profitable markets than using a platform like Steam on PC that is oversaturated with indie games. Brian expects that making use of other major platforms will allow him to get his game out to a much wider audience and create revenues that he hopes will allow him to create his next game.
One major aspect of creating a product is marketing. For Where the Bees Make Honey, Brian took to social media as his primary method of getting the name out there while also branching into a number of different media sources. He was invited to Microsoft headquarters to showcase his game at the PAX festival which is built around gaming culture. Also, the major entertainment website GameSpot reviewed the game calling it “absolutely gorgeous” for its dreamy ethereal atmosphere as you journey through Sunny’s world and the different environments Brian has created to represent the grace period between adventuring as a child and becoming a working adult. Major media reviews really drive sales and the exposure was well worth it according to Brian. He was also able to make an appearance at the E3 convention in Los Angeles to debut his game to the many attendees looking for new and exciting stories. There is a Kickstarter for the project that Brian says will be put directly towards marketing for the game as advertising is a rather expensive process. All of this work has led to the publishing of Where the Bees Make Honey and hopefully a receptive audience supports the game and allows Brian to continue developing gameplay to accompany the captivating stories he hopes to tell.
Brian says that he will continue to make games under his company’s name, Wakefield Interactive and wants to use the profits to come from Where the Bees Make Honey to do so. He said that he has more game ideas but that it is a matter of time management while still in school. The game will be available early next year for an expected ten dollars on Steam for PC and consoles to be announced in the near future. For aspiring creators, take Brian’s story as a lesson that you can make your visions into reality but it requires risk and a whole lot of work.