How did it all begin? Where did we pick up the idea for Odysseus, and how did it develop into the project? Let’s look back for insights on what we have done so far and where we are heading from here.
The idea for Odysseus was born during the Finnish larp writer convention X-Con in November of 2016. I and our co-producer Sanna decided that it would be cool to create a game that would take place in the setting of the episode “33” of Battlestar Galactica.
“33” is the very first episode of the new series, in which the survivor fleet is escaping their still somewhat unknown enemy by jumping from one location to another whenever the enemy fleet reaches them. Due to other engagements, the project stayed dormant for almost a year before we had time to start putting the pieces together.
We invited our third co-producer Antti to join the project and had a few discussions about our goals and vision. In those meetings, we decided that we wanted to set the game into a universe of our own design and to keep BSG only as a source for inspiration and ideas. There were several reasons for this. Immaterial rights, of course, but also the freedom to create what we want without being too tied to the original lore.
Also, there had already been larps taking place in the BSG universe, so we didn’t want to make something too much alike – though there will of course be some common elements between the games. We also decided to pick up ideas and themes from few other sci-fi series, Stargate Universe being the one most worth mentioning. There will be no wormholes in our game, but we aim to have land missions which have a strong resemblance to Stargate missions.
Early on, we also decided that we want to make the game an international event. There have been only a few international games held in Finland, and we wanted to change the situation. Our first design choice was to run the game at least twice – once in Finnish for local players, and once in English as an international run. Every year, more and more Finnish players go abroad to participate in interesting larps, and we thought it was time to arrange a large (in our standards) international game in Finland as well.
We officially introduced Odysseus in X-Con 2017 and started to recruit new members to the team. We started building the world and listing ideas for technology and the overall setup, as well as designing the player experience. During spring 2018, we filled most key roles, and by now we have nearly forty people working on the project. We are happy that we have an extremely talented crew full of people who are highly motivated in creating an awesome game experience. Our first major task will be to secure the location, and we are focused on documenting our design choices and making decisions on the systems we plan to use. We are creating a clear roadmap for the upcoming year, and production documentation will be a key factor in all our production choices.
In our next blog posts, we will introduce our main organizing team as well as give you a sneak peek into our trailer footage and tell you a little bit about the systems and technology we are planning to use.
Laura, Producer of Odysseus
And so it begins! In this blog, we will tell you about our project, how we aim to achieve it, and what we will be providing for our players.
Odysseus is an ambitious project from a talented team that has decades of combined experience in creating memorable larps in Finland. There have not been that many international games in Finland, but we aim to change that!
While in Finland we lack truly fancy locations such as castles, we have a highly unique larp culture. Our larps have very strong narratives and much more pre-written content than most larp cultures. For example, in Finnish games, characters tend to arrive fully fleshed and written into the game narrative, with complex networks of predefined character relationships. A lot of effort tends to be spent on creating interesting characters with meaningful backstories, relationships, and ranges of plots to play throughout the larp. Of course there are similar larps in other countries, but since this method is used in the vast majority of Finnish larps, we have decided to call it “Finnish style larp.”
In Odysseus, we want to bring this story and character driven experience to the international audience. We want to challenge ourselves by creating a visually impressive experience and creating (and testing!) technology that gives our players the genuine feeling of piloting - and riding - a starship. While we want to create thrilling and exciting action scenes, we also want to give the players time and space to live and breathe their characters - all the difficult choices, losses, and joys of their lives.
Our biggest challenge is securing the perfect location and turning it into a real starship our players can fully immerse in. Another challenge is to create the network of technology that supports the experience. We will update our progress regularly in this blog to provide transparency and to give insights (that might help others) on how we tackle these challenges. We also want to keep everyone posted on how things are moving forward and to share our enthusiasm for the project.
We are firm believers in that the best player experiences are created when the game masters and players share a vision on their joint creation. A larp is always a combination of the vision of those who created the game and those who take part in it. If those visions are far apart, someone (or everyone) will be disappointed. Thus we will make the best effort to share our vision in a comprehensive way - and when our work is done, just sit back and watch our players do the magic! In the upcoming posts, we will be introducing our team members as well as different parts of the project; location, systems, props, fiction, character design - and many other. We hope you will join us on the journey!
Producer of Odysseus