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July 2022

August 2022

New Content! An Obsession with Clams Comes through in ‘Family Guy,' 'Sweet Escapes,' and 'Animal Island'

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The not-so-annual Clam Fest returns to Quahog!

By Dexter Woltman

An all-new celebration is coming to a shore near you! Join the residents of Quahog in celebrating Clam Fest, a brand-new, time-limited event in Jam City’s Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. Written in collaboration with the writers of the hit TV show, Brunette Games brings plenty of mollusk-themed shenanigans to the wacky world of Family Guy that fans have grown to love. 

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Inspired by a classic episode from the TV show, the event’s storyline follows Mayor Wild West as he runs a themed festival called Clam Fest to boost the town’s revenue. Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff has always used golden clams as a means of currency in the game, but now we bring them to the forefront.

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Are you tired of the word ‘clam’ yet? I’m not!

With support from the talented team at Brunette Games, I designed this new event for Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. But what not everyone may know is that I’ve been waiting to pitch this event for years, and it all goes back to a unique—if not outright weird—obsession: clams!

Storytelling has always been a passion of mine, and when I was a kid, clams stood out to me for their peculiar form. It was fascinating for me to think a shell could be alive. I wrote short stories titled “Planet of the Clams” and created a 12-part series of animations. These videos followed the clams’ inevitable takeover of the world and included lovable favorites (of mine) such as the Clampocalypse and infamous Clamzilla. Trust me; if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s making clam puns.

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These childhood stories acted as a springboard for what would eventually lead to a career in narrative design. They helped me realize how much I enjoyed writing stories with exciting worlds and engaging characters. Growing up, I drew comics, made games, and wrote books. It all led me to a major in scriptwriting at Webster University, where I met the one-and-only Lisa Brunette—later, I joined Brunette Games.

Since entering the game-writing industry, my passion for clams hasn’t waned. In fact, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff isn’t the only title where I've featured clam-related storylines! To start, there’s Redemption Games’ Sweet Escapes, where the lovable cast of characters deals with a clam infestation during the second season.

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Joy faces the giant clam in Sweet Escapes!

The clams pop up all across Dessert Island, and the bunny Joy and her friends must find a way to deal with them before they take over their sweet shops! Normally, clams aren’t a key interest for target demographics, but Sweet Escapes drives it home with its quirky antics guiding the way. It became a beloved storyline in the second season, and received positive feedback from players!

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Redemption Games supports the clam storyline with incredible world design. They created unique clam assets to scatter around the island, including some which players could interact with by tapping on them.

But the fun doesn’t end there! When designing the storyline for Gear Inc.’s Animal Island, we featured Shelly, a soft-spoken clam. Over the course of the game, she takes a central role in protecting the island from a swarm of locusts.

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With Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, Sweet Escapes, and Animal Island, I had exciting opportunities to incorporate my unique interests into my professional work. Continue following Brunette Games, and you’ll be sure to find the occasional clam reference or two. And check out Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff’s Clam Fest! The time-limited event runs through August 24th, 2022.

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You can download Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

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Brunette Games Founder Featured in Roundup of St. Louis Women Entrepreneurs

 

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Brunette Games Founder Lisa Brunette was recently interviewed by the Mid County Chamber of Commerce as part of a roundup of women entrepreneurs and business owners. We’re proud to be members of the Chamber, and Lisa’s thrilled to be included in the roundup, which you can read in its entirety over at the Chamber Chatter newsletter.

But since there wasn’t space for Lisa’s full interview, we’ll include the rest here.

Q: If you could speak to a younger you, what advice would you give her? 

Ha, ha, I know this sounds impossible, but someday your talent as a writer will actually provide you with a decent income.

Q: If the state of your business was a season (winter, spring, summer, fall), which season would it be and why? 

The winter of our discontent! We experienced an unparalleled boom during the COVID lockdowns when everyone was stuck at home, looking for something to do. Unfortunately, decision-makers are comparing this year to that anomaly instead of looking at numbers from pre-COVID, which would give them a much more accurate yardstick. 

Q: Anything else you'd like to say? 

Brunette Games and Brunette Gardens are the third and fourth companies I've owned, so I guess that makes me a serial entrepreneur. Even when I've worked for other companies, I'm the person who builds a team or department from scratch or steps in to "fix" a troubled program! I used to think of this tendency as a burden, but now I see it's a blessing.




Brunette Games' Summer Master Class: The Strange, the Tone, and the Bountiful

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Twice each year, the Brunette Games staff dedicates a few days to in-person training and workshops to hone our skills. This summer, the team organized and conducted workshops on various topics, including client communications, story development, and an analysis of trends in the casual game space. Here's a snapshot of what went down.

Dexter Woltman, Writer | Designer III and Brunette Games' resident funny man, prepared a workshop on writing high-level outlines and used the most recent season of Netflix's Stranger Things as his case study.

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Official artwork for Netflix's hit series, Stranger Things.

This workshop—aside from appealing to our team's mutual love and appreciation for the series—allowed us to practice writing succinct summaries of what each episode of the season covered, something that is especially useful when planning long-term narrative arcs for our clients. We often mirror TV shows for games as well, crafting arcs across multiple seasons of content.

Writer | Designers II, Jenna Hume and Sara Hardin, co-presented a workshop about developing tone and writing high-impact dialogue. This is an especially important practice when writing about heavier topics, particularly because the space for dialogue is often very limited in mobile games. They talked about how to establish more challenging tones for various situations, as well as the differences between tone and voice.

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A slide from Jenna and Sara's presentation on tone and high-impact dialogue.

As part of Sara's workshop on effective line editing, the team suggested tweaks to the bio she wrote in 2018 for her Dungeons & Dragons character. An important part of line editing is knowing what to cut and/or add to make a piece of writing more effective without eliminating the author's voice. The team practiced how to suggest changes that improve writing rather than simply change it for the sake of... well, change.

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Lisa's line edits to Sara's D&D bio.

Jenna—who's earned a reputation as a stellar pitch writer—led a workshop on how to write a game pitch that will knock a client's socks off. After presenting a few examples and explaining what gives a pitch its "wow" factor, she led the team in a pitch-writing practice. While we can't reveal too much about the results of the workshop, we don't mind saying a few exciting ideas were born that afternoon!

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One of the workshops Jenna led on writing killer game pitches.

At the end of the week, Brunette Games' Owner and CCO Lisa Brunette and Vice President Anthony Valterra took the reins. In addition to conducting our routine monthly business meeting, they presented on the differences between book and game publishing. Their cumulative experiences made for a uniquely in-depth look at both industries and the challenges (and rewards!) writers may face in each.

On the final day of workshops, we enjoyed a potluck lunch full of tasty contributions from the whole team. Some produce from Lisa and Anthony's award-winning home garden even made an appearance!

Much like a garden, Brunette Games has grown a lot in the past few years, and keeping our writing chops in tip-top shape is something we take pride in. We look forward to the chance to apply them to many exciting projects long into the future!