Always a sensitive subject, clinical depression has long been the bugaboo of nearly every talented individual at one time or another. It can destroy families, end dreams, and often goes untreated. One such case of crippling depression, combined with a suicide attempt, is what was responsible for the seemingly endless delay of the hotly anticipated Trails in the Sky sequel.
Translated by the indie team of Carpe Fulgur, the “second chapter” of the game was meant to follow hot on the heels of the well-received first game, but a series of delays kept holding it back and no real concrete reason was given for the constant pushing back of the title’s launch. In a blog post published today, head of Carpe Fulgur Andrew “Space Drake” Dice went on to explain why:
- The situation a year ago, however, was far more desperate. I had fallen a little behind for unrelated reasons beginning that October, and then in December I fell fairly heavily ill and was also kept busy with holiday things and could find no time to focus on work. Not a particularly unusual story for this time of year, to be sure. But the pressure was on, and working on Trails for so long already had taken a toll. Not only was there a need to deliver the script, but a script of this size always makes one worry about how it will be received and whether you need to make any changes to it – which meant I kept fretting away at finished files.
- And so I fell further and further behind until by February and March of 2014 I was virtually paralyzed in terms of work and found myself unable to work on the script at all due to the mental weight of my shame. This was a problem, given that while the main scenario and a good deal of the “miscellaneous” NPC text was done, the towns were still not finished on my end, and the town conversations and quests comprise a fair bit of the meat of the game, and formatting problems had also arisen between the standards and tools CF was used to and the ones XSEED and Falcom used, which simply added another worry on top of everything.
- Needless to say, the messages from XSEED got more than a little stern as time went on – to them it must have appeared as though I was simply being astoundingly lazy or had simply abandoned the project outright, since I had of course not shared a word of these “personal” troubles with them, aside from attributing the delays to “personal troubles” in the absolute vaguest of senses. And, of course, I hadn’t told Robin about any of this either – it was a personal failing and clearly I had to deal with it myself.
- And so, in March, the issue came to a head. An email came in from XSEED which was particularly (if understandably) cross about the seemingly pointless delays, and, at least when I first read it, raised the spectre of CF being removed from the project. Even more importantly, however, it was sent to Robin as well as myself – I had previously been the only point of contact on the project. So needless to say, Robin was also exceptionally, and understandably, angry with me for apparently being pointlessly lazy.
- And that was the snapping point. That was it, I thought. I had ruined everything, we were going to be removed from the project, my reputation was shamed forever, I had lost the respect of one of the people who matters to me most in life, and now the only option left to me was to die.
The post is quite long, and may provoke strong feelings in those who have suffered from similar demons themselves. As for my thoughts on the matter, after enjoying the work Carpe Fulgur and Dice have done on Recettear and Fortune Summoners, I sincerely hope he recovers from this and finds some way to manage it. Health is more important than career, although I know many of us driven types have a hard time convincing ourselves of that.