Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Source of Inspiration

The story behind this
There's a story for me to tell behind this picture you are seeing right now. There's also a story for me tell concerning my absence from posting in the Gaming Journalist Gazette. I suppose these stories will meet on the same train tracks because they both get to a single point I would like to make. I haven't been posting on the Gaming Journalist Gazette blog lately simply because of a few factors:

1) I'm ultra busy freelance writing to get paid and every minute of my time in writing counts, 2) I haven't had anything really important gaming-wise to discuss, partially because the Gaming Industry hasn't presented much of anything cool lately, and 3) My free time, whenever I can get it, matters to me as well. When I wrap up my freelance writing work, I want to have time for myself and sometimes I just can't worry about what's going on in this blog. As much as I love filling up this blog with unique content, there will be periods of time when you won't see anything new here.

To expand on my #3 factor, some of my free time for a chunk of 2014 and all of 2015 involved me writing in notebooks, filling out my own manuscript of a custom story that I wanted to write about. This custom story, a game story, was about an already existing video game franchise. Perhaps you can guess by looking at the picture which video game series I wrote about. No, it wasn't Sonic the Hedgehog, though Sanzaru Games worked on making the 3DS version of Sonic Boom.

Sly 4: Thieves In Time by Sanzaru Games
I can't reveal every single detail about what I wrote in my own custom installment in the Sly Cooper series, which was how I viewed the series would go well past Sly 4. However, I can tell you that I spent countless hours writing this story. It took me well over 1 year to finish the story, and I was as careful as I possibly could be when mapping out all the potential locations of each episode. I was also careful in which characters would be available for each episode. I think you can also guess who 4 of those characters are just by looking at the picture directly above.

Some days would be good days for me to write down my custom Sly story, while other days were very slow. I was either clicking with the story or I was having difficulty figuring out which part of the story would go where. That is the challenge a writer faces when he or she has to decide which parts of a story make the most sense. As a writer you just can't overlook certain details, but you neither want to put in too many details that will just confuse people.

As of today we have no idea what is to become of the Sly Cooper series other than what we already know. Later this year a Sly Cooper movie will come to the big screen in theaters everywhere, and it won't be (all that) canon to the main Sly game series that we have played. The Sly Cooper movie serves as a test for how much of an audience there is exactly for a raccoon thief, his merry gang and an opportunistic vixen cop who is trying to catch him.

Consider the timeline of the Sly game series. September 23, 2002 was the release of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. September 14, 2004 was the release of Sly 2: Band of Thieves. September 26, 2005 was the release of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. February 5, 2013 was the release of Sly 4: Thieves In Time. Nearly 8 years had passed between the releases of Sly 3 and Sly 4, and during that time many fans of the series had wondered what had become of the Cooper Gang.

We are now in 2016 and 3 years have already passed since Sly 4's release. When you have this much time to go back and review the storied history of a gaming franchise like Sly Cooper, any writer would eventually start brainstorming and start finding ways to piece together a custom story.

After I had finally finished writing my custom Sly Cooper story at the beginning of 2016, I sent my manuscript (4 notebooks) to the official Foster City, California headquarters of Sanzaru Games, and I wasn't expecting the kind of response that I eventually received. It was a pleasant surprise, no doubt about that.

Here is the quote from a printed paper I got back from the maker of Sly Cooper himself, Mat Kraemer.

Steven,

Thank you for sharing your writing it's great work. We have all read through these as a team and really enjoyed your work. Thank you for sharing everything with us. I wanted to send you back your material so you can keep it for yourself.

Sanzaru Games has also enclosed a couple surprise items for you and I hope you enjoy. 

Thank you very much

Mat Kraemer
Sanzaru Games 

On a Saturday afternoon I received 2 packages. 1 package had my materials returned to me, and the other package contained gifts and goodies from Sanzaru Games. I wasn't expecting to receive any gifts, but I am certainly thankful for them. I happen to be a Sonic fan, and to receive a couple Sonic the Hedgehog items was cool. I also got a metal bottle with a Sega logo on it. I also received a coffee mug that has a Sanzaru monkey logo, and lastly I got a Sanzaru T-shirt. 

The notebook that has the symbol of the Eiffel Tower is one of the notebooks I used for my manuscript, so I wanted to show that as a reference. It makes me feel good to know that my writing could have a positive impact on people, and particularly a game development team. It makes me feel good to know that I'm not as far away from getting to write a custom video game story officially than I think I am. I now have proof of someone in the Gaming Industry generally liking my work. 

This is just a reminder to blog readers here that there is a level beyond blog posting, and that's also the point I want to hit home. I am expanding my portfolio as a writer while I am away from here, so I am doing important things on the side. 

The Sly Cooper Movie (sometime in 2016)

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