It’s been nearly seven years since we started this Vice and Virtue project in mid-2009 by making a bank heist prototype, codenamed raptor, with the Source SDK. We uploaded a robber playthrough video to YouTube almost exactly six years ago, Valentine’s Day 2010:
The concept originated at our old company, a startup gamedev studio in Dallas, TX. We had just released an iOS game called Pocket Fish and were contemplating our next move. The idea was relatively straightforward: make a multiplayer bank heist / cops & robbers game. Start with a bit of Heat and Die Hard, mix in some Counter-Strike, tie it together with Left 4 Dead style campaign and story-driven elements, and of course sprinkle some Grand Theft Auto life and edge onto it to keep things fresh.
Or something like that…memory’s a bit hazy at this point, but that’s the gist of it.
We made a fully playable 4v4 SourceMod prototype (or technically more than 4v4 players, but the HUD only supported four players per team), put an installer on Bank Heist-labeled DVDs, made some brochures with a bank blueprint and heist plan on one side and game concept details on the other side, and then proceeded to pitch the game all over place. From DICE to GDC to a pretty swanky upper-floor conference room at Gearbox’s old offices in Plano’s Bank of America building, we were hustlin’ quite a bit to get an 18 month deal to develop our prototype into a $20 digital download game. Why a “budget title” and not a “AAA game” you may ask? Back then, our thinking was we could always scale up to a bigger game and a bigger team, at least for the sequel, but we just wanted to ensure our core smaller startup team could deliver the experience we set out to make.
Without a deal, we couldn’t justify the overhead and risk of continuing fully focused development of Vice and Virtue. *SPOILER ALERT: we didn’t get a deal.* The game was kind of shelved, but we always kept it going in some way or another, getting second winds and whatnot. But the company had to stay afloat and people had to survive, so we got deals to make other games like Texting of the Bread, The Quest to Lava Mountain, Stan Lee’s Verticus (aka Freefall 😉), and all sorts of stuff.
Eventually I convinced our old boss that in order to make VNV as we intended all we had to do was get back to our roots and make it ourselves, and get it greenlit on Steam for ease of distribution and allowance of proper evolution. As some of you know, we got it greenlit.
OK, so now what?
Last year, my company Trepid Studios (sister company of Hatchlight, and WIP site just launched too so don’t hate) signed an agreement with our old company for full creative control of Vice and Virtue to make it and release it however we want, so now it’s just a matter of doing just that. The old company is still as involved as they want, but there’s no pressure on them to do anything at this point and it’s just a fully collaborative mission going forward.
The plan is to release the fixed up prototype via Steam Early Access asap, and since it’s a SourceMod without a license to the full Source Engine yet, then the first release of VNV will most likely be free. Eventually we want to get a license for the full engine and monetize VNV in some way, but right now the plan is basically a familiar old school mod approach: Release Early, Release Often (or RERO as Fortress Forever’s Defrag once put it). Granted, “early” is what you might call a relative term at this point, but whatever you get the idea.
Are you interested in working on Vice and Virtue? Send an email to recruitment[at]viceandvirtue.net with links to portfolios, samples, and/or whatever you feel can help us get to know you and what you’re capable of doing.
For all other inquiries send an email to contact[at]viceandvirtue.net or maybe just register and post here.
This site will grow and change over time, like we might get bbPress for a WordPress-integrated forum and I’m sure eventually we’ll move past WordPress altogether, but for now this works.
Thank you for your patience.
P.S. Valve Software, if you’re reading this then feel free to get in touch about how we can license your engine.