From time to time, Gamehouse, Zylom and Blue Giraffe have proven to us that Delicious is one of the most successful, most popular and most expertly-made Time Management series of all time. With the release of the tenth game in the series, Delicious: Emily’s New Beginning – we got in touch with Sebastiaan van Waardenberg, the game designer behind the success of many Delicious games to ask about the process behind the making.
Please introduce yourself to us.
Hi, my name is Sebastiaan van Waardenberg and I’ve been designing Delicious games for about 7 years now. I became the game’s designer all the way back at Delicious: Emily’s Taste of Fame, but even before that I was responsible for the level-design of Delicious 2 and Emily’s Tea Garden. You can also list me as the one who placed that little mouse in each restaurant ;). I’m with Blue Giraffe, which is an awesome game studio in the Netherlands. Our team exists out of 2 progammers (Luc and Roel), an art director (Ruud), an animator (Raymon) and a producer (Bart). Together we create Delicious games with Gamehouse. In my daily work I design the game’s new features, work with the artists, producers and programmers and write the game’s storyline.
How do you find inspirations to develop different theme for each new installment?
Emily’s life has always been very much inspired by our own lives and the things we encounter. During Honeymoon Cruise, me and my girlfriend were talking about having children and logically Emily and Patrick were having those same talks. Now my daughter has been born and Emily has got a baby girl: “Paige”. The closer we keep Emily’s life to ours, the more authentic it feels, we can take scenes from our own lives and add them to the game. Keeping that pace also gives our players the chance to grow with Emily as a character and to see her develop.
Who is your favorite character in the Delicious franchise?
What an awfull question… That’s like picking your favorite child…
I drift mostly to the extreme characters, because anything can happen with them. Francois is amazing, he’s a great friend, very funny, but aweful at most jobs and usually brings total chaos! Angela is the opposite of Emily and that’s why she can get away with so much more, you never know what will happen when she walks into Delicious. Angela has developed a lot since Holiday Season, when she first appeared, and it will be very cool to see where her story goes. And then of course there’s the family’s newest member: “Paige”. She has so much awesome things ahead of her and is going to be such a lovely character in her own right, if you only knew ;). Most characters have a real role to play, you need Evelyn to pull on Emily, you need Edward to put things in perspective, you need Brigid to be critical, you need Antonio to keep things light and you really need Patrick to be Emily’s rock. The world of Delicious is very carefully crafted and there’s not one character I could live without.
What do you think makes Emily’s New Beginning different from the previous Delicious games?
Apart from us starting to experiment with players setting their own menu, giving the customer types more personality and trying to manage your restaurant, while taking care of a baby. It’s the game where we say goodbye to Emily as a singular entity, she is no longer the sole main character of our games. She has started a family, she became a mom, her relationship with Patrick is completely cemented and from now on the games will tell the story of her Family. It’s something very universal, the moment you have a child, your focus shifts and you are no longer just you, you are now a parent and responsible for your little family. It’s something every parent faces this with both complete happyness and a small amount of fear. I think that is what sets “new beginning” apart.
What do you think makes Delicious such a long-standing and a very successful Time Management franchise?
That one is easy, in the first place it’s the story and character. We try to improve on each game and add new gameplay, improve graphics, improve restaurants and much more, but without these characters and their rich history and future, we would have never gotten this far. Players want to see what the future holds for Emily. One player even said: “It’s strange how invested I am in this fictional character’s life” and that’s the same for me. I get to see these characters grow, just like our players. At “Taste of Fame” I couldn’t have forseen Emily marrying, let alone have a child.
The second thing that really helps is that everyone involved with Delicious is completely in love with the project, we add things in the late hours of the evening (stuff we aren’t getting paid for), because we love it and know the Delicious fans will get a kick out of it.
Which is the third and most important reason this game series can keep running, the fans. Delicious fans are the best people in the world, it’s the most varied group of people you’ve ever seen and yet they are all carrying the Delicious flag. When I have a bad day, I will go to forums and websites and read Delicious reviews (and believe me I’ve read them all) and the positivity that gives the entire team, fuels us to give these players the best game we can create.
How did you come up with fresh, new ideas that continue to please the fans?
We’ve never had a shortage of ideas. We’re currently still implementing ideas we had during the development of “Emily’s Taste of Fame”. In the studio we have a very inclusive approach to making a new game: anyone can bring ideas to the table or critique ideas that are already there. This creates an open environment, where the end product is truly something you’ve created as a team. And good ideas can and will come from any place. I’m also really addicted, it has become a problem ;), to reading players opinions and ideas. This really helps us understand what it is fans are waiting for.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when developing the game?
Time is always an issue. There is soooooooo much you want to put in a game and so little time to do it in. Our priority is always with creating an awesome game, but naturally money ( = time) always plays a role. Another challenge is the succes of the franchise. Because Delicious is so succesful, more and more people are getting involved in the choices we make, this can make the decision making process a lot harder and more tedious, but that’s a price we gladly pay for having a succesful game. And again: Good ideas can come from any place!
How long did it take you to develop the game?
On average it takes about six months of development to complete a Delicious games, but after that they’ll go through QA and Localization, which adds on top of that time. New beginning was exactly six months.
Are you planning to take the franchise to the Free-to-Play format?
Never say never, but for now we have no plans to make Delicious free-to-play. Delicious is a game about story and not about waiting for levels or buying bonusses. Again, you never know what the future will bring, but right now it’s not on the books.
Do you have any future plans or updates you like to share with our readers?
Let’s start by saying that the Delicious universe will keep on growing and Emily’s life will continue on indefinitely. As long as there are people willing to buy Delicious games, they’re going to be made!
But expect more from us (Blue Giraffe) than just the next Delicious game, because we’re hoping to create many more time-management games with engaging storylines and characters and naturally with that Delicious flair and love. We can tell you the future looks bright for time-management fans and hopefully they’re willing to move with us to new adventures!
Thank you once again for your interest in our game!