SBI Newsletter #1
SBI Newsletter #1: [Title goes here!]
Hello and welcome to our inaugural issue of Friends of The Baby, created and curated by your favourite professional Babies at Sweet Baby Inc. We’re happy to have you on board—and to have you as an official Friend of The Baby. You may already know games and media but being a Friend means you get our unique lens on things, whether it’s the latest narrative design tools or which games we’re really into these days.
You may recognize me from our other social platforms, but you may not have heard me before, simply because I am a baby. True story. I’m Claude and I’m here to guide you through the recent goings-on at The Baby. Preamble done, let’s go let’s go!
State of the Baby
HELLO! And welcome to the first-ever Friends of the Baby Newsletter! We’re excited to have you!
Sweet Baby has been in operation since 2018, starting out as three of us and growing to our current team size of 16+ enormously talented folks. Together, we’ve worked on over 70 projects ranging from indie to AAA and everything in between, and we’ve got a lot more on the way. But while we’re a team focused heavily on narrative, the secondary goals of SBI have always been to bring new voices into the games conversation, to build a stronger games community, and to break down some of the walls the industry builds around us. We also want to help bring some transparency to the kinds of work we do, in a space where NDAs and secrecy can often keep new and aspiring devs in the dark. This newsletter is hopefully a step towards that.
I’m also excited for this to be a place where the team can speak about craft and creativity, show off their work (both games-related and otherwise), and just generally have fun freestyling. You’ll see a lot of writing, but you can also expect art, recipes, music and other cool stuff we’re keen to share.
So with a promise that my intros won’t always be so serious, I hope you enjoy this first issue! Thanks for signing up!
Sweet Baby Inc.
What’s going down at Baby HQ
Here we go! Time to pull back the curtains on what happens at Baby HQ. Just like you all, I’m a big fan of the Baby, but I’m puzzled by what goes on and how and where. We’re an enigma! Well, I’m here to break the silence (legally) with unprecedented access (mostly) to everything you need to know about what’s been going on at SBI these days. Let’s take a look!
Every Project Everywhere All At Once
Since this is our first newsletter, we thought what better way to get you reacquainted with who we are and what we do by showcasing all the killer projects we’ve had the honour of working on. Check out this amazing reel made by fellow Baby, Amy-Leigh Shaw. You might remember her from her blog post on how to create a great portfolio. She contains multitudes!
WATCH: [reel embed]
Announcing: South of Midnight with Compulsion Games
In case you missed it (both the official announcement at the Xbox Games Showcase and the glimpse of SoM in our reel above), we’re proud to be working alongside Compulsion Games on their latest project, South Of Midnight. This Xbox-ready beauty will be here before you know it, but in the meantime, check out this blog post by Compulsion with everything you need to know about South of Midnight and its magical American Southern Gothic world.
Must Have Rice
We’re not kidding. The office’s latest rice cooker has been getting a serious workout these days, saving many of us a trip out to local eateries (and giving new depth to the age-old ‘we have food at home’ threat that every person over the age of 2 has definitely heard before).
Lately, some of our favourite rice toppers include 3-bean beef chili, red curry with chicken, bulgogi ground beef, and black curry lentils. Personally, I couldn’t choose a favourite, and in this case, is there really a need to?
Narrative Chat – Short form [Name TBD]
- Professional opinions but in a fun, lighthearted way
- Geared towards positivity
- Things we’re vibing with and why we like them from a narrative POV
- Tools we noticed recently that we love (aka “was playing BotW and noticed XYZ, love how it brings out ABC”)
- A soft rant on ND tools/methods we’d like to see more often (aka “if i ever see a talking head again, i will scream”)
- Opportunity for 2-5 minute audio clips compiled with Baby knowledge
- Crowdsourced responses ranging from 1-5 sentences max
Narrative Chat – Long form [Name TBD]
- Similar to short form narrative chats, but more so deep-dive-y
- Can be essay style if anyone has a burning desire to write about a specific topic
- Examples include:
- Design and theory related commentary on why a thing is good
- Deep dives into what is happening in the industry and how we feel about it
- OR something like this, which allows for crowdsourced info
- “Everyone draw XYZ from memory” etc
- Pick an old game that’s been out forever and ask everyone to tell us what they think it’s about (without googling)
- Describe a game without using character names or titles etc
Across the Baby-verse
Time for a rapid-fire round-up of exciting updates, announcements, and launches from some of Sweet Baby’s wildly talented collaborators and colleagues. 😎
🔺 TRIANGLE AGENCY GOES BUMP IN THE NIGHT
Shh, did anyone hear that? It sounded like… an original tabletop role-playing game? From Sweet Baby favorite Caleb Zane Huett, and his incredible collaborators at Haunted Table Games??! Huge congratulations to Caleb and the whole HTG team for the super successful launch of the Triangle Agency campaign on Kickstarter! Do you have a taste for paranormal corporate intrigue? Do you enjoy an artisanal blend of horror and comedy atop a thoughtful emotional foundation? Do you dream of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and cultivating powerful reality-warping abilities? Wow that’s actually really specific but good news – Triangle Agency is literally made for you! For updates on Triangle Agency and all things Anomalies, give Caleb and Haunted Table proper a follow on your social platform of choice.
☀ SUNSHINE SHUFFLES ON TO X
Big shout-out to Strange Scaffold, the eclectic and prolific indie studio founded by busiest-human-in-games Xalavier Nelson Jr., for the Spring release of animal poker adventure Sunshine Shuffle on PC and Nintendo Switch! Taking cues from cult favorites like Poker Night at the Inventory, this engrossing and outrageously charming neo-noir narrative adventure comes highly recommended from the SBI crew, and packs every ounce of the wit, humor, and care we’ve come to expect from the Strange Scaffold team. Will you play a better animal-centric post-heist poker and boat decoration game with a ska soundtrack that absolutely rips this year? Gonna hit that with a confident “probably not!”
🏀 QALLING ALL QUANTUM BALLERS
Finally, let’s check in with friend-of-the-Baby and multi-talented, multidisciplinary artist extraordinaire Spencer Garland, who’s been hard at work on his upcoming killer app for Panic’s Playdate handheld, Quantum Phantom Basketball. Production on the game is nearing completion, and Spencer’s been out and about running demos for aspiring QPBallers all over the Bay Area — including a 1:1 gameplay run-through with another visionary creative, prolific director/writer/artist Guillermo Del Toro! (Hellboy DLC for QBP when? 👀) Expect exciting news on QBP from Spencer later this year.
The theme for the Newsletter’s inaugural playlist of that of american ‘80s nostalgia, specifically through the lens of hommage. As someone who had grown up in the 2000’s, all I really had for reference as to what the ‘80s were like were the popular media from that time, as well as references and hommages to it, the latter of which has taken a life of its own in recent years. They seem to reflect an idea of the ‘80s, rather than the ‘80s themselves; This reflection can range from respectful nod (Drive and Stranger Things come to mind) to campy cheesefest (such as Kung Fury and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon), and of course music has run this gamut several times over.
The music from Drive and Hotline Miami were obvious choices for this playlist – Kavinsky’s Nightcall takes first place of this playlist to set the tone, and songs by M|O|O|N, Scattle, and Perturbator are sprinkled throughout for good measure. But even songs from Max Payne, Grand Theft Auto V, and Prey (2017) find a place in this playlist, as each harken to a facet of american ‘80s that is relevant to each game (Neo-noir, Heist films, and retrofuturism respectively).
I chose this theme because of a close personal connection to this style of music. I first came across it while I was studying in university and I found that the straightforward beats and sparse lyrics were very conducive to my study sessions, so there was a significant time in my life where this genre was all I listened (and subjected my study buddies) to. Most of the songs here are lifted directly from those study playlists, and almost all of them were discovered via a movie or game tipping their hat to an ‘80s L.A. that everyone seems to want to remember: One where people wore sunglasses day and night, and the sun hung in perpetual sunset turning the sky neon colours as streetlights passed in time with the beat 😎
Baby Steps with Amy-Leigh
- Spotlight on a Baby of choice
- Excerpts from existing interviews with Amy-Leigh
- An excuse to use the cool profile art we each have!!
- Tips for job seekers, BUT not job postings
- Information on unique things to include in a portfolio
- Answering commonly asked questions (“how do you know you’re presenting your best work?”, “If you want to be a creative director, where do you start?”, “what is XYZ in the games industry?”) with crowdsourced answers from the Babies
- Anything that inspires us and helps us refill the creative tank
- Fun quotes
- Weird-looking art that makes us go hmm
- Sharing our own personal inspirations in life