Creator of VVVVVV and Super Hexagon abandons RPG project, goes fishing

Terry Cavanagh, on his developer’s blog, recently shared the news that he is no longer moving forward with his in-progress RPG, Nexus City.

I’ve been thinking of Nexus City as ‘the thing I’m working on’ since 2010. As a result, for a long time now, I’ve felt like I wasn’t really in control of what I can work on. Promising games would come along, and I’d stop myself from getting too deep into them, because I had to finish Nexus City first.

Well, that won’t be a problem any more. The collaboration with Jonas Kyratzes, at first a small pet project, began spiralling into larger and more complicated directions. After the success of VVVVVV and Super Hexagon, the latter just nominated for an IGF award for Excellence in Design, Cavanagh is dropping the long-marinating RPG from his plate and taking a much-deserved rest.

This is bad and good news. As fans of his work (play Don’t Look Back if you haven’t), we’re never happy to hear of a promising game getting canned by an inventive designer. But with this burden lifted, Cavanagh will be able to focus on projects with a more realistic chance for completion.

Indepedent creators in all media, outside the constrictions of and financial obligations to larger studios, are more likely to hold onto dream projects they’ve already spent time and capitol on. With no investors or PR gurus to please, independents are allowed the freedom to pursue imaginative work beyond what is expected or deemed marketable. But sometimes such freedom doesn’t provide the friction necessary–looming deadlines, creative boundaries–to put these ideas into the world as finished products.

That Cavanagh saw Nexus City as a drain on his energy and resources, even with his years of work already put into it, points to a maturity and business sense many indie creators could learn from.