December 28, 2023

The Epic 2023 BancyCo Wrap-Up

Hey, it’s been a while! This year has been absolutely momentous for us here at BancyCo, and a lot has happened, even though we've been so quiet externally. Read on for the full scoop on our 11th year in business as an indie game studio.

Game #4 is so, so close

We can’t show you the new game yet, so here’s Home on SteamDeck

Are you tired of waiting for our new game to be announced? I know we sure are! We’ll be spilling the beans in 2024, but what we can tell you about the game right now is:

  • It’s colourful and funny
  • You have a very specific job to play
  • It’s fast-paced and can get pretty hectic
  • It features cultural elements Nancy has wanted to use for a while
  • It may or may not feature a dolphin 🐬

Normally we work with a pretty small group of people. But for Game #4, we needed to learn some new skills, and wanted to put our many years of design and art direction to good use. So we grew our team for this project; there are three programmers, one background artist, two artist-animators, two sound designers — and of course the two of us, who are designing, writing, and implementing most of the content.

And to be perfectly honest, it's a lot; managing our remote team, who all have different schedules and talents, has been a project in itself. (Good thing we wrote an article about working with remote teams! It's almost like we knew what was coming....)

Despite the growing pains, the result of all this is a game takes a lot of our core strengths, augments them with some talented new people, and does something fresh and fun. (Okay, we're going to stop now before Ben gives everything away.)

Learning to be humans again

Has anyone else been struggling with being in the same space as other humans? Squinting your eyes while grunting as you attempt to make contact that isn’t over a Zoom call? Yeah, us too.

In 2022 we actually met other devs in person for the first time in a while at a chill, outdoor barbecue that PlayStation hosted here in Toronto. It was beautiful to see everyone else with their fresh, grey hair, still fighting the good fight (AKA making games). Some of us hadn't seen each other in person in years — Toronto has such a rich community of game developers, artists, and musicians, and we are fortunate to have gown alongside so many talented and friendly people.

* This was the only sunny moment of the entire trip

But we didn't just stick to meeting people in Toronto. We returned to sunny* San Francisco this spring for the Game Developers Conference (GDC) to show off our new game to industry partners and make several new contacts. Sometimes when working on a game, you can go weeks or months without anyone else seeing it. Putting the demo in people's hands and seeing them get it was energizing and a huge boost to the team.

(Of course, the most important person we showed the demo to found a critical bug within five minutes. 😑 This is the way.)

It takes two (cats)

Look, it's no secret that game devs and cats go together like peanut butter and jam, and we are no different. This year, BancyCo welcomed two other additions to the team:

Yes, they do this all the time

Say hello to Jill Meowlentine (right) and Claire Redmeow (left), who are as cute (and manipulative) as this photo suggests. We have been without cat for about seven years now, and this January, our hearts got the better of us. Before we knew it we were driving to Fergus, Ontario, to adopt Jill and Claire from the Arthur Animal Rescue.

These two bonded beauties were only four months old when we picked them up, and they have grown to make studio life 1000x better (and help us get through some stressful milestones). 😊

Holiday Sales

Yep, it's that time of year again! Our three previous games are in various sales this time of year, at historically juicy discounts. If you've been on the fence about trying these out, or want to get them for new platforms, now is a very good time. Here's what we have on offer right now:

❄️ Steam Winter Sale

🎄Nintendo Switch Holiday Sale

What we’ve been playing this year

Hey, we don't just make games — we sometimes even find time to play them! Here are our favourite picks for 2023:

Alan Wake II — Ben can’t resist a good survival horror game, and he definitely can’t turn away from one full of layered meta-narrative and bonkers live-action sequences! Easily his favourite big-budget release of the last few years; he really appreciated how daring it was.

Vampire Survivors — it took Nancy exactly one day to surpass Ben’s feeble attempts to “teach” her the game and become a complete master. 🧛 Soon her iPad was 100% full with a million projectiles, all of her weapons had been evolved, and nothing could touch her. This game is... incredible, isn't it?

Lots to come in 2024

Next year is going to be huge for us; Game #4 will be out, and we’ll be starting work on Game #5, so we will have so much more to share. Subscribe to our email newsletter below to get updates like this one conveniently sent to your inbox.

You can also find us on Threads, Instagram, TikTok, Discord, and YouTube. And if you want some ongoing developer insights, Ben streams games on Twitch every Wednesday at 8pm EST.

Thanks for sticking with us for another trip around the sun! 🥳 Happy New Year! 🎉

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