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The first game from Luxembourg developers has been released on Steam

Last time updated
24.05.24
Фото: коллаж Luxtoday

Фото: коллаж Luxtoday

When we say "first", we mean that this game was created entirely by Luxembourgers, without any outside help. And without any investment! It's a great story of enthusiasm and dedication to their idea, which finally resulted in an interesting project. First the demo version and then the full version arrived at the editorial office. The author of this article was drawn into the game world for several hours. But let's talk about it one by one.

Development team

Sacrifice for Sale was made by only 3 people, also known as Team Iota:

  • Daniel Klautsch - Director, Writer, Narrative Designer;
  • Julie Thies - Artist, Editor, Sound Designer;
  • Steven Van Dorp - Programmer.

All members of the team studied in the BTS program at the Lycée des Arts et Métiers in Luxembourg in the areas of game design and game programming, where they met. After graduating, the newly formed team decided to put their newly gained skills into practice.

The team had been working on the idea of the game since 2021. In the same year, the project was cancelled and its ideas remained unrealized, as Team Iota received a contract to create game prototypes for a company specializing in educational video games. Development of Sacrifice For Sale resumed in 2023, when the team decided to improve their previous game and return to work on it with new experience.

Story

Sacrifice for Sale is a visual novel. It tells the story of a vacuum cleaner salesman that many of us would rather not see. The player acts as a compulsive salesman, going door to door until one is his last. Or not... It all depends on the player's choices.

To avoid spoilers, the main task of the protagonist is to get out of the secret cult's lair alive and not become another sacrifice to the mysterious god.

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Choose, talk, survive. Photo: Screenshot from the game

You'll need to talk their ears off, gain their trust, keep quiet when necessary, and simply be a "good boy" (there's a reason there's a Steam Achievement with that name). Every choice, or lack thereof, affects the storyline's ending, even if some dialogue may seem meaningless.

There are over 500 different choices in the game, which are designed to be extremely unique for a game of this genre. All of them, as mentioned above, can lead to more than 15 different endings.

Sacrifice for Sale is available in English only.

Game mechanics

Talking about the implementation of the dialogue and the choice system itself, we can't ignore the game mechanics. Team Iota really did an amazing job. To keep track of all the possible storylines and dialogues, the team even created their own tool called the Iota Visual Novel Tool, or IVNT. And believe me, the scope of the idea is incredible.

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Dialog options in the game. Photo: Iota Team for Luxtoday

If you think that there are not so many options here, I should mention that these splits are only for the demo version of the game, which will last 5-10 minutes. Therefore, the full version will have dozens of such screens, although this one will hardly fit into the program window..

A special thing about the dialogues is that you can respond to a certain part of the characters' lines or remain silent - this is very important. For example, in my first playthrough I ignored half of the questions from Vinnie - that's the name of one of the girls - which made her think I was suspicious and the story took an unexpected turn.

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Choosing an answer happens right during the dialogue. Photo: screenshot from the game

I have to say that this is a very interesting move for a visual novel, and to be honest, it looks much better than the standard dialog boxes after a character's speech. First of all, it gives a sense of reality: the hero can literally interrupt other characters' dialogue and change the entire conversation. Second, this helps the player feel more involved in the story, like a vacuum cleaner salesman in a creepy, blood-stained room.

Graphics and sound

It is logical to combine these two elements, as we think they are at an average level. Unfortunately, this is due to the small size of the team itself, as well as the lack of third-party investment, which we will talk about later.

The character design is excellent: they are memorable, well-drawn, and generally give the impression of living creatures. And from a drawing and stylization point of view, there are no problems. However, the background sprites could be better.

However, to be fair, you quickly get used to them, and at some point they become less distracting and begin to serve the purpose for which they were created - as a background to the story.

The same can be said about the sound. It is rather simple, but very well chosen, and you have to give credit to the sound engineer. Yes, you won't hear the parts played by the London Symphony Orchestra, but this was all done by one person. Some of the assets and sounds were taken from open sources, so the result is worthy.

A higher score would not be quite fair, so we rate it 6 out of 10. We are sure that if the team had more resources, opportunities and specialists, the result would be much better. For now, it's a good average score.

Finance and distribution model

The game has not been funded by anyone. This is a very important point, because it defines the quality of the final result.

This is what Daniel himself told us in a short interview: "We self-financed our game and decided to go with a small manageable budget, so there wouldn't be too much pressure on the game's commercial success for us to break even."

And I can honestly say that it was the right decision. Especially considering what's going on in the AAA games and big projects segment right now. An indie developer who makes a project out of enthusiasm, to show his talents and skills, and not with the aim of attracting as much investment as possible and earning money, is a treasure these days.

It's safe to say that indie developers can afford risky experiments these days. They don't have to worry about big investors, rushing a release, or making changes on the run. Thanks to this, we can get a game made with love and for the players. That's worth a lot.

Of course, the team expects to get some revenue for their work. On Steam, the game will be sold for 7 euros with a 20% discount in the first week, starting today, May 24, 2024.

Final Verdict

Sacrifice For Sale is a curious and quite interesting game created for both newcomers to the visual novel genre and mature gamers looking for a new experience. Despite its weaknesses, the game is engaging, addictive, and immerses you in the story, which I believe is the foundation of any game project.

This is a game worth trying if you like to read, talk and be silent (when necessary). Suspense and psychology, fear and flirting - it has it all, the main thing is to find it.

By the way, we have 5 access keys to the full version of the game that we would like to give away to our readers. The rules are very simple: come up with a slogan for the project and send it to us in the editorial chat in English. The developers will review them all and choose the best one. After that, the lucky ones will receive activation codes.

Have a good game, and I still have to get out of the cultists' lair!

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Last time updated
24.05.24

We took photos from these sources: Luxtoday collage

Authors: Aleksandr, Kadriia

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