Slime-san: The Benefits of Scope Creep.
Published 2 years ago
Scope creep is usually a negative, but it was a benefit for Slime-san.
Hey everyone!
It's common knowledge that "scope creep" is a dangerous, and usually negative, thing that can happen to most game projects.
For anyone who doesn't know the term: It essentially means that during development you constanty add more features/content that weren't originally planed. This can lead to a project losing its focus or getting bloated, but more importantly it can lead to much longer development times than anticipated. The latter is the most dangerous part of scope creep, especially if you have deadlines to keep.
I'll be the first to admit that we, at Fabraz, have a huge tendency to be tempted into scope creep. It's very easy to do if you love your project and don't run out of ideas. For Slime-san, however, this scope creep might have actually led to a better game! 
Most reviews we've gotten make a point of highlighting how much content there is to Slime-san and it has always been to its favor. People got excited to see that we included New Game+, that adds more levels for them to enjoy! People got excited when they saw that you can unlock 5 minigames for collecting hard to find collectables. People got excited when they saw how large the hub town is for them to explore. People got excited when they saw that we have speedrunning and twitch integration modes for them to try! A good chunk of these weren't planned at the start of the project, so how did we pull this off without pushing the game past its launch deadline?
We tried to be clever about what new ideas we'd pursue. We tried to be economic about it. New Game+ doesn't introduce 100 brand new levels, but instead remixes the previous 100 in a clever way. This saved us time and still felt awesome to the player. We created 5 minigames but approached them like game jam titles, short and to the point. We expanded the hub town by using our in-house Unity plugins and relying on foundational, reusable code. We added speedrunning modes that cleverly use simple booleans to change content in-game in a meaninful way!
All of this and more led to a game that is FILLED with content while still releasing in time. Though we did sacrifice some sleep!
I want to highlight that scope creep is still very dangerous and should usually be avoided. We didn't decide to throw in a level editor a month before launch, that would be crazy! Instead, we filed that one under post-launch content. But I am arguing that you shouldn't shoot down EVERY new idea mid-development right away. Analyze how much of a benefit it would have on the game and predict how much time it would take. Heck, we added the dash half-way through development and it led to a MUCH better gameplay experience!
Slime-san is releasing tomorrow, April 7th, on Steam! Consoles will follow in the summer. We poured our heart and soul into this project and we really hope you fall in love with it as much as we did while making it! :) You can check it out right here! 
Fabian Rastorfer