Chapter 108: Growing Pain (1)

Chapter 108: Growing Pain (1)

The beginning of the footage was marked by cheers and the sound of trumpets.

A stoic knight walked confidently along the grand avenue of the castle, with gazes of awe fixed upon him from both sides of the road.

Hunter!

The most fearsome face!

Oh, hell behead every sinner!

Following the murmurs, a thud!

The sound of drums echoed.

The screen went dark, and the melody of a violin began to play.

When the screen brightened again, it revealed a courtroom. The previously confident knight now kneeled, under the scrutinizing gaze of judges.

A stern-faced figure spoke, Pronounce the defendant guilty! With that, the once revered knight was pushed towards the cliff.

Behind the ominous music, a gentle and soothing melody emerged from the darkness. Hello? Im Miso! A smiling woman extended her hand. As if triggered by that moment, the music intensified, and the screen kept shifting.

I never wanted to do this!

The sorrow of a farmer.

Have I been unfaithful?

The priests anguish.

I wish my child was different from me.

The blacksmith-fathers regret.

Following these, numerous voices and faces passed by, decorating the journey of the knight whose face was hidden by a visor. Finally, the footage returned to show him standing before the grand palace of the empire.

Once again, the screen went dark, and the title Identity appeared on the monitor, accompanied by a whisper of Miso as background music.

Do you know? Smiles can be contagious.

The trailer concluded.

Ha, didnt we choose well?

Yang Gilsang chuckled with satisfaction. I nodded in agreement.

Not bad at all. It captured just what was necessary.

Its also fun to speculate!

Interrupting, Yang Gilsang spoke with unusual satisfaction. Ever since testing the game a while ago, reactions had generally been like this. He had become a fan of the game, and that enthusiasm reflected in his work. It was a good thing. Also, something to be grateful for. With such reactions, I contemplated the upcoming schedule.

The main part is almost complete.

The story section only had the final battle QA remaining. Functional aspects were almost resolved, and now I was chiselling away at the balance and details of the boss battle.

Amidst this, I felt a profound change in our game and the company. The reactions of the public were a clear indicator.

With just a trailer and a few elements like mod support revealed, the response around us was unexpectedly warm. Perhaps, it meant our game had gained enough recognition to be anticipated among other major releases.

If I said I felt no pressure, it would be a lie. However, it was undeniably motivating.

There was a certain joy in speculating the reactions of others, but it was also undeniably rewarding. The support and encouragement from others oddly kindled a sense of confidence and enthusiasm within. It made me want to do better, and that enthusiasm was now manifesting in the final detail work, the ultimate challenge I faced.

Change the angle here. This death pattern only occurs once in the entire battle. Itll add a sense of intimidation

Not a single detail was overlooked. From the mechanics of executing the pattern to breaking down each motion into seconds, it resulted in many good ideas. However, incorporating all these into a single boss battle was impossible.N♡vεlB¡n: Unleashing Imagination, One Read at a Time.

Some ideas were discarded due to factors like volume, pacing, or a sense of incongruity, and I pondered on how to reuse or discard them. Eventually, even the previous boss battles were modified.

It wont work. Lets go through the ones before again.

May was the month of meetings.

With the completed version unveiled, efforts were made to beautify it further. It was a challenging task. Despite all the welfare provided, the reality of development crunch during the final stages couldnt be avoided.

Since games are made entirely by human hands, the perfection and welfare of the game seem to be proportional to how much the developers suffered in the crunch.

Just a little more; were almost there.

That was all I could say. Fortunately, the team followed along well. The entire company had that atmosphere. The desire to somehow make this presentable surpassed the previous game. It was evident that their opinions were taken into consideration. Everyone was eagerly awaiting the moment when the systems and plans I had implemented would come to life in the game.

Even such work was coming to an end soon.

Yeonho

Myungkyu asked discreetly, But what about the final boss sound? I nodded.

With the overall balance being finalized in mid-June, the final boss was still being implemented in secret, shrouded by mystery.

The sound department at Rewind was advantageous compared to other departments in the company.

Not only spatially but also in the nature of the team, it was more fitting to call it individual studio rather than a company workspace.

There was no other choice. The sound director, Ayoon, had just graduated from college this year, making her a rookie in the workforce. In other words, hiring a new employee in the sound department was a first for this year, and the sound booth had been Ayoons personal space until now.

Consequently, the team atmosphere was still awkward. Rather than being familiar or cautious with each other, it was more accurate to say that there wasnt enough time to become close. Most of all, it was because of Ayoons position. She was not only a founding member of Rewind but also the youngest in the company. Everywhere she went, she had been praised and adored, making it challenging for Ayoon to assert authority.

The apparent reason for the delay in sound production was this, but there was a more significant issue at hand.

Could it be that shes avoiding me because of some delay in her work? If thats the case, its needless worry. I have no intention of interfering with Jo Ayoons working environment; I just need to delay the release date if thats the case.

The second possibility that crossed my mind was a slump.

That it was something I needed to address. So, with the thought of at least trying to talk, I went to find Jo Ayoon.

However, every time I went to the sound team, Jo Ayoon was nowhere to be found.

Where did Jo Ayoon go?

Oh! She was here just a moment ago.

It didnt seem like she hadnt come to work.

Frowning, I let out a sigh, and after a day or two of this, stress started to build up. Eventually, opting for drastic measure seemed necessary.

Senior, want to go exercise or maybe leave work early?

Yeah, lets skip exercise today. I have somewhere to go.

Really? Okay.

I canceled my exercise plan with Han Seorim and left the company. It was the time when everyone, except those involved in debugging and QA, were slowly leaving work.

I looked for the sound team. Jo Ayoon was already gone. That was the moment I felt something was off.

Clocking out?

It was the right time to leave.

Especially in the sound department, it wasnt a job where overtime was arbitrarily assigned. Given that their work relied more on spontaneous ideas and creativity than any other aspect of game development, forcing overtime on them was out of the question.

But the uneasiness didnt come from there.

The expressions, looks, and the atmosphere inside the booth amplified my discomfort.

No one

No one was there, and there was no one trying to organize their work. More fundamentally, there was no communication among the team members. Or so it seemed.

When its time to leave, you should at least say goodbye.

Even that wasnt there.

It was as if, metaphorically speaking, the sound team members left their seats like strangers who happened to get off at the same subway station, without saying a word, and disappeared.

In general, the moment emotional anxiety surges is when you realize that its the right thing to do. I went to the sound booth where all the employees had already left, and I realized the nature of my anxiety.

Theres no sign of usage.

The office was so silent that it was evident that no one had done anything all day. There was no warmth or sense of living.

Has this been going on for all this time?

It was possible. The sound teams space was so glassed off that no other team could casually peek inside. So, what happened here?

The moment I thought about it, my heart sank heavily. It wasnt anger. Strangely, I was convinced that I had made a mistake.

The feeling of Jo Ayoon running away, which I had been feeling for a while, came to mind. At that moment, my feet were already moving. I got into my rarely used car and drove on the road.

Damn traffic congestion heightened my frustration, and an hour passed since then. The destination was Jo Ayoons house. There, I could see her.

Uh, what?

Jo Ayoon was trying to enter the apartment gate. My heart sank. Dark circles were evident under her eyes, and her complexion was pale. I just realized that her face looked like that.

Jo Ayoons eyes widened as if about to tear. Suddenly, she took a step back, showing a gesture as if trying to escape into the apartment.

Words slipped out of my mouth involuntarily.

Wait.

Abruptly, Jo Ayoon stopped. Seeing her struggling, I added more words.

If you run away here, Ill cut the LAN cable.

Why did I say that? Why did I choose to say that? Out of all the things I could have said.

Habits can be terrifying.

The choice of words was probably not appropriate. And then,

Uhhhh.

Jo Ayoons stuttering wasnt because of what I said. I took a cautious step closer. Jo Ayoon lowered her head. Her fingertips were trembling. Between her bangs, near her eyelashes, I could see a moist area.

Finally, Jo Ayoon, with a trembling voice, apologized.

Sor, sorry.

The desperation in her demeanor clearly conveyed at least one thing to me.

Im sorry

The person that needs to apologize is not you.

Its me.

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