Vaudeville pre-mortem from Bumblebee Studios

Nordic Game presents a special message from Bumblebee Studios: Vaudeville pre-mortem – A retrospective on the development of the first AI-driven detective game, which is still alive and kicking.

Vaudeville pre-mortem

To mark the seven-month anniversary of the release of Vaudeville, we decided to write a retrospective of what has happened so far. Not really a post-mortem, one of those essays you write after the game’s development has been completed and wrapped up, because Vaudeville is alive and kicking, still in Early Access and still evolving with daily efforts from us and the community. We won’t be done with the project until we have achieved our vision.

Vaudeville started as a prototype when we read about a company, Inworld AI, on the Unity Asset Store that offered a service to create AI-driven NPCs. The prototype worked well, so we decided to turn it into a full game. The goal was to get to market as quickly as possible and be the first to release a game based on conversational AI, and we did that. And when I say “we” I mean the company, but actually Bumblebee was a one-man team at the time. Anyway, “we” were so quick that we also beat Inworld AI themselves, who were working on their own implementation of a crime game called Inworld Origins (we didn’t know about that, to be honest; we had been living under a rock during the whole development of Vaudeville) and released it a month after us.

Vaudeville - Marina

The game started to generate interest straight away, also with the help of content creators we were able to reach through our partners Lurkit and Keymailer, but the real breakthrough came when MoistCr1TiKal picked it up semi-randomly and started streaming the game, driving hundreds of thousands of users to our Steam page. Other top streamers followed suit: HasanAbi, WillNeff and Videogamedunkey were among the first.
User reception has been very polarised. Initially, there was a lot of excitement, with the few negative reviews mostly focusing on technical issues. Users flooded the Discord channel and started analysing the game together in our chats. Their feedback was invaluable in improving the game, as well as helping us […]

Read the full story on LinkedIn here and learn more about Bumblebee Studios at