03 Nov Hall of Champions: The Baby in Yellow
Now that Scottish Games Week is over, we want to give some special coverage to the worthy winners in the first-ever Scottish Games Awards. We’ll be starting this off today with Team Terrible, the studio behind The Baby in Yellow, winner of the Best Small-Budget Game Award.
We sat down with their Director, Greg Lee, to discuss the origins of both the game and the studio, and just what Scottish Games Week, and their award, mean to them.
While Team Terrible is now a well-rounded, mid-sized team, it didn’t start out that way. Originally, it was formed of just two people: Greg Lee, and Aaron Baumbach. The pair were both at Ruffian Games back in 2020, working on content for Rockstar during the latter’s buyout of the former, when they decided to take part in a 48-hour game jam; a move that would set in motion the chain of events that would eventually lead to their Scottish Games Awards win.
During the jam, the duo developed The Baby in Yellow, a babysitting game with its roots in the eldritch and strange.
“The Baby in Yellow is heavily inspired by the book ‘The King in Yellow’ by Robert W. Chambers, a bizarre collection of short stories about a mythical being that manifests itself in our world.” says Lee, “Originally the game was to be more light-hearted in nature with a superhero baby that was causing mayhem for the unlucky babysitter. However, we discovered something really interesting when we adapted the game to be more horror focused. Generally in horror games the monster you are trying to avoid and the NPC you are trying to save are different people, we’ve merged those together to make the character you have to escape from and look after one and the same.”
Taking the Plunge
Greg and Aaron loved crafting the game, and started seeing some buzz around it even in the early stages.
“Back then Aaron and myself felt some potential with the amount of interest generated from the release. It caught the attention of some content creators when we first released it, and so we continued to work on it after the jam had finished.”
Post-release, the game did reasonably well on PC, but the duo noticed that clones of the game were popping up on the mobile app stores; perhaps the most surefire sign that you’re onto something in the gaming world. This, along with some advice from a friend, prompted the pair to release a mobile version in the summer of 2021.
“After this, there was a huge uptake in users and in September of that year the two of us made the decision to quit our jobs at Rockstar to work on the game full-time.” said Lee. “It was quite nerve wracking leaving a stable and prestigious job, but we genuinely believed we were on to something special.”
Who Dares Wins
It was a leap of faith, to be sure, but one that paid off handsomely; The Baby in Yellow has gone from strength to strength since its mobile release, surpassing, in the tradition of monsters, even the wildest expectations of its creators.
“Back when we started, we were excited to get over 1000 downloads and now we’re sitting on over 100 million, which is something I never would have dreamed of happening. We do feel that we’ve created something genuinely unique, almost a horror sub-genre. There have been a lot of babysitting horror games appearing on various store fronts and it’s hard to ignore that we weren’t at least partially responsible for that.”
With this success came expansion; five other developers have joined Team Terrible during 2022, and the team continues to work on the game, delivering a major update back in summer this year, with another planned for March 2023.
The Stuff of Legend
It was a combination of this huge success, and the wildly original premise of the game, that brought it into contention for the Best Small-Budget Game Award, and ultimately landed it a well-deserved win. It’s an honour that has left Team Terrible reeling, in the best possible way.
“It’s an incredible achievement that I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around. The support we’ve had from the community at large has been incredible. When we quit our jobs almost exactly a year ago there was always a worry that we made the wrong decision, but winning this award has helped really solidify the fact that we made the right choice.”
As vindications go, it doesn’t get much better than that. Beyond their award, however, Team Terrible found a lot to love about the inaugural Scottish Games Week.
“It was fantastic to take part in. I do feel that the Scottish games community needs more events like this to help bring everyone closer again after the long period of isolation in the recent past. We very much enjoyed the talks organised by Colin (I was also one of the speakers) and the awards ceremony was a great confidence boost as well as a chance to catch up with other people in the industry.
We’ve struggled with getting our name out because we’ve been wrapped up with working on the game, so having a good excuse to get out and talk to other developers was invaluable. Had we not won, I still would have considered the event a success for Team Terrible and I hope that the Scottish Games Week continues long into the future.”
Looking at the sheer range and depth of talent present at each of the events across the week, and the many business connections and friendships which have been forged along the way, it’s hard not to echo Greg’s sentiment. As the horizon clears, the future looks bright for Team Terrible, The Baby in Yellow, and for Scottish Games Week as a whole.