Total Monkery was started by Richard Weeks. Richard has been working in games for nearly twenty years, both as a permanent employee for games companies such as Psygnosis and LucasArts and later as a contract programming consultant. Keen to have greater creative control, Richard began working on his own projects with a view to one day forming his own studio. From this, Iliara was born, a puzzle game about the living, moving cave paintings of an alien world.
Incorporation and Iliara
Surprisingly shortly after, Total Monkery came into being - named after a throwaway monkey/mockery pun in a conversation to a friend. In September 2012 it became a limited company and the primary occupation of the Weeks household, and Iliara became the training ground for a brave new team - initially made up of Anya Trounce, his partner's daughter and at that time only a hobbyist artist, and Will Davis, her boyfriend, who had studied programming at University but whose personal circumstances had not allowed him to pursue a career in games. After several months of on-the-job training and work on Iliara, and after securing some contract work, it became apparent that Iliara was not a throwaway puzzle game but a deep universe that would only reach its full potential through development of a strong online community and a sensible, well-funded development schedule.
MagNets, and Total Monkery Today
After some consideration, the team decided that Iliara would have to wait until Total Monkery was a self-sustaining business, and in order to do that they would have to start smaller. They began working on another one of Richard's many games concepts, first with concept artist and friend Phil Corbett and then with the team. Although once again an ambitious and unusual project, Richard felt confident he could apply his broad experience and the team's increasingly confident skills to deliver a great game, so with design document in hand, Total Monkery took a pitch to the 2012 indie developers’ pilot fund for PlayStation Mobile, a competition at which they came runner-up, and then Creative England's Gameslab, where they they secured a grant to begin development. Development of MagNets began in November 2013.