Normally I would have written about this yesterday, but I was delayed for totally legit reasons. So, here are my thoughts on the last year, one day late. It's interesting to look back, because we entered 2011 a bit wary and battle-hardened. I wrote last year about how we lost the backing of PlayFirst, so while we had much more freedom we were also completely on our own.
It turns out that our worries were unfounded. In February, we launched Josh Neurnberger's Gemini Rue and it was our biggest success by far. It cemented us as a serious publisher and caught the attention of mainstream gamers and major league websites like IGN and Rock Paper Shotgun. It became our first game to be localized into German and Polish thanks to the wonderful guys at Daedalic, and given a boxed-and-retail release in those areas.
The success of Gemini Rue has prompted us to publish other games, and 2012 will see three new games published under the Wadjet Eye banner. The first one is earmarked for a February release, and we'll be doing the usual announcement at the end of this month. It's been a blast working with all these developers, and a major learning experience as well.
This year also saw the release of the Blackwell Deception, the fourth game in the Blackwell series. And personally, I think it's the best one yet. I feel like this is the first time I "got" what Blackwell was about and I was just blundering my way up through until this point. The reviewers and customers seem to agree, as it became our highest earning game ever.
This was also the year of Steam, with Blackwell finally popping up on the service. While it's true that we have other games on Steam, it was hard for me to be personally as excited about them. There was the game I wrote but didn't own (Emerald City Confidential), the game I own but didn't write (Puzzle Bots), and the game I just owned the sales rights to (Gemini Rue). But what about poor Blackwell, the games I both wrote and owned? Steam kept rejecting them, but tenacity prevailed and they finally changed their mind in 2011. Getting that acceptance email about Blackwell made me giddy with glee. Like it or loathe it, Steam has the hearts and minds of mainstream gamers and it feels good that my own games have been accepted into their ranks.
The month of December alone was a game-changer, with the first three Blackwell games being sold as part of Indie Royale's Christmas bundle. As a result, over twenty thousand new people were playing our games, and my inbox and forums exploded. It's overwhelming and awesome, and dealing with it all has forced me to be a lot more vigilant about keeping up with my emails.
So all-in-all, it's hard to think about how 2011 could have been any better. We have two smash hits under our belt, three more games coming out this year, and more people are playing our games than ever. And really, I owe it to all of you. Whether you have followed my work since the beginning, or you are a new fan who has just hopped on the WEG bandwagon, it's hard to know how to express how grateful I am. As I've said before, I love doing this, and you guys let me keep me doing it. So thank you, and happy (belated) New Year!