Thursday, November 29, 2012

The publishing thing

So our latest game Primordia, has just hit the Gold Candidate stage. This means the game is pretty much done.  Sure there might be a minor bug or two, but they aren't worth potentially breaking the game over in order to fix.  So unless the testers find a bug that's absolutely critical (an unavoidable crash or freeze, for example), we're leaving it to slowly bake until launch day.  

Primordia marks our eleventh game, and the third game we launched this year alone. It is also the fifth game we are publishing, instead of developing or writing it ourselves.  It was developed by a group called Wormwood Studios, and it's a gorgeous piece of work. There's a free demo available right now, and you can pre-order it for 10% off.  You can also vote for it on Project Greenlight, if you'd like to see it on Steam (the Greenlight thing is a subject for another day entirely). 

Anyway, publishing. I suppose the "indie publishing other indies" model is a pretty rare thing. It worked out well with Gemini Rue, and so I sought out other games along the same lines. Games that had tons of potential but where the developers lacked the time, experience, or motivation to finish it and get it out the door. Or they just didn't want to deal with any of the marketing/sales stuff after it was done. Or for any variety of reasons. Either way, we got involved and it's been a whirlwind.

One interesting thing I've learned about publishing a game is that it takes just as much time, effort and concentration as a game I develop myself.  That might sound weird, but what I mean is that the effort and concentration comes from a different part of my brain. It's turned me into more of a business guy than a developer guy, which has left me very little to talk about on this blog (which is why it's been so empty lately - er, not that I'm making excuses or anything). Business talk is boring, and I wasn't knee-deep in the creative process enough to feel comfortable talking about the development process. It's also left me in the complete wrong mindset to focus on my own games, which is why the next Blackwell is taking much much longer than I would have liked.

Regardless, I feel very proud that we managed to get Puzzle Bots, Gemini Rue, Da New Guys, Resonance, and Primordia out into the game-o-sphere. They are all great games - games that we (meaning Wadjet Eye) couldn't have created on our own.  I've worked with some wonderful developers and learned so much from seeing how they all  work. We are  much more financially stable - having lots of new games allowed us to pace out our releases and spread out the risk, so if one game failed we wouldn't go down with it.  Before we were just squeaking by, but now we have actual savings and enough of a "long tail" that we don't have to worry about going bust anytime soon. 

But still. I miss designing. I miss sitting in a cafe with nothing but my notebook and a bagel. Getting into publishing was AMAZING, but for now I want to get back to doing the thing that got me into game development in the first place. 
Hello, left side of the brain. It's been awhile. Have some coffee. Let's talk.
 -Dave 

11 comments:

  1. What can I say... as a gamer I do look forward to another Blackwell installment but also wouldn't want to have seen any of these games published with less devotion, polish and well-deserved promotion. So whatever you tackle next, I'll be looking forward to it. I do hope it's Blackwell, though. :)

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  2. Oh yeah, we wouldn't have taken these games on if we didn't like them! And yes, Blackwell is next.

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  3. I cannot wait to play Primordia. I had to pleasure of being contacted by you guys to play and review your game Resonance. I was pleasantly surprised how it sucked me in with its characters and story.

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  4. Don't you mean "right side of the brain", or are you saying that publishing is the more creative endeavor?

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  5. I got my hand on the soundtracks of the 3 first blackwell game with the indie royale. We still need to get that Deception soundtrack! Btw, bravo for releasing Primordia! I still need to play The Shivah, Gemini Rue and Resonance before that :P

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  6. Can you make a blog post about your iOS sales next? I know you don't like giving out numbers but would be interesting to hear relevant to the desktop versions.

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  7. Game isn't available on iOS yet (we're testing it now) but once it is, we'll definitely talk more about it!

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  9. Primordia sounds really promising. I like the art, but it is extremely dark and monotone. I have no doubt it suits the mood of the game, but still. I’m hoping for at least a bit of variety in the visuals.

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