Political Animals


#9

You’re not the first person to say that! Funnily enough the game is actually more inspired by our own (Philippine) politics. I made the decision to feature the “US” map on the title knowing that the US has the largest userbase on Steam. Guess that backfired!


#10

Hey, Ryan. Congrats on making and launching the game. I’m sorry to hear it hasn’t performed as you would like; I hope that changes in the future.

I heard about the game probably around the time it was announced because I’m familiar with the publisher (and cliffski, who posts here). I think I probably put it on my wishlist immediately because political games are so rare and I really liked the look of the game. I wishlist games when I want to track their sale prices over time, until I finally decide I want to pull the trigger.

I’m sorry to say that this is the kind of game I’ll probably buy, but at a pretty major discount. I have such a huge backlog, prioritizing a game like this is difficult. And if I don’t think I ill play it immediately, I tend to not buy it. If it were a game that had earned a lot of praise or was highly recommended to me by a friend, I would consider paying around $10 for it. As is, $5 is probably my price point. One factor in that decision is that I’m not entirely sure how the game plays, or how the systems operate. So I don’t know what kind of replayability is has. It might be awesome! But I will wait for a lower price before taking the risk.

The game really does look spectacular, and you should be proud. As a game developer, I know how hard it is to get anything finished and released. I understand that the complements are thin gruel when the game isn’t recouping its cost, but they come sincerely. Best of luck!


#11

I am sorry to hear your game didn’t do well.

  1. Had you ever heard about Political Animals before? If yes, where did you hear about it?

I think I actually saw this on Steam when it launched.

  1. After seeing the store page, are you interested in purchasing it or putting it on your wishlist? If you could go into detail with your answer we’d appreciate it!

I usually play these kind of games MP. I also purposefully avoided any games that reminded me of politics this year. I’m fine with the art style though.


#12

I’m sorry if my answer sounded curt and it’s not your fault. You’ve made what looks to be a wonderful game.


#13
  1. No, I can not say I have heard of it. I go through everything on Steam (my explore list is literally empty) and do not remember seeing it. I did because it is marked “Not Interested” but it did not leave any kind of impression when I made that evaluation.

  2. No, I am not interested in it. I can not tell a single thing about what the game is by the screenshots and thus I would not generally spend my time watching the videos. I started to watch them but without any kind of explanation beyond “customize your candidate” and “select your staff” it still does not tell me about the game.

I play some political games so I am in your target market but the art style, screenshots and videos do nothing to make me interested in this product.


#14

@Nightgaunt Thanks for the kind words, and no worries re: needing it to hit a certain price point before pulling the trigger. That’s something every gamer has to decide for themselves. I’m pretty much in the same situation myself as a gamer so I can’t really comoplain!

@Nesrie Thanks for the feedback. I suspect that a lot of people felt the same as you (re: political games). The Political Machine launched much earlier than we did, and it probably did better because there was a lot more excitement and possibility about the results of the election, and people could play out their fantasy. We launched a week before the election (we couldn’t have launched much earlier due to development issues) and at that point people seemed exhausted. Perhaps we’ll do better in the midterms. :)

@jpinard Hey no worries at all I didn’t think you were being curt!

@Granath Thanks for the bracingly honest opinion! It seems we really do have a problem when it comes to showing people what the game is about. Not entirely sure what else we could do at this point. I could perhaps take another stab at the trailer.

Thanks so much for the feedback everyone. I have to say the forums here are a breath of fresh air. Really insightful and generally respectful feedback without holding back on honest opinions. I look forward to participating here more!


#15

I remember reading a short review in the Jewish media (i.e. tgb’s post). Actually I picked up the game today – before you started this thread – when I saw the price was reduced again. Politics don’t interest me (I’m British), but it sounds as if the game is fun and deeper than it looks.

Can your publisher help with publicity? I mean, what’s the point of having a publisher?


#16

Sorry to hear the game isn’t selling well.

  1. I may have seen a blurb about the game on RPS, but…

  2. …I like my games to be an escape from reality, and this theme, right now, is far too much on the nose for me to consider playing it.

Having said that, I do think it’s important that games as an art form tackle important issues and events. I only wish that doing so offered greater rewards than what is apparently the case.


#17
  1. I saw it on RPS, using animals in a political game sounded very Animal Farm to me, and that got my interest. I was amused by the crocodile reference, and now knowing you’re based in the Philippines that all makes sense.

  2. Possibly. At the time I checked it out, I didn’t add it to my wishlist because a) I am sick and tired of politicians, b) I wasn’t really in the mood for this kind of game at the time (see above!), and c) it was above my threshold price given that I wasn’t that interested at the time. To be honest right now, I’m probably even less interested in a game like this, because the rules that determine success in the game don’t seem to apply at all to current world politics, and watching how anyone can “cheat” the system puts me off the whole idea. I may return to it in the future though.


#18

@amandachen Thanks so much for trying it out! I think I’m missing an in-joke with the Jewish media thing? Positech (our publisher) is a relatively small outlet. Essentially an indie made good that now wants to help out other indies. He funded the development of the game and paid for ads/PR/etc. on launch. It didn’t pan out, and it’s hard to throw good money after bad, so we need to try to promote the game guerilla style. :) If you have any interest in the details I wrote a blog post about it a week ago.

@jostly “I only wish that doing so offered greater rewards than what is apparently the case.” < Would you mind clarifying this a bit? Not sure I got the gist of it.

@krayzkrok Heh, I know exactly how you feel. The funny thing was part of the reason I wanted to make the game was to give an abstract idea of the rules of politics, ie what do you have do do/sacrifice in order to win an election, there are rules to the game and if you want to make change you have to learn these rules, etc. But as you say, it seems the rules no longer apply. I actually wrote a blogpost about that here.


#19

I’d seen the game before, I think in a Gamasutra blog post sometime in early 2016. But that’s really not a place I visit with any kind of intent to purchase.

My take on this is slightly different. It’s not about the political theme putting people off, it’s not about the graphics. This just is what a indie strategy game will sell these days absent some very good hook. (For example a developer with an established fan base).

In Q4 2016, January 2017 there were been 99 games released on Steam with a price in the $5.00-$25.00 range, and the “strategy” tag. Political Animals appears to be the 39th best selling of those games at 3.3k copies. The median game in that list is at 2.3k copies sold. Or for a direct comparison, it’s roughly at the same numbers as Stellar Monarch (nee Pocket Space Empires), a game I’d heard of at least on order of magnitude more than yours.

If one used the same criteria but exactly one year earlier, it’s 82 games and with a median 10.5k owners. One could interpret this as the bottom having fallen off completely from this market, or as the majority of sales actually coming from the long tail in the year following the release. I suspect it’s the latter, but don’t have the historical data to back that up.


#20

I’ll echo everybody else in saying that I don’t want to be reminded of the current political climate in my entertainment. Even if I was happy with the results of our election, it was an incredibly grueling time, constantly barraged by political news, and I wouldn’t want it in my entertainment then either.


#21

I missed this thread yesterday, just as I missed this game when it came out.

[quote=“ryansumo, post:1, topic:128225”]

  1. Had you ever heard about Political Animals before? If yes, where did you hear about it?
    [/quote] Sadly, no. Interesting timing, but I agree that it backfired due to how unique this election was. If you’re going to return to it in the future with a sequel, may I be so bold as to suggest mid-terms? The Presidential elections seem to have perhaps become too surreal.

[quote=“ryansumo, post:1, topic:128225”]
2) After seeing the store page, are you interested in purchasing it or putting it on your wishlist? If you could go into detail with your answer we’d appreciate it!
[/quote]Yes, and I put it on my wishlist. Then again, I’m both a political game junkie and someone who enjoys anthropomorphised characters. PS - I play these almost 100% single-player. Whether I bite the bullet and buy will depend on the reviews and how replayable the game is.


#22

Never heard about it. I normally only read QT3 so if it isn’t featured here, or it shows up the rare times I go through the “steam recomends you buy these 10 games, or you can just skip them and get a new list” thing, it doesn’t exist.

When I use the Steam recommendation thing I normally only give each title a few seconds of ‘glance’ before I jump to the next one.

The first thing I see on the steam page is that is has a very colourfull art style, and it kinda looks like a kids game? But the title Political Animals make me think of Animal Farm.

Not really into political styled games (after playing Balance of Power on the Amiga in the 90s) so I doubt this (or any other political style game) would interest me.

(Although I once imagined making a strategy game set around the 90s Yugoslavia conflict though, so at one point I was “into” political type games.)


#23

I’ve started to look at new games released and think to myself, this game will be in a humble bundle in 6-8-12 months, I’ll just wait for that.

Many of us here have massive backlogs and also massive wishlists, I do have Political Animals on my wishlist, I love to try all kinds of games. Its just a time issue for me. :)


#24

I had heard about it, maybe from Tgb’s post already mentionned.

I had checked it out, but if I recall, it came out in a the same timeframe as other games using somewhat similar esthetics (there were a quick rush of Pikmin clones at a point last year), and when I read the name just now, the superficial me had assumed your game to be one of those.
I also was not a fan of Democracy, and, although I am not American and wasn’t concerned by election information overload, I don’t enjoy games discussing directly current issues in general - I tend to think such games are patronizing, and while I appreciate my opinions being made fun of, I tend to be annoyed if a game makes fun of the opinions I don’t share, for some reason. Given the subject material, I thought that was the case of your game.
To be clear: I am not saying that is what your game is, at all. It is just the impression I got with the very little info I looked up for it when it was released, and why I dismissed it until it ended somehow in the “pikmin clone” category of my brain oO


#25

Yes. In fact, I own it. Pretty sure I first heard about it via @cliffski’s Twitter.

Since I have it and have played a few games, this one isn’t really applicable.


#26

@jsnell You’re absolutely right, although given that is a cicumstance that is ultimately out of my hands, I try not to think about it too much. Nice to know we’re ahead of the median I guess! Did you do this research using Steamspy? I had no idea you could get into such granular detail.

@stusser I’ll add you to the list of “fatigued from elections”.

@Dan_Theman Yeah we’ll definitely put out an update during the midterms once people get excited about campaigning again.

@instant0 Thanks for the feedback. I personally only go through the recommendations myself when there is a sale and I get trading cards out of it, so I’m totally with you on that!

@lordkosc I’ll make sure to post here if it’s ever part of a bundle. :)

@Left_Empty Totally understand. I think we were fighting an uphill battle balancing satire with gameplay and not being too cynical about it. I actively campaigned against the game simply being cynical, but it’s a tougher balancing act than you might think. And yeah the slew of election games (some of them even in VR!) took us by surprise. While we intended to launch near the elections in the hope of additional marketing, this game was in development quite some time before the candidates even announced their intent to run.

@Fishbreath Thank you so much!


#27

I had not heard of the game before… but I just watched Quill’s video, and it really looks quite good. Rather than being overly cutesy, the animals make politics a lot less of an open wound. And it does look to have interesting strategy to it. From what I can see, I like it better than the games aiming for realism.

Going by the Quill video, the one weakness seems to be that sometimes the info you want (like what is this operative good/bad at) is not accessible – at least he seemed unable to find it.

At this price, I’ll buy the game.


#28

@FinnegansFather Very much appreciate it!