The serious business of making games


I don’t know that I buy the idea of the “hooks” being that easy to evaluate.

  • Stardew Valley: A Harvest Moon clone with crafting. The dullest 3 minute trailer you’ve ever seen.
  • Into the Breach: A tactics game where you know what the enemy will do on their turn.
  • Dead Cells: Another roguelite 2d platformer, but with tighter controls and very fluid animations.
  • Rain World: Another metroidvania, but with incredible art style and a procedural animation system that crossed from dev diaries to news every few months.
  • Brigador: Isometric destruction with giant mechs, which just nailed the cyberpunk aesthetic with the Syndicate-style pixel graphics and had IMO the best original game soundtrack ever.

It’s not at all obvious to me that the first three would be massive successes while the last two would sink into obscurity immediately on release. I might even have expected the opposite.


I also found Rain World’s performance baffling. Had the game released a couple of years before it would have been a smash hit, but it released during a period press was being very critical of retro indie games (a period that is now ended, at least temporarily).

The game had more coverage during dev than at launch.


The hooks idea, it’s what worked for him, but I’m sure it’s real easy to find indie games with awesome hooks that failed, though it’s probably easier to find indie games without awesome hooks that failed…


This is excellent. “I am older than the art form in which I work.” . Well put.


The developers behind Horizon Zero Dawn said the game wasn’t fun (and they weren’t sure it would be) until 6 months before release, after a 3+ year dev cycle. Hell the NoClip documentary shows the game massively changing focus and it’s own hooks even a year from release.


Ah, alright. If it’s a technical economics term in the UK, I can still think it’s a bad euphemism, but at least it’s an established way to use the word. We wouldn’t use it that way in the US, I don’t think.


75% laid off. :(


Derek Smart posted this in the SC thread:


Ack sucks :(


This is something I know a lot about. At Blizzard we kept every game’s online service running for many, many years. EA generally shuts games down after two years, although sometimes longer. I can see an argument for shutdown based on security vulnerabilities from old code. A properly designed server farm could mitigate those concerns however.


And this is why always-online games are always-bad. I appreciate that Blizzard’s virtually unprecedented success has let them avoid this kind of thing so far, but you never really know when even a seemingly successful company is going to implode and vanish off the face of the earth, much less a shaky brand-new startup.


I don’t know if it’ll make news anywhere but Mothership Games - makers of Aven Colony - shut down yesterday.


there is nothing on their twitter.

Nor anything in the steam forums for the game on this.


I assume this goes here? Anyway hot on the heels of losing their strike last year, SAG are now trying to get royalties and their fees through indies first.



Starbreeze is teetering.

In other news, recent events indicate that The Walking Dead is not a sure-fire gaming IP.


That spiraled quickly.


Uh oh, insider trading accusations.


I don’t care for most of their stuff, but Brothers is brilliant.



Interesting data point.