Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Goodness

I am really looking forward to 2011. We have at least three games releasing this year! How crazy is that? Well, if they’re not delayed for some reason outside of our control, that is. First up, we have ATV Wild Ride releasing this month. I don’t have a release date yet, but I will share it with you once I know. After that, “Smoke” will be released for the DS sometime in the summer, I expect. And then, “Face” will come out late summer-ish, which is not for the DS! ;)

On December 9, I asked those interested in seeing Maximilian on DSiWare to comment on the blog post, saying that if we receive at least 1000 comments then we’ll bring it to DSiWare. So far, we have just over 400 comments. I will give it until January 9, to see what the final number is, but at this rate it looks very unlikely that we’ll receive 1000 legitimate votes for the game. This is sad, but also exactly why we asked for votes; to help us gauge whether development of the game would be financially wise or not. Honestly, if we can’t scrounge up at least 1000 votes in one month, it’s a fair sign that there aren’t enough people out there interested in the game, DSiWare, or both. I know I don’t have thousands of people visiting my blog, but Go Nintendo were kind enough to place a banner at the top of their site for many weeks, and even that did not drive enough people to vote.

Right now, we’re in heavy get-new-projects mode. There is one 3DS title that we’re in talks about with a publisher. It is a really cool game. It would be a conversion of an existing title, which we would bring to the 3DS. Let’s call it code-named “Planet”. In theory, we’re very close to signing this deal with the publisher. But, anything can happen in the world of business, so all we can do is hope everything stays its course and we sign it soon.

We’re also in talks with a couple of publishers regarding some value DS titles. Now, before you assume “value title” is synonymous with shovelware or crap, it doesn’t have to be that way. It depends on how you approach it. In my mind, the concept of a value title is a simple and fun game that costs less than a regular game. When you buy a DSiWare game for $8, for example, you are not expecting the same scope of game that you would buy at $29.99. They may be smaller in scope than games that cost $34.99 or $29.99, but that doesn’t mean they have to be any less fun or contain less quality work. Shantae, Dark Void Zero, and Cave Story are good examples of smaller scoped titles that are high quality in terms of craftsmanship and fun. Perhaps there are 10 levels instead of 15, or 4 characters instead of 8. Or perhaps it is a conversion of something that was developed for a different platform.

Now, why would anyone want to release value titles for the DS, right? Well, the market can create the need for publishers to consider these options. Value titles cost less to produce in terms of development costs, and the size of the cartridge that the game uses is smaller. So, instead of the development cost being 300,000 potatoes, it may cost just 100,000 potatoes due to the smaller scope of the game and/or leveraging of existing technology. Remember, this does not need to affect the quality of the title; just the size of it or perhaps the effort needed to complete the title (by leveraging existing assets). Also, instead of using a large cartridge that may cost the publisher 8 potatoes per cart to manufacture, a smaller cart may cost just 6 potatoes. Nice! So, we’ve managed to save a bunch of potatoes in development cost AND 2 potatoes PER CART by going with a smaller cartridge. If the first run of cartridges is 30,000 units, for example, that’s 30,000 multiplied by 2 potatoes, which is 60,000 potatoes in savings - based on the cart size alone! Plus, the 200,000 potatoes saved in development costs is a total savings of 260,000 potatoes. Very nice! However, due to the fact the game may sell for $19.99 or $14.99, there is less profit made on the sale of each game, but the hope is that more copies are sold due to the lower price. I know, I know; you don’t buy those lower priced titles anyway because you assume they’re all cheap crap. Fair enough. I am hesitant too. They usually are cheap crap. But, the majority of people who buy video games, on the DS and Wii anyway, are not hardcore gamers. They are casual gamers or parents, who do not perceive lower price as lower quality. The unfortunate reality is that many publishers take advantage of this and DO produce cheap crap. Sigh. I hope this evil practice ends eventually, but I know it won’t. Anywho, rest assured that if we sign on to develop a value title for the DS, our focus will be on producing a good game that is fun to play.

Here’s a quick question for you…

Which genre would you like to see Renegade Kid create for the DS?
  • First-Person Shooter
  • Third-Person Shooter
  • Vehicular Combat
  • 2D Platformer
  • 3D Platformer
  • Racing
  • Virtual Pet
Thanks. I hope you’re having a great day!