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Today marks the release of the PC-version of the popular mobile title Out There. This indie game, created by a duet of developers Michael Peiffert and Fibre Tigre, received numerous awards and achieved enormous success, selling over 300k copies. With the PC version game creators are trying to reach out to new audience.
How do you guys feel like before the upcoming release?
Well, it feels like a roller coaster really. We can feel pretty confident then cry like a baby a minute later. This will be our first steps in PC gaming and the expectations are high. We don’t want to disappoint. It’s quite risky as Out There comes from mobiles. A lot of developers before us got crushed by the Steam community because of that.
Out There performed incredible for a small indie title. 100k+ copies sold. What have you modified and changed in the PC-version of the game? What were the main problems with adapting the game to PCs? Did you have to change the visuals? What about the interface and the session length?
Actually, we moved 300K units since the last time we met. We didn’t want to make a straight port from the mobile version. As I said, PC gamers have higher expectations. First of all, we changed the game engine. We’ve moved from Corona SDK to Unity 3D. This decision was made primarily because Corona can’t build for PCs. Even if it took a lot of time rebuilding the game on Unity, it will allow us to port the game on virtually any platforms in the future.
Also, it was a good opportunity to remake all the graphics and use a bit of 3D and dynamic lightings. So, the biggest change is in the graphics. It was quite a challenge as 3D offers many ways of going nuts with particles and effects… But I wanted to keep the minimalist comics book approach of the original game, while adding more diversity and animations. For the landscapes you see when you land on planet, I’ve worked with Gwen, a digital painter. He made a dozen of dreamy landscapes that I’ve then animated and it looks amazing.
We’ve also worked toward the user interface to make it work on PC. For exemple, during the beta, users were complaining about having to drag resources around, which works quite well on a touch screen but becomes annoying with a mouse.
So we’ve added shortcuts and new buttons to automatize certain actions. In terms of contents, FibreTigre (game designer/writer) wrote 50 new interactive stories and new storyline leading to a new ending.
We’ve also worked together to add tiny new gameplay features here and there that makes the strategy even deeper. We’ve added 3 new crazy spaceships with different play styles.
Our composer Siddhartha, who made the original soundtrack, has recorded around 20 new beautiful tracks which can be listen to here. I’m really fond of Sid’s work, and the extended soundtrack adds so much more to the atmosphere.
How did you manage the whole production of your game? I know you’ve hired a new developer. Why did you choose this path?
The decision to hire a developer was made because neither Fibre of myself have the skills to do such task. I’ve spent 2 month almost full time to find a developer who could fit in the team and could take responsibility of the technical side of the development process. It was quite difficult but we found someone who handled all of that, so we’re quite relieved. Geff did a great job porting the game from Corona to Unity while keeping the same feeling. It was especially important that the galaxy generation was exactly like in the original game, as most of the gameplay balance depends on it.
Were you considering using voice-over for your game? Or was it nearly impossible to do with the amount of text you had in the game?
Out There is mostly an interactive fiction blended with resource management. I think reading the story rather than hearing it makes a big difference in the user’s experience. When you read, your imagination transforms the words into images. What’s wonderful is that only yourself can see those images. Which makes the game unique for each player. I don’t think it would work with voice-over. Don’t you think it’s boring to listen to an audio log you find in Bioshock for example? I do.
You’ve doing quite an interesting marketing strategy with your game. There are quite a lot of letsplayers playing your title. Are there some other ways to promote games for such a small company as yours?
During the development of Ω Edition, we’ve experimented with promotion. We’ve paid for advertising and worked with a PR, both weren’t effective. So we did it our way : contacting every journalist, youtuber on the planet, whatever their size, and gave them a game key. It’s up to them to decide if the game worth their time. Let’s Plays have become crucial in games marketing. Fortunately, our game is perfect for it as it tells a story and always put the players in unexpected situations and epic come backs when everything looks doomed. This makes good contents for let’s plays and watchers ask for more. I don’t think there is better way to promote your game nowadays.
How did you manage to pull your game through Steam Greenlight? Was it a difficult process? Have you talked with Valve already? Will they help you with the featuring?
One day before release, and I still didn’t get any communication with Valve. I have no idea if we’ll get featured. All I have is two fingers crossed. However, here’s the magic trick I used to get green lighted in 2 weeks: I’ve simply displayed a banner inside the mobile version of Out There announcing Omega Edition and pointing to the Greenlight page. With hundreds of thousands of players out there, it was quite effective.
Have you though about possible additional ways of promoting and disdtibuting of your game? Humble Bundle maybe? Maybe some other ways?
We are working with Humble for over a year now. They are cool people and are very important in our story. Thanks to them, we could make Android pre-order a reality back in 2013, during the development of the mobile version. Since then, they gave huge visibility to the game wether it was features in their store or including it into the Mobile Bundle. For the PC version, our collaboration got stronger as we’ve decided to work exclusively with them for pre-orders. The thing is there are thousand of digital stores and it’s quite impossible to deal with all of them for a tiny team. So we’re working with a distributor that will do just that. For a small percentage of sales revenue, they’ll put the game on all those stores and negotiate features and promotions with them directly. This is good for us because it could be substantial extra revenue without doing anything (except focusing on releasing the game).