Ted Murphy – the head of marketing at Re-Logic – talks about Terraria Otherworld – the newest game in the famous series. It’s an interesting chat about gamedev, indie and multiplatform development. – the newest game in the famous series. It’s an interesting chat about gamedev, indie and multiplatform development.
It’s always a pleasure to see an indie game rise far away above the competition and become one of the greatest. Just like Minecraft, Terraria managed to achieve this great accomplishment and become one of the most profitable indie games in the world. Recently the developers from Re-Logic announced a new game in the series – Terraria Otherworld. We’ve discussed this new product with Ted Murphy – the head of marketing at Re-Logic.
It all started off as an indie studio best known for Terraria, a 2D sandbox game that had huge success across multiple platforms: console, mobile, PC, Mac. Right now we’re working on Terraria Otherworld. It’s not a sequel, more of a spinoff with a different take on a well-known formula. Terraria is so wide open you can do anything you want, there’s no real goal. Otherworld gives you a goal in this instance, to save the world from the Corruption. It’s going to introduce RPG elements, quest lines, character development, leveling up of weapons as well as tower defense (strategy elements). So while you’re taking the world back from the Corruption, the Corruption is going to fight back against you. You can set up actual defenses. In Terraria, there were no real consequences.
Terraria 2 & Terraria Otherworld
Terraria 2 is still a thing, but not a thing right now. We have a ton of ideas about that. It will be more true to the core game, more of a sandbox style. I’m going to be clear, on Otherworld though you have goals and it’s more focused it’s still got that sandbox art. So you can approach it anyway you want to. You don’t have to do it one way, you can still dig up blocks, build traps, build your own house. All that stuff still applies. How you solve the challenge, is still up to you which is the heart of Terraria.
I think it’s going to feel like a good hybrid of both. For the core game, the core franchise (Terraria, and Terraria 2) the feeling was let’s stick to that formula. Let’s let Terraria 2 be the next evolution. Whereas, some people may not want their Terraria to have more focus. We think there’s a whole other side of gamers out there, who maybe they don’t play Terraria as much because it’s so open. I’ve heard of stories of people who drop in and say “what do I do? Here I am there’s some guide here, but he doesn’t really guide me” whereas on console they introduced a tutorial. There’s nothing like that on PC. Some gamers like having that extra direction and a reason for what they are doing (story arc). There will be some people who won’t like it as much but there will be some who will get pulled into the franchise with this experience and then we’ll follow up with Terraria 2 etc.
Working with Various Platforms
We’ve recently released on Windows Phone. On mobile and console we work with 505 Games as our publisher. The actual console porting is done by Engine Software which is the team we’re partnering with for Otherworld and then the mobile work is done by Code Blue. We don’t directly develop the mobile side or the console side, at least in regards to Terraria. We haven’t made decisions on console for Terraria yet. There’s a fairly decent chance that if we got here we’ll self publish and go our own road.
Publishers and Indies
If you think about publishers being a distribution system, then at least on PC/Mac no you probably don’t. For consoles and mobile it’s a little different. If you think about marketing, not just as a promotion but as feeding back into the game design, as what should we charge for this and maybe we shouldn’t be on Steam and we should charge in other places?
Marketing also from a business planning perspective, as a business it’s a game that’s a product. Too often the company and the game become the same thing and a lot of indies start of as a guy with a great idea or product. However, the business side of it is full of pitfalls and if you’re not careful and you don’t have the knowledge onboard whether it’s from a publisher or someone else you hire on yourself it’s easy to get taken advantage of by bigger companies or make mistakes that will cost you. It may not destroy your franchise but it will cost you.
It depends on the situation, who the company has on board. That’s why I think these companies get into this situation. It’s all about the product and that’s great, but if you’re not optimizing that for the people you’re selling to that’s an issue. We spent a lot of time developing community and building a long term relationship with gamers.
Terraria and Multiplayer
I think with so much to do from building to exploring, it’s so much more fun with friends. Its got so many different styles of play. I mean in my playthrough I like to build so I wind up being the guy who builds the base. Other people may be more into combat or exploration so here we are playing the same game but I’m doing what I want to do, and you’re doing what you want to do and then maybe you bring the materials back and I continue to build. It ends up being more of a team title game versus some kind of MMO. We’re all doing the same thing and work together to beat the boss. I think the higher level of appeal is the different gameplay types.
Premium Vs F2P
I don’t know if we’ve gone down that road on free-to-play. Our general model is to spend the time developing a completed game, a full game and not a game with a bunch of DLCs. It really is the way gaming used to be, almost a throwback where you walk in and pay your money and get a complete game. We’ve been pretty good as well on top of that complete game, bringing in updates that we don’t charge for. It’s the value perspective. What we hear most often from customers is that they think they should be paying more for it. We would rather make a product than sell a product, rather than relying on ads, things of that nature.