Status Update: Sales, Overhauls and Progress Reports!
Hey everypony! It feels like it’s been a while. We’ve been really busy with a few different things for the last few months, and I just wanted to take a minute to give some updates on what the heck we’ve been up to since the last time we posted here.
Because We May
"We rely on the ability to promote our games for our livelihood and control over pricing is an important tool for this purpose."
While some distribution platforms give game makers a fair amount of control over the pricing, there are still many platforms that are far too closed and tightly controlled to allow things like that to happen (or worse, they can just make all the price changes themselves without even consulting the game maker). This sale is an opportunity to give our audience a little peek into the biz of running a small game company and hopefully expand our audience at the same time.
The most interesting thing about the sale (to me) is that it is an “open” sale. Any independent game maker with a game on sale on a platform that gives them pricing control can join in the promotion; some developers are even raising the price when they join! There’s more info about signing up to be part of the promotion here.
Canabalt is our only game participating in the Because We May promotion, and is priced at $0.99 for the next week. This is only the second time that Canabalt has gone on sale; while it may go on sale again in the future, it won’t be anytime soon. So this is a good time to spread the word!
The Canabalt Update
"I got this game a couple of years ago and feel it would be great if they added some gamecenter achievements." (via “dogface”, TouchArcade front page comments)
"It needed updating in all sorts of ways ages ago." (via “jonathanjk”, TouchArcade front page comments)
For once, chaps, I totally agree with you. Canabalt is (maybe obviously) a special game for me - it is my “business card” game - the one game I made that many people have actually heard of, or actually care about. It’s also a game that doesn’t have a whole lot of moving parts or ingredients; messing with one piece of the game tends to have drastic consequences across the game as a whole. For these two reasons I have been really reluctant to update it just for the sake of updating it. Generally speaking, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
On top of that, we are a very small company, and we have been working very hard on creating an entirely new iPad game that we think you all will really love (more on that below), which hasn’t left as much time for doing support, maintenance and updates as we hoped.
A few months ago I finally started getting some ideas. Finances were a bit tight so I was doing a design exercise in my head: what would Canabalt 2 be like? That’s the obvious, easy money-maker in our stable of games. Well, probably it would be a bit more cinematic, maybe throw in some slow-motion here and there… but that doesn’t really justify a sequel on it’s own, does it? I knew I didn’t want to add guns or double jumps or whatever. The rest of the endless runners pretty much have the “buy in-game hats with real money” market cornered. So what’s a designer to do?
Sometimes the best answers are the most obvious (after the fact). In the case of Canabalt, the best way to explore the game is to take things away. Some twitter users aptly joked: “what, Canabalt without jumping?”
Well… what about Canabalt without rooftops?
Also, what if it is a free update for Canabalt, and not a standalone sequel? I don’t want to explain everything we have planned (yet), partly because some of it may not make the cut, or we may add some things at the last minute, but here are some of the planned features that are pretty concrete and/or already tested:
- Local Two Player Simultaneous/Cooperative mode
- Eight (!) New Hardcore Game Modes (and leaderboards)
- Game Center Achievements
There are some more hints scattered around my twitter feed if you know where to look (but no release date). Finally, ALL of these new features and gameplay modes will be part of a free update to the existing iOS version of the game, which, as we mentioned, is currently on sale for $0.99!
Like I mentioned a moment ago, the other thing we’re working on is this game Hundreds. Hundreds doesn’t really look or play like anything else on the App Store - we’ve got about 100 rounds, or levels, some of which are fantastically difficult, and a nice pile of secrets and unlocks built into the game now. However, like Canabalt, Hundreds is a game that doesn’t have a whole lot of moving parts or ingredients, so we’ve decided to take extra time to make sure that the few bits and pieces that ARE in there are as amazing as we can make them.
Thank you for being patient - this game means a lot to our whole team (led by Greg “aeiowu” Wohlwend, co-creator of Solipskier and the upcoming-and-brilliant Gasketball), we just don’t want to release it until it is Just Right. And it is getting very close, but it will probably not be ready for release until early August 2012 or even later. Thanks again for bearing with us on this one!