Inland Studios is pretty deep in the hole, and making any kind of profit on anything I’ve done thus far is pretty slim. I still plan to release Retribution on the PC with a number of tweaks and upgrades (HD PC resolutions, Mouse & Keyboard support, UI tweaks, bug fixes, no need for QRCodes on PC, and more), but I don’t expect it to move the needle much. I would love to be wrong though. I just haven’t seen much buzz around the game.
Most critics who contacted me during the development of Retribution have disappeared. They seemed to have just taken the download codes and run with them. The sites are still up but there is no mention of Retribution and there isn’t much of a response to my requests. It’s a pretty sad situation but I’m not going to pry any longer. The game is gone from the “New Releases” list which means that it’s lost in the obscurity of Xbox LIVE now.
I do have some ideas about what I’d like to do next, but I have some serious soul searching to do first. There are still a lot of questions to be answered, but the most important question is simple:
Is it worth it?
I need to search within myself and find out if I can go through the development process again, on my own or at all. After 10 or so years of doing this, it’s pretty clear that the games and developer products that I’ve created do not appeal to many people. Competition is stiff and it’s not enough to just have solid gameplay or a twist on an old idea. Gamers want it all, the gameplay, the story, the graphics, and an artistic appeal that is frankly beyond my skills; and they want it for free if they could. When asked if they’d rather have great gameplay or amazing graphics, the answer is always “both”.
It is entirely possible that the things I enjoy about games no longer appeal to the 21st century gamer. Video games have splintered so badly that you have to do everything to capture any kind of attention; Facebook and Twitter integration become mandatory items in the growing list of superfluous crap that needs to be in any viral game experience. Game mechanics continue to be stacked like a layered cake, stacked until the idea of “genre” is worthless. Now we have RTS, RPG, FPS, Adventuring Platform games rolled into one. How is one guy with no art skills and a code compiler supposed to appeal to people like that? How do you sell a hotdog to someone who eats steak for free?