Seizonrenda is only a few weeks out of the gate and I’ve already got some ideas for the next project. Nothing is final right now as things are very early into pre-production, but I think that I might be taking a break from the spherical playing field. Seizonrenda was dinged pretty hard for being too similar to an already popular PS3 title, so I think I’ll wait and let the fame die out a little before I start work on Seizonrenda II. Until the second invasion comes, I think that my next project might slow down the pace a little.
I am debating on 2D vs. 3D gameplay and settling on an art-style that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It will definitely look… different. I am working through some of the broad sweeping questions like:
- Should I have boss battles? Should they be pattern based?
- Side-scrolling 2D or 3D free form (ala: Other M, God of War, Diablo, etc..)
- How much story should there be? Text or spoken dialog?
- Should I focus on environmental puzzles, or make it simply about exploration and combat?
Story may play an important role in the game as well. I have an interesting alternate rendition of a classic tale that I’d like to put into video game form. I just don’t know if it makes sense to follow my ambition on this one. I have already decided that my next title will be a $1 game. It’s clear to me that games just don’t sell on the XBLIG Markplace unless they cost 80MSP. Cutting out the 5 all-time best selling games on XBLIG puts the sales numbers into more reasonable perspective, a number that wouldn’t begin to show a return on investment for the full game I’d like to make.
A very successful XBLIG title is likely to sell around 30k copies at 80MSP. What this means is that a hugely successful title can make you only around $18k, not exactly millionaire money. A more likely number for most games of decent quality is to sell around 5k copies, making around $3k. That equates to less than 1 months salary for a junior software engineer, and barely enough money for a senior engineer to sharpen the pencils on his desk.
I hate that I have to sit here and crunch numbers instead of just making the game I want, but I do have to consider how my time is spent and what is going to benefit me and my family the most. Some time ago, games were about making the best product that was possible for that time; for the hardware of that time. Now, games are about making the best product that your limited budgets can pay for. Games can always be better, but it doesn’t mean we have the money to make that happen.