The Busiest Week of Our God Damned Lives
We haven’t posted for a bit, and I don’t think Lottie is going to manage a sprint update this week unless she works over the weekend which she definitely ain’t doing, so I wanted to talk about what’s been happening. It’s a lot.
MONDAY was when the London Games Festival began, and Claire and Lottie started doing the four? five? panels they’re on over the course of the week.
TUESDAY we launched Cultist Simulator on iOS and Android, in partnership with Playdigious. Normally, doing a launch in the same week as anything else would be flat insane, but ‘in partnership with Playdigious’ means they handled the port to mobile and are doing all the technical support – plus a bunch of vital marketing and logistical support – so we had, relatively speaking, a back seat.
So far, it’s gone very well AS FAR AS I CAN TELL. We’re currently a 4.8/4.9 stars on 500+ reviews on both iOS and Android, which is a hell of a relief given how hard I thought people might bounce off it (and a big vote of confidence in Playdigious, who reworked and polished the UI wonderfully for phones). The sales numbers are still coming in but we’re #2 top paid app on Google Play in 78 countries, Apple gave us a Game of the Day feature (thank you!) and Playdigious, who have a much better sense of the mobile market, say it’s looking good. We’ll do a retrospective as usual with as much info as we can share.
WEDNESDAY Claire and I went off to the Games Finance Market to talk to more moneyed folk about funding for our new projects. (Why are we looking for finance? We’re doing well, aren’t we, and we just had a successful mobile launch? We are, and we did, but one of the two projects we have in mind is quite ambitious and not Kickstarter-friendly, and we’re thinking three to five years ahead.)
Then I met Lottie to do a panel with some other devs at the Apple Store, and then we all went off to the BAFTAs pre-party in the Science Museum. I shook Lucas Pope’s hand and told him his work was an inspiration and he looked embarrassed and sipped water. I learnt from Matt Davis of Subset that he and Justin Ma made FTL – FTL! – in eighteen months and got very cross because come on guys stop making the rest of us look incompetent. And I finally got to meet the irrepressible Adele Cutting, who did the audio for Cultist.
THURSDAY Claire and I went to the Games Finance Market again and then all three of us went to the BAFTA ceremony in the evening, cos we had nominations for Debut Game and for Innovation. Did we win? OF COURSE WE DIDN’T WIN ARE YOU KIDDING ME DID YOU SEE THE COMPETITION WE WERE UP AGAINST AT LEAST THREE ACTUAL GENIUSES AND ALSO LITERALLY NINTENDO. But we got our impenetrable niche game up on the big screen next to all those other big games and I think it was probably the most professionally validating five minutes of our existence. And Claire wore a top hat.
FRIDAY is Rezzed. Lottie and Claire both have more panels, I really need to catch up with folk I haven’t seen yet, and then I have to go be Lottie’s arm-candy at another party cos she’s just been named as one of the Most Influential 100 Women in Games in the UK because, and let me drop the jocular tone now, she has spent years deploying her formidable abilities in the service of being kind and helping people. I’m savagely proud to see this recognised.
OH and we hired two new folk, who’ll be starting in May and June respectively. We’re still going through the process for the writing role, but we have our engineers. Thank you to everyone who replied!
That’s it, but it’s a lot, and it was only a week on from GDC. If you’ve sent us an email, we’re likely to be catching up with all that next week. Thank you for your patience: I’m looking the hell forward to the weekend.
4 comments on The Busiest Week of Our God Damned Lives
Claire wore a top hat, but did you wear capes?
I feel sorry for the new hires, since it seems the fatal flaw of this game was Alexis being a diva.
If there is one sentence from the review section on Steam that summed up the whole experience of reading about and playing the game for me, it would be this: “It’s a good idea executed really badly, largely due to lack of concern for player experience.”
This was a game made for a single person, not players in general. A feeling reinforced by reading that a certain someone took negative reviews personally because “they just don’t get it / it’s not for the likes of them.” Or the submissive and defeated mention in one interview with his partner that everyone else understood the difference a basic tutorial could make and advocated for that, but Alexis stood firm until everyone else caved in and ‘realised’ it was a good idea. (It’s not.)
Sometimes, genius can flow unfiltered and be a beautiful thing. More often than not, it needs to be guided and shaped by others outside the ego. If this game had been taken to Final and then Alexis was sent to Siberia for a month or two so the rest of the team could turn a vanity project into an actual game for players, the results could have been world-changing. I’m still hoping for some kind of 1.5 release where something like that happens.
More than that, I hope someone with the wherewithal to stand up to him and say ‘no, cut your crap and listen’ joins the team. The genius and talent of Alexis is being wasted by the egomania and narrow vision of Alexis.