Copenhagen based indie studio, Chroma Studio, started working on their first title “e: Click Click BOOM!” less than a year ago. 9 months, a $300,000 invest from Capnova Games Invest, and 8 developers later, e: Click Click BOOM! is nearly ready for a global launch.
At the time of this writing, the unity-based mobile game has been soft launched on iOS and Android in Canada and Denmark. We sat down and talked with Chroma Studio CEO and producer, Tim Shepherd, about the challenges and preparations that goes into launching a game globally.
When publishing for mobile, one of the most common concerns is whether to try to attract a publisher, or simply just self-publish in all regions and on all platforms. For the team at Chroma Studio, the answer has been to self publish as plan A. Especially because, as Tim Shepherd explains, publishers often prefer to steer away from games that are too experimental or unique. ““e: Click, Click, BOOM!” is a pretty unique puzzle game and publishers don’t usually like taking risks on unproven gameplay.”, he explains.
Add to that, that the app-store competition is as fierce as ever before, and it may start to seem understandable why publisher play their cards safely. However, as Tim Shepherd explains,
It’s tough to stand out in this space/genre as it is, but we believe we have created a title which has the potential to be worth talking about 🙂
In order to develop and support a game of global mainstream appeal, a great team is needed. And for Chroma Studio, one of the biggest challenges has been to align the creative thoughts within the team, which has grown from one to eight in 9 months.
“While we have found our mojo now, as we scaled the team up we had some difficulties getting everyone aligned creatively and working toward a common vision.”, says Tim Shepherd.
Through trial and error, and in order to align the creative vision, while also making room for unique ideas, the team has therefore now implemented a “prototype first” policy for all new features, Tim Shepherd explains – comparing the policy to the concept of a mini game jam.
“We have adopted a ‘prototype first’ policy for new features, so our pipeline is a bit more like a mini game jam per feature. If it works the way we expect it to, it gets a full production pass. If not, we iterate on the prototype until it either does what it is intended to, or we throw it away.”
As with any new indie studio, marketing is important – especially when launching the first game under a yet unknown brand. Sadly, the marketing budget is often close to zero in many such studios. Chroma Studio is no exception, but as Tim Shepherd emphasizes to Nordic Game Bits,
The good thing about the free-to-play business model is that the launch is not everything. Indeed, growing an audience over time and fine-tuning the game is the best practice for this type of release. So while we don’t have the resources to get a million users overnight, we are prepared to grow quickly using other tools and community management channels.
While it may seem interesting from the outside, running a indie studio is not always simply fun and games, Tim Shepherd explains, and warns that being good at making games is not the same as being good at running a games company. “A personal challenge for me was learning that being good at making games is not the same as being good at running a games company. My advice to anyone thinking of starting a games company now is to get an experienced business person on the founding team to deal with the ‘non-creative’ side of things,” he says.
Looking into the future, Chroma Studio hopes to bring the adventure of their launch title’s main character, “E” to even more platforms, and hopefully thereby build up an entire franchise around the character. Very much like what Rovio has done with Angry Birds. “…So we are now working on ways to bring the story of E and his adventures to an audience through different mediums such as more games (better structured to tell story), web content and social media.”, Tim Shepherd explains.
Have you successfully / unsuccessfully launched a global game yourself? Or do you have any comments on the story of Chroma Studio? Let us know in the comment section below! 🙂