Does it make sense to keep supporting five year old games? For some, it does.
Once a game is out the door, many developers can’t wait to get on to the next project. Working on the same game for several years and rounding it off with a solid crunch-period can make jumping into a new, fresh, project a very appealing idea.
But Finland’s Frozenbyte are not following that trend. This fall, they releases a new ‘Enchanted’ edition of the first of their games in the Trine series. A five year old game originally released way back in 2009. And a few months later, they will also released a level editor for Trine 1 as well as the sequel, Trine 2. All of this while a new game in the series, Trine 3, is in production.
One of the main reasons behind this, of course, is to be kind to the people who invested in your game, Kai Tuovinen from Frozenbyte explains to Nordic Game Bits. “We like to keep our players happy for long periods after they’ve bought our games,” he says. “if there are things that need fixing or improvement – we’ll do it, if it’s at all possible.”
But Frozenbyte has actually had a couple of other good reasons to keep working of their previous games. Tuovinen explains that because Frozenbyte uses their own technology and editor, it can take some time for new employees to get up to speed and really get acquainted with it. But recreating one of the older games can be a nice way to get an introduction to the tools within a reasonable scope.
“There’s no real way for anyone to train for some of these jobs outside of Frozenbyte, because nobody else uses these tools. So we used Trine Enchanted Edition also as a project to train new people in the use of our editor,” Tuovinen explains.
Regarding possible fatigue from working on the same projects, Tuovinen explains that since Frozenbyte currently has more than six different projects in various stages of production, they are able to let people move around between projects to make sure, that they don’t get fed up with one specific IP or game.
People who have worked on the same series for 5 years might want to do something different for a change, so we want to let them have a chance to do exactly that.
The latest Enhanced edition of the first Trine game was also released as a free update to those Steam-users, who had already purchased the original game. While this did not generate any additional income directly, Tuovinen explains that this also allowed them to collect a lot of bug reports, before releasing the Enchanced editon on consoles. But Frozenbyte also sees this as a way to keep the game interesting. “In general, updates are also a nice way of re-igniting some attention to our games,” Tuovinen says.’
According to Tuovinen, the attention to earlier releases is more about keeping players happy, than trying to ramp up attention for the series in preparation for the upcoming Trine 3.
In a way, I guess you could say that we’re also keeping the IP active for future releases, but more than that, it’s about ensuring that people are satisfied with their purchases
Trine Enchanced Edition is available on Steam, Wii U and PS4. Across all version, the series has sold more than 7 million copies!