The usual route for young upcoming game developers is to first launch their game on Steam, and if successful there, go on and try to get the game released with one of the major console gatekeepers.
Norwegian-developed Flem from Henchman & Goon is an exception to that rule. Their latest game, Flem, has just been released on Steam, but only after the game has already been out for a while on Sony’s PlayStation Network.
However, the way Flem launched on PSN was actually not an ideal situation. “We had initially hoped to get on the Vita through PSN, but ended up going for the cheaper alternative of PlayStation Mobile,” game designer Henrik Mowatt Haugland tells Nordic Game Bits. “This let us publish Flem for free on the Vita, but sadly to a much smaller market”
However, with the Steam version of the game finally ready, Haugland tells that the studio is hoping to reach a much bigger audience when releasing on the leading digital distribution platform for pc games.
The reason for starting with PSN as the target platform came from the character of the game itself. “It was intended as a game that could be enjoyed in short challenging bursts, the type of game that would suit a handheld console,” Haugland explains.
So we decided to make a version for the PlayStation Vita, a console that at the time had a growing user base and a lack of games similar to Flem
Haugland tells Nordic Game Bits that the team chose to launch on a single platform to begin with because Henchman & Goon is a pretty small studio. “Targeting multiple platforms at launch can be extra difficult, especially for a small studio like us, when each version of the game needs to be tailored for its intended platform.”
In what looks like a recent tendency in Norwegian game development, Flem is also the result of a game jam. Just like Orbit, which we wrote about only days ago, Flem began its life as a quickly developed prototype. This time as the result of a charity game jam that called for games inspired by classic 8-bit Nintendo games.
“We went for an old-school tough-as-nails 2d platformer and made the player character into a pixel slime, for no specific reason,” Haugland says. “When we later expanded the prototype into our first fully fledged game, we liked the idea that the slime was actually a booger ball so we just went with it. The retro theme appealed to us, as we all had fond childhood memories of these types of games and we also felt the style was the right fit for the old-school gameplay feel we wanted.”
Henchman & Goon is an independent game studio based in Bergen, Norway. The company was founded in August 2012 as a mix of former students and a few freelancers, united by the ultimate goal of creating and selling their own games. Starting out with mostly contract work in the form of illustrations, animations, apps and more, the company has gone through some changes over the years and now consist of four core members.