After 10 months of development, the pre-alpha version of Mythos The Awakening by Finnish Blackland Games flew through Steam Greenlight in only 7 days.
Blackland Games was founded in 2013 by university students Niko Arvilommi, Tero Kuparinen and Topi Koponen. The three Finns decided to found their own company after showcasing an early build of a game called “The Awakening” during the DigiExpo event in Finland in 2013.
That game, which has now passed Steam’s Greenlight gates, has since turned into a turn-based RPG inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s horror fiction stories, combining boardgame-like mechanics with roguelike gameplay.
The studio has not received any funding yet, but has since 2013 lived off of subcontracting work while they develop their own IPs on the sideline.
“Most of the times I personally continue working on our own IPs at night at home when there are subcontracting jobs to handle during the day.”, Blackland Games CEO, Niko Arvilommi says to Nordic Game Bits.
So far, the studio has released one game; a mobile title called Planetary Guard: Defender. The game was released in 2013 on both Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry, but never really became a huge financial success, Arvilommi says, as he explains why the studio have decided to move from mobile to PC with Mythos The Awakening.
He says there are two reasons for the move:
“First of all, even though we released and published Planetary Guard: Defender on mobile, the game itself hasn’t turned out to be a financial success. This is despite the fact that the game is localized to and published in the Chinese markets and has received over 250k downloads globally.”
Secondly, he says, the team has always wanted to make premium games. And as it just so happens, premium games tend to not do all too well on mobile platforms.
According to Arvilommi, developing free to play titles for mobile require you, as a game developer, to alter your game design and optimize the game for highest possible retention. Although this mindset helps you develop a game that is optimized for monetization, in many cases it will make for a worse end-user experience when playing the game.
“We want make games that have a natural difficulty level and not designed by free to download methods. When designing non Free to Download games it’s wiser to start with the PC markets.”, Arvilommi says.
Moving to the PC platforms have been a pleasant experience for Blackland Games, and Arvilommi says that the transition has been very smooth for the entire 5-man team at Blackland Games.
“I am glad that we don’t need to consider the Free to Download market In-app designs. Instead, we can just concentrate on making the game. Also, the freedom what comes to size of memory and processors is a great relieve because naturally PCs have more memory and more processor power to use.”, Arvilommi explains.
With that said, however, moving to PC certainly didn’t make it easier for the small team to acquire funding in a country where free to play and mobile is dominating nearly the entire industry.
“Because everybody thinks Mobile first these days, it’s REALLY hard to get funding for PC/Console development if you are not already a big name in the industry.”.
Getting Greenlit in 7 days is an achievement only a few Nordic game developers can brag about. And although there are no golden rule to getting Greenlit quickly, Blackland Games have four general tips for their fellow Nordic game developers when it comes to Steam Greenlight:
- Get your game as ready as possible before arriving on Greenlight, so that you can create awesome video and screenshots.
- Be Active! Answer and react to the comments of the community. Also, remember thank them personally if you can.
- Update and show the community you are caring about the game.
- Use a noticeable icon!
Despite the quick turnaround on Greenlight, the team is having a hard time converting these helpful voters on Steam to funders of the Indiegogo campaign for the game, Arvilommi reveals.
The campaign currently stands at €708 out of the €80,000 goal, with only 12 days left to go. The studio is therefore in urgent need of a helping hand if the game is to be released in 2015, Arvilommi concludes.
“We have put so much effort (10 months), soul, and money into it, so we would love to see it published no matter what. But one thing is sure; the development will slow down drastically and we cannot promise any release dates or even early access if we don’t reach the goal. So we really need that funding to finish the game.”