Another month, another indie game developer achievement. These small gaming companies don’t have it easy, and most of them are left unnoticed and unlikely to become anything great. So it’s exciting when games like Firewatch, developed by Campo Santo and published by Panic, become smash hits. In a new blog entry by Panic, one of the publisher’s co-founders describe what the month following the game’s release has been like. If you want to know more about the game, you can always read our review.
Cabel’s post was rather straight-forward. “I can’t lie — my stomach was a wreck as launch day approached. Butterflies to the extreme, the kind of butterflies that keep you in bed a little too long, the kind I’m well familiar with whenever I tackle the unknown.” Further down in the blog entry, we learn that the company covered its budget on the same day Firewatch went on sale.
Last month, we saw the sparkling success of Jonathan Blow’s The Witness. In one week it reached the same sales figures that the creator’s first game hit in an entire year. To those who scoff at independent game developers, know that with no prior reputation, Firewatch sold half a million digital copies. Not shipments, like we hear with boxed game copies, but actual game sales. For a game sold at $20, that number is a huge achievement, though perhaps not as impressive as The Witness, which did very well at double that price.
Regardless, seeing these small game developers making the big bucks is not only a good thing for them, but also for the whole industry. Great games developed by creative individuals on a rather tight budget are rare, but they’re certain to inspire future developers. As you’d expect, the team seems to have been celebrating the success in a suitable fashion. Cabel ends the blog post in an emotional light, portraying how the team had a few drinks together with everyone feeling the elation of “ … actually having done it … ” It also seems we might be lucky enough to see more from the team. Sean Vanaman, the writer of Firewatch, apparently told Cabel that they should “do this again.”
For anyone looking out for game patches to keep the game running smoothly, Cabel says there’s plenty of that on the horizon.
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