To me, 2021 was similar to 2020 in many ways.
They’re both years marked with the beginning of TavroxGames, and the release of our first game. But they’re also two years where the pandemic wasn’t a logistical nightmare; more like a “when the fuck is this ending? nightmare”.
We try to make games in a society that is barely walking; while game companies are being bought for millions. Middle sized studio see an amazing gold rush while small companies still try to get their share of the cake. I think the video game industry is entering a bubble…. but let’s dive into 2021 for a few minutes…
In January 2021, we signed a deal with Goblinz Studio to create the DLC for their games, Legend of Keepers. I’m glad this collaboration is going pretty well!
Around March 2021, we released Neurodeck. That was a blast! All of this work coming to an end felt really good. But the pandemic also made it very exhausting ; we were 4 months after the beginning of the covid 19. The beginning of a 2nd wave teached us that it wasn’t a 1 time thing.
The game made okay financially in the first few weeks, but it received enough negative reviews to push it into mixed reviews (<70%). Some people like it, some people dislike it, but the game is too much in the middle to stand out.
Here’s a few reasons why people dislike it:
- It doesn’t have enough content compared to its competitors
- The narration and story is awkward, can be interpreted in both positive and very negative ways
- The gamefeel isn’t good enough
And why some people like it:
- The animations are amazing
- The game is trying to tell something and give a mood
And what I learned to make the next game better:
- Identify how to make the most of content while not spending too much on production
- Investing on updates need a clear identification on what you should improve, and it IS the time to take risks and make big changes
- Releasing a game in an OK state leads to an OK reception ; but at least it’s shipped and that’s awesome.
April-July were a bit harsh: we had to re-invest money and to try and get the game back in positive reviews. We did reinvest around 10k for efforts that today have a very “average” impact… We also invested time and a prototype that never saw the light of day (Tacticards, a roguelike mixing tactical & cards) because the game was too ambitious for our money & skills capacity.
Summer 2021 was full of life: we worked on a new prototype called Match on The Nile! The pre-production was going really well. Alas, in August 2021 I rapidly see that the game wouldn’t work.
In September 2021, I decided to go back on making contract work; but also create a new venture for them. The awesome Benjamin Dimanche joined me to create http://metagether.com/ ; our video game marketing agency!
Around October 2021, I fired my first employee. It was very harsh and I tried to do the best. I cannot complain about it, even if it was hard. In respect to all workers, and me being an avid reader of /r/antiwork ; I just hope I made the transition as best as possible.
In November 2021, we also saw the Switch Release of Neurodeck. I’m glad it came out, but to be honest the release was a bit rocky, and the game not doing well both financially and in reviews is a bummer. I like the game, I could have made better but I really want to translate the experience gained into a new game.
December 2021 is a bit weird: we’re in an OK financial position, we have new projects but I have no idea what will be 2022. The current optics are between a crappy year with layoffs to amazing new projects already on the go. Very weird. We cancelled Match On The Nile but our new projects are much more appaling to people outside the company!
I guess see you in 2022 to see how all of this goes!