Editor’s Note: Our buddies at Kitfox Games have one thing particular on their arms with the upcoming Boyfriend Dungeon. We thought so much of people may be taught from their experiences so we invited them to write a visitor publish right here.
Tanya X. Short is the Captain of Kitfox Games. Kitfox Games not solely hosts its business video games like Moon Hunters and The Shrouded Isle on itch.io, typically for a reduction, but additionally hosts their jam video games totally free. She cannot wait to add Boyfriend Dungeon to itch.io when the time comes. Kitfox Games has been a vocal supporter of the itch.io ethos and objective, which is to assist and empower different and inclusive video games and their creators.
Boyfriend Dungeon has gotten… lots of consideration. More than any of our earlier video games. Press, followers, information, PAX, YouTubers, and so forth. It appeared prefer it “blew up” after we launched our Kickstarter on August fifteenth. In this crowded time, when there’s extra stunning and extra progressive video games than ever earlier than, it is laborious to get consideration, however we did it, this time.
I don’t need to waste your time bragging — it is not like Boyfriend Dungeon is the following Minecraft or something, loads of folks have nonetheless by no means heard of the sport — however I would like you to grasp:
- We labored laborious, hoping a “blow up” may occur.
- But most of that work is invisible to followers & friends. From the surface it seems to be like we simply sat there.
- We did not know if any of our efforts would work. Usually they do not.
- And that’s completely regular.
Overnight successes don’t exist, from what I’ve seen. There’s often years and years of labor behind the scenes after which MAYBE your recreation blows up, however largely not. Plenty of individuals work for years and their recreation nonetheless would not blow up — that is definitely what occurred for our earlier video games. I suppose it’s doable SOME recreation on the market loved in a single day success. Maybe they’d recreation thought, made that recreation, and loved sudden fame and prosperity. But that isn’t the story of Boyfriend Dungeon.
What do I imply by “worked hard”? I imply, even BEFORE all this nonsense prior to now month, our laborious work included:
- 5 years of constructing our neighborhood by way of high-quality social media, particularly Twitter (++visibility)
- prior releases of fairly cool video games, 10 on itch, 3 on Steam, one on GOG, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch (++legit)
- a earlier profitable Kickstarter with solely minor complaints from backers (++belief)
- we constructed an announcement teaser, Steam Coming Soon web page, and web site 11 months in the past and emailed all 3 to 300+ press (++visibility)
- we took that teaser and confirmed it at PAX South and PAX East alongside our different video games (++visibility)
- we have been sustaining and rising a Kitfox e-newsletter for 5 years at 12+ gaming occasions (++visibility)
- we recurrently settle for tons of interview requests, whether or not written, podcast, or video (++visibility)
- recurrently showing on panels, doing talks at conventions like GDC, and sharing data (++visibility and ++belief)
And that does not even begin on the precise work we put into the Kickstarter itself.
Sometimes folks ask coordinate their PR/advertising and marketing campaigns. So I’m going to attempt to write all of it down in a wise chronological wanting listing however actually it is a bit extra chaotic than this. But that is the way it went, typically:
- Rough-draft the Kickstarter web page, give you trailer thought
- We begin to enhance the elements of the sport (artwork, animations, options, menus, content material) that the trailer will use. This takes ceaselessly.
- We rent Sunder from Particle Beam to make a “magical transformation sequence” for Talwar
- We proceed enhancing the sport itself. We revamp the fight to be 12-directional, so this takes most of July. We do not have time to enhance all the things — so we choose and select to complete what is going to truly be proven within the trailer, and the remaining seems to be damaged.
- We resolve we’ll launch the Kickstarter August fifteenth (utilizing this methodology)
- We get our transformation sequence finalized (thanks Sunder!)
- We put a trailer rough-draft on the Kickstarter web page and ship it to 50+ buddies and mentors for his or her suggestions/opinions (begging for harsh honesty)
- We additionally extra shyly publish it in our Discord, to get neighborhood enter
- We enhance the timings, audio, content material, and tiers as wanted primarily based on suggestions (lots of our wordings had been complicated)
- Victoria, our neighborhood supervisor, begins hinting at a giant announcement on our social media channels and opens up a press listing join
- We publish the finalized trailer to YouTube in a personal/secret hyperlink
- Victoria emails 300+ press with the hyperlink to the trailer & Kickstarter, PLUS reveal information about our beforehand secret fifth weapon, Glaive and the mysterious cat determine, Pocket
- During this time, I am touring, giving a chat on inventive course in Taiwan?? I used to be very pressured about leaving throughout this delicate time, however I’ve an amazing staff that I belief…
- Victoria emails 300+ press once more with a reminder of our impending launch and new trailer and character reveal
- Victoria emails streamers & YouTubers in regards to the Kickstarter, in the event that they coated our previous video games, inviting them to speak about our Kickstarter when it launches
- We proceed enhancing the sport itself, as a result of now we have a PAX developing on the finish of August
- We maintain a launch livestream
- We press LAUNCH
- We make the trailer publicly seen
- Victoria posts our ‘official’ launch announcement on Discord, Twitter, FB, Instagram
- The staff and I every e-mail 100+ family and friends, publish on our private social media, and so forth
- We uncover that, this time, the hassle has all been value it and hey we bought some press protection and Twitter pleasure (Boyfriend Dungeon grew to become a trending matter at one level)
The fundamental level is that there is weeks or months of preparation, however lots of it was … sending 1000’s of emails, which clearly no one can simply see from the surface. We additionally spend hours crafting these press emails — debating the wording, choosing the right gif, having the most effective headline, and so forth. I suppose it was value it, this time. Or possibly we simply bought fortunate this time.
With hindsight bias, it is easy to say “in fact the sport would blow up, Boyfriend Dungeon is probably the most viral recreation thought you have ever had”! But… it is easy to really feel that, and be improper, after which hindsight bias says that was apparent, too. So… within the second, you are by no means certain. Even with our announcement trailer doing nicely 11 months in the past, we weren’t certain if it was a sluggish information day and a fluke. We went forward anyway, hoping.
So that is what we will maintain doing. We’ll maintain working laborious to remain seen and related. Maybe that is the height. It’s doable that by the point the sport comes out, all of this momentum will likely be misplaced and we’ll launch to silence and crickets.
But the chances are stacked in our favor, now. That’s the unfair cycle. The higher you do, the higher you do. I prefer to suppose that if I had steered Boyfriend Dungeon again in 2013 as a substitute of Shattered Planet, it will have “blown up” as a lot because it did now — in spite of everything, Hatoful Boyfriend got here out in English in 2012. But possibly with out these 5 years of labor, and our built-up neighborhood, and a butterfly that flapped its wings someplace, it simply could not have occurred. We’ll by no means know.
Anyway, I’m primarily a recreation designer and artistic director, not a marketer, so possibly that is all outdated information, however… I hope it helps somebody. Making recreation is difficult, and typically it may well really feel like you do not have the time or power to additionally do advertising and marketing on prime of that… however possibly this might help you channel what power you DO have into the appropriate issues.
The manner I see it, “advertising and marketing” is the chilly gross time period for simply attempting to get gamers to play my recreation. Not simply so Kitfox can survive financially in capitalism, however to make the sport itself worthwhile. It breaks my coronary heart when glorious, stunning video games simply do not get the popularity and a focus they deserve. It’d be nice if I may focus extra on the craft of recreation design.
So I’m going to shut out this publish with a sign enhance to some video games I feel are underrated and that everybody ought to go play, right here on itch.io:
Good luck, buddies <3