After 2 years of development, about a year of part time work and another of full time work, CAPSIZED is released! April 29th on Steam, coming to Direct2Drive and GamersGate in the next few weeks.
The response so far has been great – but I’ve definitely noticed problems with how we launch the game, and possible small design mistakes. I think we player tested enough that we delivered a really solid product that all the players can go through and enjoy, but there were a number of things that could have been changed that I think would have given a better response from the public. Maybe I’ll put it all in a postmodern some day – an article focused on Capsized development and it’s player testing (having Ian Livingston help us with playtesting was incredibly helpful, I can’t imagine what Capsized would have been without his help). One of the biggest issues that we’ve seen from reviewers and player response has been the controls – I was able to add keyboard remapping right before release (about 5-10 days before release actually), but there was a lot of people frustrated with how we mapped the gamepad controls (I think maybe we should have heavily suggested to try keyboard+mouse first, as thats how the game was designed).
The other thing I learnt about releasing a game like this is how to properly deal with the media. When a release date was set, as April 29th, we sent out the video interview to a number of news sites along with a review code for them to try. We only gave them about 4-5 days notice, so basically none of them could get their review out for the launch date. I think for our next project I am going to definitely send review codes early, then ask the media to only release their review on the release day. This way we can have a large news day with Capsized seen everywhere.
There was one issue I had with the media though. I had one reviewer email me after the video interview was done asking for a code, he was from a small indie games site so I sent it to him. I usually just sent a review code to whoever asked hoping to get publicity everywhere. But, unfortunately with this reviewer, he immediately posted pretty wherever he could that he had received a review code and was trying the game. He was expecting a metroidvania style game, and when he didn’t get that he really disliked the game. So despite me asking for reviewers to not discuss the game before it’s release, he ended up complaining about the game on twitter account, posting comments on all these news sites about his experience with the game basically wherever it was mentioned, and released his scathing review. So when Capsized was released, the guy’s review from a small site was the only one out there. I am still bitter about this – bad reviews of the game don’t bother me, but an early reviewer like this has to understand the impact they are having when they are speaking about a game publicly like that. I enjoy reading reviews whether they are good or bad, but this person posting their early review wherever they could really pissed me off – I’ll have to be more careful about sending to reviewers early in the future
That did seem to be the main complaint with some players – when they saw the screenshots and media they thought it was going to be a metroidvania inspried game. But when they played it they found more FPS inspriations. So rather than judging the game for what it was going for, they judge it based on what they originally thought it was, which I think does make sense and would give a bad initial imperssion. I think this shows something we made a mistake on in the marketing – we should have been more clear on what the game was so players like this trying it would know what to expect. Besides that the response has been really good, we’ve got a good player base, and I hope me and Jesse can keep releasing quality products like this within a good time frame.
Interview with me and Jesse we did at SXSW: