When we released Nuclear Dawn in September, we did so uncertain of many things. There were so many facets of gameplay that were just not quite where we wanted them, and so much work left to do from our original designs. We got ready to be torn to shreds by critics, but still prayed for a chance to go on working on our project.
Instead, something much more wonderful, and much more devastating happened: people liked the game, but most never even heard of it.
Through the mandatory negative feedback and whistles of “you’re copying this” or “you’re copying that”, and a few obligatory “my niece makes better games”, most of the reviews came back with positive feedback, and a good range of opinions that understood and praised what we tried to do, and did not condemn where we failed.
We acquired a wonderful community that may be small, but truly cares about the game. We have seen some insane amounts of hours put into ND, and watching matches on public servers is a true pleasure, as the basic gameplay elements come to life in ways that we could never have anticipated ourselves.
Unfortunately, due to a series of bad decisions on our part, Nuclear Dawn did not get the exposure we were banking on. This is not the time or place to rail at greedy industry entrepreneurs, but always remember that you can sell your game on your own, and that marketing is best left to the professionals, not the other way around.
The devastating combination of fantastic player reception, and general industry apathy leave us today in a strange position, whenever we consider the future of the game.
It would be great to be faced with a clear-cut set of circumstances: “your game sucks, no one likes it, give up” would work. Even: “you have millions of fans, you must continue to develop ND, or they will wither away and die as their lives lose all meaning” would be acceptable. Instead we’re poking a dead elephant, hoping to divine the best course of action from the frequency and odour of its flatulence.
Wondering whether the world shouldn’t be a rosier place, we soldier on, preparing to take Nuclear Dawn to new heights with more content, patches and game features, and it’s easy to think that maybe failure truly is in the eye of the beholder. Working on our projects, and bringing their visions to life really is what this gig is all about. The chicks and screaming crowds are a distraction, and we’ll only be done when we’re done with this wonderful, heart-wrecking circus of an industry, not when it’s done with us.
And it’s such manly thoughts that make us smile, and have another go – who knows, the elephant may wake yet.