Michaël Samyn, May 8, 2012
We are not a commercially motivated studio. We are driven by artistic curiosity and a sense of obligation to explore a new medium on the one hand and create art that is relevant to our age on the other. But we have no interest in leaving the potential impact of our work solely up to chance. We want to reach as many people as possible. The fact that we know that only a small minority will actually enjoy what we make, makes this all the more important.
Since the major peak in sales is always at the launch of a game, it makes sense to attempt to maximize that peak. Not only for the sales on those days, but for the exponential effect on the rest of the sales of players spreading the word. The more sales a game has at launch time, the more it will have per day throughout its life time.
The few more artistic games that have done well commercially, all had extensive periods before launch in which people would be talking about the game. Sometimes this “hype” lasts over a year, before the game is released. A similar thing happens in the AAA sphere: games are talked about a lot a long time before they come out, and as soon as they have, the talking stops, the game disappears from the discussions.
Given this phenomena, it would make sense to sit on Bientôt l’été for a while before we release it. This is completely counter-intuitive. I’m eager to share my work with the world. But if I do this too early, apparently this world will be very small. I don’t mind as such, since Bientôt l’été is, strictly speaking, not a commercial game. But I think we should do our best to reach the biggest audience possible. If only to get the biggest possible amount of response, to inform our further evolution as artists and designers.
One could say that the “hyping” can already start now. In order to reach maximum potential by launch time. But that’s not how things seem to work in the indie sphere. Talking about a game only really takes off when the game looks and feels finished, through screenshots, videos and even playable versions. Anything else simply does not spread very far. And given the organic way in which we create our work, a representative version of Bientôt l’été will only exist on the day that it is finished.
I doubt if we will have the good sense to wait when the game is ready. It will have been a very long time since we published anything new. Surely we can all wait a bit longer. And yet, I can only imagine how eager we will be when Bientôt l’été is done.