We started a greenlight campaign for Syndrome on September 30th. It was approved on October 8th.
We’re very happy with the overall experience: approval was fast, and a lot of folks got to know about the game.
So what exactly did we do?
The best way to show the game is through video. Screenshots are good, but video is obviously the best media. We wanted to make a cool trailer that showed what the game was about, but without being too long so it didn’t become boring.
After recording a lot of footage and rendering dozens of versions, we were happy with the trailer. It showed the environment of the game and the overall feeling that we want to convey – survival horror with some action, without turning the game into a first person shooter.
2. Concentrated PR
We used a PR agency (Evolve) to send the trailer, screenshots and game description to the press a couple of days earlier, so that the news would come out on the Greenlight launch day.
Our partner Bigmoon Entertainment (which is working on the console version) used another PR agency (Plan of Attack) to announce the game on the same day, on another region.
This brought a lot of attention to our Greenlight page. After 24 hours, we were ~45% to the top 100.
3. Social Media
It’s obvious, but still worth noting. Social media is a powerful tool. We got a lot of traffic from Facebook and Twitter.
If your game / company already has a community, the exposure will be golden.
4. Steam Groups
There are thousands of Steam collections (game lists) focused on different game genres.
We searched for collections (Horror, Sci-fi, Survival, Greenlight) that could be interested in Syndrome, and sent them a small description and link to our Greenlight page.
Many of them were interested and added Syndrome to their collections, bringing more visitors to our page.
Did all this work?
As you can see above, Syndrome did very well. We were getting more ‘Yes’ votes than the #5 and #10 items.
The ‘Yes’ / ‘No’ percentage was very good.
The average of the top 50 is currently (as I write this) at 32% ‘Yes’ / 68% ‘No’
And here you can see the votes during the week. Notice the higher numbers on the first two days (PR announcements and Greenlight launch) and a slow decline in the following days. On October 3rd we started contacting Steam collections, which brought more visitors to our page.
We were approved on October 8th, so the graphic drops there as there were no more votes.
Summing up, it all comes down to having a good presentation for your game (if possible, an awesome trailer), and letting people know that it exists.
But don’t be a spammer, people hate spammers
We’ve recently announced our latest project, a survival horror game called Sleepers.
Sleepers is one of these games that has a very strong focus on the narrative. We don’t want to create a game where the player is simply running away from a beast or killing zombies wielding a Beretta in each hand.
What we want is the player to feel emotionally attached to the story, while trying to find out what happened, and later doing what needs to be done. The story itself is horrifying, and perhaps more scarier than all the abominations that the player will find in the game.
That’s what we’re trying to achieve here: not just visual horror, but also psychological horror.
As you may or may not know, the game takes place aboard a spaceship in a futuristic setting.
Why did we choose this setting?
First of all, we are all sci-fi nerds in the team. Just look at our latest titles ?
But mostly because the idea of being trapped in a ship, just by itself, is horrifying. Of course the same can be said about a base in the arctic, or a house in a haunted forest, but the notion of being locked in a place where there’s nothing but the void around you, is terrifying.
Add all the insanity that’s going to happen to the player during the game, and we’ve got a true nightmare setting.
The ship is really big. It’s supposed to be in space for months during its travels, so it has all the necessary infrastructures for the crew to hold on so long far from home: sleeping quarters, mess halls, gym, cinema, lounges, medical bays, prison, pool, conference rooms among others, plus all the mechanical and electronic systems of the ship. These are all spread among 8 levels that the player will need to explore.
The ship has open (and more vulnerable) areas, but it also has tight spaces that can be useful to move quietly between certain sections.
You can see an example of each below:
We just got back from Comic Con Portugal!
It was a great show and we had a great time there with fellow Portuguese developers.
Besides walking around with stormtroopers and zombies (which is always a great thing), we had the chance to check out projects from other teams. Really good stuff and great talent there! It’s exciting to see the game dev scene building momentum in Portugal.
And of course we also brought our latest project there too.
A lot of folks tried Mechs & Mercs, and gave us precious feedback about the game. It was great to chat personally with players, explaining the game and what to expect with the release.
We were feeling a bit like zombies ourselves by the end of Sunday, but it was nothing that a good day of rest couldn’t solve.
It was a great experience, and we hope we’ll be there next year!
We’ve been (extremely) busy polishing the game and testing and polishing and balancing and polishing, and we have great stuff to show very soon!
In the meantime, have a look at two of the minor factions of the game:
The RGC (Revati Global Corporation) Tech-Guards and the Eternal Life Cultists.
The Tech-Guards are advanced soldiers boasting expensive equipment and implants. Some say that they’re already more machine than human.
The Eternal Life Cultists are religious fanatics that fight with righteous fury, stopping at nothing in the name of their fate.
Both are fighting for the control of planet Thora.
One of them can be your ally. The other will be your enemy. Who will you support?
In the first two images, a Tech-Guard squad. Below, a Cultist squad and a groups of Cultists.
We can’t say the exact release date, but it’s coming out in November
We just got back from Gamescom, our first time there. It was a long trip, but we had a lot of fun. Besides meeting fellow developers and checking the insanity of the AAA booths, there was also the excitement of checking Mechs & Mercs displayed on Kalypso’s public booth.
There were always a lot of folks around there checking the games, so a lot of people got to see and try the game.
We were told that it gets crazy in the weekend, when most of the people shows up. We didn’t actually saw it because we left on Friday, but it’s hard to imagine it getting crazier than this:
(sometimes it looks like the subway on rush hour)
Also, great cosplayers there. Great stuff:
It was a great show and a great experience.
Can’t wait for the next!
“Celebrate the games!”
Today we spent the whole day at the Microsoft Game Dev Camp.
I must say that we had a great time there!
Kudos for Microsoft for hosting this event.
We had the chance to meet great people and find out about exciting projects being developed in Portugal.
It’s really inspiring to meet new teams and see how the industry is growing step by step in this corner of the world.
Unfortunately there aren’t many game dev events in Portugal, so it’s always exciting when something like this takes place.
The sessions were very cool, with the speakers giving insights about different areas: Development, Game Design, Visual Arts, Go Big (marketing, tactics and production) and Inspire.
We also showed “Mechs & Mercs” on the demo area, and the reception was really good! It’s very useful to get feedback from fellow developers.
And finally, it’s great to see the support that Microsoft is giving to indie development.
We can’t wait to publish our first title on the next-gen consoles
- Ricardo Cesteiro
In our last post we covered planet Thulkan, one of the five planets where the action takes place in “Black Talons”.
Today we’re covering the ice planet Uver, home of the ULA (Uver Liberation Army) and the Santos’ Raiders.
Uver once belonged to a powerful noble house of Oberon system – House Nuxos. The financial and military decay of House Nuxos eventually led to a rebellion that ended with the nobles murdered in the capital city.
Since that day, there has never been peace on Uver.
The war of the seven began, opposing seven powerful warlords fighting for the supremacy of the planet.
The conflict only came to an end when Colonel Santos arrived with his regiment, defeating the weakened armies of the warlords.
The warlords have called a truce between them, and are now united against Santos and his occupying force.
Uver is covered with ice from the poles to the hemispheres, with temperatures ranging from cold to instant freezing. The warmer areas are also the most disputed, with constant battles opposing the ULA and Santos’ raiders.
Below some shots of the frozen plains of Uver:
White plains is pretty much the usual sight for all Uverians. Luckily there are a lot of explosions to bring some color to their dull planet.
- Ricardo Cesteiro
In today’s post, we want to talk about the environments in Black Talons.
As you (may) already know , there are five planets on the Oberon system, each with its own environment and characteristics.
The first that we’re covering is Thulkan, jungle planet home to House Leonis, the last noble house in the system.
Thulkan is a moist planet, full of rivers and swamps. It’s said that the vegetation on Thulkan grows so quickly and so agressively, that and outpost can disappear in 24 hours if left unattended, swallowed by bushes and trees.
This makes construction and expansion very difficult on the planet, but brings a great advantage for anyone trying to stay out of sight (provided he can survive in the harsh jungles).
The dense vegetation can be used by infantry, as it provides basic cover and concealment. Unfortunately it’s also harder to find proper construction zones, where bunkers and turrets can be deployed.
You can see below 3 images of different areas of Thulkan.
Looks like a lovely place, right? As long as you bring enough bug repellent with you, that is.
- Ricardo Cesteiro
It’s been a while since our last “Black Talons” development update.
We’ve been working 200% on the game: adding content, polishing and fixing bugs.
The game has made a gigantic leap since the beginning of the year – all content added, we’re now polishing and perfecting everything to create the experience that we envisioned from the beginning.
One thing that’s been really important to us is to immerse the player in the game. We don’t want the player to just play some battles with lots of gunfire and explosions. Sure, these are cool, but we want to have these little details that make you feel like you’re part of this universe.
A very important part of Black Talons is the Battlecruiser. Like we’ve said before, the Battlecruiser serves as the HQ of the mercenary company.
The original plan was to use a battlecruiser from Gemini Wars. Not because we wanted to go the “easier way” and reuse assets, but because it made sense, as the action in Black Talons and Gemini Wars takes place in the same universe.
But ultimately we decided to create a new ship from scratch. We wanted the Battlecruiser to feel powerful and unique, a mobile stronghold capable of unleashing destruction on its enemies.
And so we present you the “Paladin”, center of the action on Black Talons, and the place to make all decisions:
Below you can see a couple more screenshots. A dropship approaching an unguarded LZ and a squad of soldiers making a brave stand.. but probably about to be shredded to pieces.
If you watch closely, you can see that some of the soldiers are equipped with shotguns. That tells us that this is an Assault Squad, specialized in close quarters combat.
Want to know what happened to these soldiers? Then stay tuned for the next post!
(we probably won’t mention them again, but we have much more exciting stuff to share!)
- Ricardo Cesteiro
Today we bring news from the Camel forge.
Aside from all the gameplay and “under the hood” work, we’ve been building two sections of the Battlecruiser that weren’t complete yet: the bar and the barracks.
Today we’re covering the bar.
The bar is where the crew goes to chill, and other folks go to do business.
Throughout the campaign, the player will make new allies and meet new contacts. Allied factions will send a representative to the Battlecruiser, who will be able to provide specialist units and equipment… for a price. These representatives will remain in the bar, waiting for any business opportunities.
So if you’re looking for special units and powerful weapons for your mechs, maybe you should go have a drink the bar.
(image is work in progress)
We’ll be covering the barracks next, stay tuned for more news