A little while ago I started work on a game called 'Wrong Dimension - The One Dimensional Platformer'. A strange, unique, and confusing game.
Naturally, I wanted to get it onto Steam.
When the game first came together, it looked like this:
Not very amazing. I put it on Greenlight, and it got smashed to bits. Mostly negative comments, and I didn't delete a single one. After about a week, seeing that almost everyone was saying just about the same things ("I cant tell whats going on", "Is this even a game?", etc) I pulled the game from greenlight determined to fix what was wrong with it. I spent almost a month just working on the game. Fixing it. Improving it.
I listened to what people said and tried to fix what was wrong.
When I had the new version ready, I went to Greenlight again.
The response was.... generally the same. Most people were ok with the fact that I relaunched since I kept my mouth shut and listened to people on the first time around. Even though people still didn't like the idea of the game, I felt that the visuals had improved a great deal, along with having added more mechanics to take advantage of the unique view, there wasn't much more I could change on a fundemental level. I knew I had fixed what was wrong with it, and couldn't fix everything people didn't like about it. After seeing the No votes rise, and the Yes votes stagnate, I resigned to the fact that my game would probably never make it onto Steam. I had heard horror stories about games being there for almsot a year, or not getting through, ever.
While I shouldn't have let it, it kind of put a damper on my mood, and I shamefully slacked on the Greenlight promotion a bit. I shouldn't have done this, but I want you readers to know exactly what happened, so you can see how a seemingly hopeless case still has a chance.
So here I was: A weird game, getting slammed on it's second run. A developer a bit discouraged and not advertising. It seemed to guarantee a whole lot of nothing.
Then, I remembered that I had asked someone a few months ago how they got their game through greenlight, and they told me about a bundle service they used. That, along with the suggestion for the same idea from a helpful friend, convinced me to give this last shot, a shot.
I contacted a service caleld Groupees. I'll state right now that I am not affiliated with them (other than having my game in one of their bundles), nor am I being paid to advertise for them. Fact is, there are many Greenlight bundling services you can check out (www.thegreenlightbundle.com/, Groupees, IndiegameBundles etc) Use whichever one you think is best for you! It's pretty much like Humble Bundle, except for Greenlight titles. The biggest issue with bundles is that the buyers get many games for $2 or less (Yay for them!), but that means the developers lose out on potential full-price buyers down the road (Not yay for us). The key word here is potential.
To my surprise, they contacted me back and stated that they would like my game in their upcoming bundle! I was surprised and excited. After sorting out the paperwork and getting them an early copy of the game, it launched on the bundle. After, I saw a spike in votes!
As you can also see, the views, and votes, quickly dropped down to almost nothing yet again. Along with the votes from Groupees came a lot of positive comments and some questions. Which was great! However, seeing that slope so sharp it'd be a triple black diamond ski slope here in California, I became a bit discouraged. I didn't expect Groupees to be a cure-all, but I did expect a slower drop off. This is my first Greenlight product, so I had no clue if this was normal or not, but I did know that it wasn't fun to see.
The next couple of days I spent too much time playing Witcher 3, and too little time Marketing.
Then, one day, I sat down to chop some monsters up again, and realized that I would never find success unless I stopped avaoiding doing the hard work to get this game made how I want it. So I turned off the xbox and headed to my computer. When I opened up my email, I saw the email that said
"Congratulations! Wrong Dimension has been Greenlit!"
It took me a moment to realize that it was saying what it was actually saying. I immediately went to check the stats to see if I had gotten some sudden surge in exposure. As you can see, I did not. The votes were still on a downward spiral. What's even weirder is the Yes/No ratio.
Those numbers don't scream success either!
So if I am going to be honest with you, I have no clue as to what actually pushed it into success. It hardly had any votes (1,083 total. Not even close to the recommended 15,000!), it had only two spikes in popularity, and didn't even have a higher Yes/No vote ratio.
My best advice would be this: Consider a Greenlight bundle. Sure, there is a possibility that you might lose out on potential customers, but there is a 100% guarantee you wont have any customers if you never launch. Don't give up, and keep pushing. You don't need to match every single recommendation to find success in greenlight! Good luck!