It officially took us 21 posts to get through the entire story of the making of Super Mega Baseball. Today, it'll come to an end - 5 years of game-making and 8 months of blog-writing later.
In case you've forgotten how far the game had come on its journey to the initial release:
|It went from this...||to this...|
|(Super Mega Baseball – 2008)||(Super Mega Baseball – 2014)|
And from this...
(Super Mega Baseball – 2009)
(Super Mega Baseball – 2014)
Liane: You were working around the clock leading up to the PlayStation release, what was it like afterwards?
Scott: Yeah, I think we thought we’d have a bunch of spare time on our hands. We had envisioned taking a break, like going on a vacation after release. But it became clear that there were a whole bunch of things we would need to start doing right away. External communication ramped up crazy, we had to get the European release going, we were trying to line up everything so we could bring it to more platforms. So the break that we imagined happening after release was very much a fantasy.
Christian: A break would have required a little bit more revenue to occur.
Christian: It was emergency-company-save-mode.
Scott: I wasn't worried to quite that degree, but yeah, we really needed to keep the ball rolling.
Liane: What were you working on?
Scott: All along we had planned to ship the game on more platforms and in more regions, but it was only in our capacity – barely - to handle PS3 and PS4 at the same time. So even though the game was done in a sense, the larger plan of actually selling the game in all these other places was nowhere near done. So while the initial release provided a much-needed sense of closure, there were a whole bunch of new things spinning up. At the same time, we were confronting the fact that the sales weren’t quite what we wanted them to be.
Christian: But because it had such a good critical reception, we were pretty confident that it was primarily an exposure problem. Which turned out to be true, and continues to be true. So long as we can inform people that this thing exists, people seem to like it. So that kind of gave us enough confidence that bringing it out on other platforms and trying to put it out in front of more people was a sensible thing to do.
Scott: I totally agree that the positive feeling from the critical reception did a lot to offset the negative feelings from the less-than-spectacular sales. But I think it really was a classic example of a game that wasn’t marketed well enough. Or rather, a game…
Mike: ...that wasn’t marketed at all.
Christian: Wasn’t marketed, period. Full stop. Our marketing efforts were like “oh, we didn’t get person X to write a thing, what are we gonna do?” Nothing…
Scott: Group agreement that this sentence ends with a period, there was close to zero marketing.
Christian: We did make a desperate attempt to email all the press until 5 in the morning, because we had our press keys and we were trying to get people to write about the game. So we were emailing every journalist we could think of. That was effectively our marketing effort.
Liane: Well, that’s not nothing, at least.
Scott: There was quite a bit more time put into it than that, but yes, there was a lot of last minute stuff. I mean, we had a couple of preview articles written but, you know, only limited exposure. There was very little pre-release hype. So we kind of got what was coming to us in that respect. At the same time, given where we started, I don’t know that we had the capacity to do any better in that department. I just remember being glad that we were making a sports game and not a story game, where it's all about the initial release, and a lot harder to spark interest after the fact.
Mike: Because of spoilers?
Scott: Yeah. I think you kind of get one shot with those kinds of games. A sports game has a much better long term life-cycle.
Liane: How were you planning on making this game a success after release?
Scott: Well, we thought we should stay at it, and get some help where we needed it. So we started getting some stuff going, including you.
That's right, this is where I finally come into the story! After the PlayStation release, I came on to help market the game and prep for the upcoming releases. I did lots of different things, one being interviewing the team to write this blog series...
Scott: And I guess on that same point, one of the first things that we decided to do was to document the whole thing. We thought it would be something fun that people would find interesting. And something we wanted to have out there, to go back to down the line. So Liane kind of facilitated this entire series. It’s been pretty fun to me, we can actually talk about the stuff that we do, instead of just making it.
Liane: Yeah, it was fun watching you guys trying to remember what was happening at different points in the timeline.
Scott: Yeah, it actually turned out there was a lot of archaeology…
Liane: Digging around, yeah.
Christian: For the early stuff.
Scott: Putting things in order.
Christian: Oh yeah, figuring out the timeline of the early stuff was definitely interesting.
Liane: Yup, and we kept changing the timeline, and deciding that different things had happened at different times.
Scott & Christian: **Laughs**
Liane: And there were some disagreements about what happened when.
Scott: Oh, and finding out how much time elapsed between certain events. Oh…my god.
Liane: That’s right.
Scott: That part hurt.
Christian: Yeah, those “days since start” numbers. Like, filling out that timeline, that was soul-crushing.
Here we are on day one of creating the series, writing out each big moment on a post-it and trying to put them in order:
Liane: It's time for your final thoughts, how does it feel to be done with this blog series?
Scott: One more finished project, feels just like shipping that game on PS3 basically, doesn’t it guys?
Liane: Just as big as that?
Scott: It’s our biggest blogging project ever, by like a factor of like 50, so yeah it’s nice to have it done.
Christian: I thought it was really interesting because it forced us to look back at all the steps along the way. And there’s lots of studios that do post-mortems and stuff, but they’re more crunched down and written more from the point of view of a single person. Not from everyone involved. And I don’t feel like they’re quite as candid as this. So, I think for the readers, this is a very honest view of what it really took, which is kind of unique.
Dan: Totally. You can’t find that anywhere.
Dan: I was gonna insert a comment about readers asking for more pics of you in the hotel room.
Christian: Was that actually a request?
Christian: Wow, that would have been amazing.
Dan: That’s what I’m waiting for from this.
Liane: There were comments about how weird of business trips we go on.
Scott: I also want to point out that this is the latest blog series ever. We’re still blogging about making the game like 14 months after the fact. "Holy s**t when are these clowns going to shut their pie holes about their old game and make a new one!?..."
Andrew: This is a full time project.
Scott: Yeah this is a major operation.
Liane: We’ve been doing only this for the last 8 months.
Mike: We’ve switched to a marketing company.
Scott: Driven by immense guilt of not doing enough marketing before our first release.
Christian: Before we finish, I want to stick in a little request for people, and active callout. Like, if you’re actually one of the people that reads this, let us know what you thought about it. Any improvements or any kind of feedback that anyone has. That would be really nice to hear.
Well, that's a wrap! If you're a fan of the game, we hope you enjoyed seeing what went in to making it. And if you're an indie developer, we hope you were inspired...and not scared away. As Christian said, please comment with any feedback you have about the series - we'd love to read it!
This post was copied over from our blog.