Finally, Breakthrough

Maybe they should call themselved "Cirkus starter"?

Cloudbuilt got announced last week, and this picture, used as Rock Paper Shotgun’s header image, turned a small story into a big circus. Click to reach their story.

Wow, what a week!

Last weekend, we at Coilworks uploaded an announcement trailer for our game Cloudbuilt. A colleague expressed an expectaton of at least 500 views, which I found optimistic. We had worked hard on the promotion for Ovelia: The Wake, reaching just a few hundred, so how would we reach that when most videos on youtube reach next to no-one? Oh, how wrong we turned out to be.

Right away, our journo/friend Cassandra Khaw (who had kept her eyes on us for almost a year, encouraging us to create a news story almost monthly) wrote an article about it at indiegames. It lead to some smaller sites writing about it. By then we had perhaps a thousand views, which was better than expected. That would be the end of it – we thought.

Then Nathan Greyson of Rock Paper Shotgun found it and wrote about it. I found out about this a few hours later, hearing the programmers giggling in the room next to me. As a long-time reader and fan of the blog, this felt really big. That would be the end of it – we thought – and some of us spend the evening playing Descent and watching The Dark Knight and then went to the cinema for the premier of The Dark Knight Rises.

Ironically, the RPS article we thought would be the end station started a circus that have lasted until now. With more than 24 thousand views on youtube and written in nine languages (including Japanese and Russian), plus a weekend Q&A with indie devs in India, we seem to have more reach than we expected, and even some global reach. It’s clearly some kind of global break-through.

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We’ve all been surprised about why this happened, but the comments we read and the questions we’re being asks starts to build a picture. The first thing, probably, is good timing. We’ve noticed how the early-summer E3 is usually followed by a very dry summer, and the reports still have to report about something. Meanwhile, the core gamers have loads of time to sit by their computers, browsing the web and chatting with each other. I can’t think of a better time for some no-name person to break through with some “not that big, but something”-article.

Also, the game seem to connect equally as much to nostalgia as with current trends. Many still remember the Sonic and Mario and Mega Man of old with fondness, and Mirror’s Edge seem to have re-ignited peoples desire to run around and jump about. I think much of the attention we’ve gotten can be attributed to a Mirror’s Edge sequel not being around.

The artistic style seem to be an aspect, as well. Although doing something unique will always draw criticism, many seem to like it (I can’t say that for certain until I see how it sells, frankly). If nothing else, it makes it look like few other games of this kind. But still clear enough to something people can relate to. So I think I dare share that we’ll stick to the style.

I guess an aspect is the trailer is very clearly labelled “alpha footage”. This leaves room for people to fill in what they don’t like with what they like, or like to believe. There’s no way we can fulfil everyone’s implicit wishes for what they think this is, but we can be as clear as possible and fill in the blanks to make sure they get the right picture of the game before it’s released.

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Next week, we’ll bring it to the local news. It’s mostly icing on the cake, but it’ll be fun to tell the university, incubator, friends and relatives about it through the newspapers. Or, at least those who’s not on this strange Interwebz thing yet! :)

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