Greetings backers! I apologize for the lack of updates, but I really haven't had much to say lately nor time to say it. Being a dad is a lot of work, but I am loving it. I am blessed to have a very happy baby. Neverending Nightmares is a very dark game and about the worst time of my life, but I am pleased to report that I am having the best time of my life. I've truly never been happier! Being a dad is a huge part of that, but it really feels like I've gotten something off my chest by making Neverending Nightmares, and I am pleased to report that we've had over 100k units sold of the game. I really feel like we've gotten the message out there.
For those of you that are curious, we've had about 40k units sold on Steam and 67k "retail activations" which means codes we've given out through kickstarter and other distributors, but I imagine the bulk of those are through Humble Bundles. Unfortunately, that didn't make us rich because for the Steam units, the average amount we made per unit is about $5 because of discounts, taxes, Valve's cut, etc. (It is much less than $1 for the bundling) We actually funneled a lot of that into the development of Devastated Dreams, which will probably be written off completely as a loss. I don't want to say the game is cancelled, but it is definitely on hiatus for the foreseeable future. I would love to resurrect it the market conditions were right, but I honestly don't expect that to happen.
Despite Devastated Dreams not panning out, I think Neverending Nightmares was successful. We made reasonable salaries working on it, but I am much happier that it got out to so many players. With Neverending Nightmares, the message was much more important to me than the financial success, which is why I have been a bit more aggressive about bundling and discounts than some indie developers. As you discount your title, you actually get worse feedback on Steam because people who are on the fence or are just getting it because it's a "deal" are less inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt. I would have expected that it would go the other way, since they are paying less, but that isn't what we've seen. It always makes me sad to see a customer that didn't like the game, but I hope that at least it gives them a little perspective into mental illness.
To continue to bring the game to a wider audience, we are pleased to announce that we are bringing the game to PlayStation audiences on May 3rd in US (and Latin America), May 4th in Europe (and Australia) and TBA in Japan. It has some new improvements like to the branching set ups that we will be bringing to PC (hopefully on the same day). We hope that this will improve the player experience and encourage people to explore all the branches. If you have friends who are PlayStation gamers and you enjoyed Neverending Nightmares, let them know that they will soon be able to play the game! :)
Thank you all for your support! I hope things are going well for all of you.
Hello friends! I realize that I’ve been silent for a long time about what I’ve been up to. We actually wanted to do a big announcement for the console version of Neverending Nightmares, and now we have. I realize you backers already have the game, but I figured you might be interested in learning more about why we are doing a console version and how things have been going for us.
Firstly, we always planned on doing a console version. The main reason for that is because Neverending Nightmares has an important message, and I want it to be experienced by as many people as possible. A lot of developers are hesitant to share their numbers, but I think it is helpful to the indie community, so let me give you a brief overview of where we are right now. We’ve actually sold more than 100,000 units of Neverending Nightmares, which is really exciting. About 60% of that is from Humble Bundles, and the average price of the units sold on Steam is a little less than $8, so we didn’t get rich, but that was never the goal.
The goal was to make something really special and hopefully give everyone some insight into mental illness. I think we have succeeded and are really pleased with our reach on PC. However, there are many people who just aren’t that into PC gaming. I am embarrassed to admit that a few years back, I used to buy pretty much 0 PC games. The gaming landscape has changed so much over the past few years, so console only gamers are missing out on a ton of amazing titles. However, there are some people with laptops that can’t handle Neverending Nightmares. I imagine there are many people out there without a computer since smartphones and tablets have taken off, so I don’t think it is fair to assume that everyone who might want to can play Neverending Nightmares. To expand our reach, bringing the game to other platforms is important.
The next question you might have is “why did it take so long”? Part of the delay is that I wanted to alternate between “risky” and “safe” projects since Neverending Nightmares didn’t make enough to finance our next game. Neverending Nightmares was a risky project, but it was definitely successful. My goal was to build up a little more of a nest egg before attempting to do something else risky (which would end up being Devastated Dreams). We were looking into partnering with a publisher for the console ports. It would allow us to reach more consoles than we could on our own and allow us to focus on development.
We had some publishers who were interested and wanted an expanded version, so we spent a fair bit of time talking to them and planning what content we might add. Ultimately, while we had one publisher interested, they ended up not being a good match. This was a setback, but most of the art team was doing the early planning for Devastated Dreams, so we decided to focus on that. We worked really hard on the kickstarter and demo for Devastated Dreams, and I was super excited about it. Ultimately, it failed.
Honestly, I never expected the Devastated Dreams kickstarter to fail. I thought we were a sure thing! We had an established team, a track record of running a successful kickstarter, and a pretty cool demo. Granted, it wasn’t perfect, and I wished that we could have gotten some of the story set up in there, but it is a lot better than not having a demo. We had a community of backers from Neverending Nightmares and hopefully made some new fans at launch. However, we ended up failing pretty hard.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to why it failed since the kickstarter ended, and I have a few thoughts. I don’t think Devastated Dreams is very relatable and/or appealing to the horror game audience. While the fears of becoming a parent were horrifying to me, I am not sure everyone feels that way. There is the idea of fantasy or wish fulfillment in games, and while I don’t think anyone wants to be an asthmatic in their pajamas, I think that is an easier role for people to put themselves in than a pregnant Filipino woman. Personally, I felt that the idea of putting yourself in a position that is hard to imagine for most gamers was something great about the idea, but I think I proved that it isn’t appealing to most people.
Unlike Neverending Nightmares, there wasn’t a really strong case for why this game needed to exist. Neverending Nightmares needed to get made to show the world about mental illness. I think that is a cause people can get around. I think it is much harder to make a rallying cry for why people should support Devastated Dreams. Perhaps if you are really into Filipino culture you might get behind the game, but you might question why it is being made by an American. Maybe mothers could get excited about it, but I suspect (and would love to be proven wrong) that mothers aren’t a huge number of kickstarter backers. I know since I had a kid, I have a lot less time for gaming as well as exploring kickstarter. I am not complaining - I am totally happy with my new priorities!
In addition, I think there has been downward price pressure on kickstarter budgets. Amazing games are being offered with only a fraction of their budget being crowdfunded like Psychonauts 2, Shenmue, and Bloodstained. While those are the outliers, I think it is trickling down, and I see a lot of terrific indie games with low budgets. Even if you look at a game like Overload that doesn’t go into budget details, there is no way they are planning on making the entire game with $300k in development costs. Even if developers were more transparent (and it was great to see Psychonauts 2 be really transparent), that doesn’t matter to a fair number of backers who just see the number and compare our game to others with amazing Unreal Engine 4 tech demos.
Ultimately, failure on kickstarter doesn’t mean that your title won’t be a success. However, I think the reception of the ideas were overall pretty lukewarm, which made me lose my confidence in the title. In addition, I had my darling healthy baby boy (who is 6 months old now!) and a lot of my fears melted away when I saw his smiling face.
I don’t have the burning desire to make the game anymore because my current happiness is far outshining the difficult road to get there. Will the game ever get made? Never say never, but I put it on hiatus after the kickstarter and have no plans to return to it for the time being.
While I am a bit disappointed that I won’t get to realize my final vision for the game, there are a million of other cool things on which I can work. Working on Devastated Dreams felt really hard too – I think mostly because the emotional subject matter but also because I was trying to really create a much bigger and better game than Neverending Nightmares on a tighter budget… Before the kickstarter ever launched, I was already very worried about the budget since the project was quite ambitious.
Once we put that on hold, we focused on the PlayStation ports. We were planning on doing them alongside Devastated Dreams, but we ended up needing everyone for the demo. I’ve been enjoying doing the ports as well as some other fun consulting work over the past several months. Some developers may not like porting, but I enjoy technical challenges and getting the game to run at 60 fps on Vita was one. The Vita hardware is also really interesting, so overall, it is a fun project, and I am excited about new gamers getting a chance to experience Neverending Nightmares!
We’ve also polished some aspects of the game like changing the branching points to be clearer and are fixing a number of bugs and art issues. We will definitely be updating PC when we finish. Once we roll out the latest update, if you haven’t played all the endings, you won’t have an excuse!
Anyway, I hope you’ve found this update interesting, and I’d like to thank you again for your continued support! Had you not backed Neverending Nightmares, none of the versions would have been possible. I am extremely grateful!
Firstly, I have a bit of bad news. Our second kickstarter, Devastated Dreams, was not funded. :( That makes things really tough for Infinitap Games, and I'm not sure what our future will hold. Honestly, given the success of Neverending Nightmares on kickstarter (thanks to all of you), I didn't expect us to fail, so I've been caught with my pants down...
However, we have exciting news! We created an Android build for OUYA, so we've been toying around with the idea of creating a touch controlled Android version for phones and tablets a while now. It seemed like a simple task, but it proved to be more challenging than we expected. We wanted to create a touch based control scheme that feels really good for the style of gameplay in Neverending Nightmares, so first we looked at other mobile games. However, nothing seemed to be a good match for moving around the world - especially with running. We had to do several prototypes, but in the end, I'm quite happy with our control scheme. If you try it out, let me know what you think in the comments!
Since we aren't sure how the touch controlled Neverending Nightmares would be received, we launched it as part of the Humble PC & Android Bundle 13 as well as to anyone who has Neverending Nightmares on Humble - including all backers who got the game! I think it is especially cool on tablets, but we put a lot of effort into making it translate onto both small screens as well as older phones. Theoretically, any Android device in the past 3-4 years should be able to run it, which was quite challenging.
If you have an iOS device and are wondering if we'll release there, I'm not sure. Android was easier because we already supported it on OUYA. In addition, we also couldn't give you an iOS version even if we made one since everything has to be distributed through Apple's store.
We'll consider bringing it to more mobile platforms/stores if people like the touch controls, but the whole mobile market is really scary with the dominance of freemium and $0.99 apps. If the mobile version is only available through Humble, then we can stick to our normal price of $14.99 and don't have to worry about undercutting our own sales.
Anyway, thank you so much for your support! Adding the Android version to your rewards is hopefully a good way of showing how appreciative I am.