Neverending Nightmares is coming to PS4 and PSVita!
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!