Video games have been the inspiration for most of us game developers to pursue our jobs in the first place. We game developers grew up playing the games that we still talk about today during our friday night geeky sessions, and to the “young ones” who don’t even know who Sephiroth is (sad truth). In turn, we as game developers want to create something that will be able to live in the hearts of gamers like us.
This is what inspired us to develop Spellstrike. We wanted a tabletop D&D battle experience to be not just seen in the mind but on screen. We want players to create characters and teams they can customize and grow and fall in love with.
The struggle is how to get investors to believe in this dream; that people will actually be playing this game. It is rare, and even a treasure to find an investor with the same love for video game creation like us. Here in the Philippines, it is starting to be part of our culture that investors, and even developers, know of just 2 markets: the mobile market and the AAA console market. Making a AAA game is definitely out of the question unless you’re a huge company or you found a filthy rich investor who loves these games. Nevertheless, the AAA market is loyal to the big names out there and might not try out a new game from an unknown developer.
On the other hand, most Southeast Asian developers stick to what they know best: mobile. Mobile is cheap and easy to make, but as a gamer I strive to create something more. Personally, I think that the mobile market is very different from the “gamer” market. I wouldn’t really consider my mom who is addicted to Candy Crush a gamer in a traditional sense (though she can be very competitive).
One market that I think at least the Philippines needs to explore more is the PC Indie market. There are tons of indie game successes out there. Five Nights at Freddy’s, Transistor, and Firewatch are just a few examples.
Developers keep pushing to create free-to-play light mobile games that don’t really have a long lifespan, and get drowned in a sea of other mobile games. Note: light mobile games. Don’t get me wrong, there are really good mobile games out there, but a lot of the good paid ones also branched out from a PC version. Sure, you can put ads on your game. If you’re really lucky, it might even pay for the development cost (If you’re really lucky… and if you have a great design).
The challenge is for developers to make investors understand the not-really-secret world of indie games. It’s a struggle since most are not used to developing a game for a year. Investors and management (at least in our case) are also used to seeing a prototype in 3 weeks. For bigger sized games like ours, it is more of a challenge to produce a prototype in a short period of time. Most investors and management (again, at least in our case) understand the game concept when the prototype is actually there already.