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  • Postmortem: Ninja Dude Vs Zombies 2

    - Eugene Utkin

  • Lesson 2. Start spreading the word about your game as early as possible

    We thought that our publisher would have started some early talks and sneak peeks about the game. We'd seen similar activity with its other titles on forums like TouchArcade. That time, however, the guys remained silent and no gamer knew about the upcoming sequel of the game. We were so deeply engrossed in the development of the game and working on other projects that we didn't even announce the upcoming game on our social pages. That's how assured we'd been that our publisher would start spreading some early news. Another thing here is the contract terms. We got used to believing that we had not been eligible to spread the word about the game prior to our publisher started doing so. It's like breaching an embargo and releasing an article prior to the due date.

    If someone from the publishing side is reading this, please share your thoughts on the matter.

    Maybe if we had some early access or beta test program running, we'd already had feedback on the game and supporters waiting for the game to be released. The more so, because nowadays both stores provide such opportunities. Besides, we might have submitted the beta version to some game development contests out there with a publisher's permission to gain some extra publicity.

    Lesson 3. Stay in the closest possible contact with the publisher

    This seems pretty much obvious, actually. But yeah, we screwed this up too. In fact, prior to entering into a publishing deal, we contacted the devs who had already worked with the publisher. They mentioned that the publisher had not been responding in a timely manner at times. We ourselves were not as proactive as we could. Talking with the publisher over Skype once or twice per month about the ongoing development process is not enough. The same thing goes with emailing them the versions of the build once a month and waiting for their reply for another month. Being proactive when it comes to communications with the publisher would have saved us time if we knew earlier that they're no longer capable of fulfilling their obligations under our agreement.

    After their uncheerful letter, we've decided to complete the game and release it without any tests and almost without any prior promotional efforts: just a press release, a couple of tweets with gifs, and submissions to various industry-related portals. We just didn't see the point in managing the project for another month. Nevertheless, the game was featured by Apple in several categories across multiple countries (well, except for the US), but it didn't actually end up well for the game: its poor balance leads to players churning shortly after the first boss; its untested store creatives lead to faulty conversion rates.


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