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Topics - shoptroll

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Order of the Thorne : The King's Challenge / Post-mortem thoughts
« on: August 10, 2016, 11:08:18 PM »
Not only do I not have a Twitter account, I also don't have one for Disqus! :p

Feedback was requested, so here it is:

1) Submit this to Gamasutra if you can.  It's a good read, maybe could use some fleshing out but I think this is the start of a conversation that needs to happen sooner or later.  IQ is uniquely positioned as a team which successfully delivered multiple KS projects (QfI, the companion book, and TKC/RtR/FoF), you're a considerable part of what people were dubbing years ago as a "revival" of adventure games, and you're operating in a niche most places don't really talk about.  So many different lenses to talk about this from!

2) The game itself is fine I thought.  I agree that the tone is different than QfI but that seemed intentional (I think I said as much in another thread) since this felt like something aimed at families whereas QfI is what the parents played after the kids went to bed.  I don't necessarily agree that bright and "candy colored" and cheerful isn't something people are interested in.  Look at the success of something like Pokemon Go or many other mobile games which feature bright colorful art.  Or even Amanita Design's stuff which is usually fairly colorful and isn't cynical or "grimdark" (I think).  But I'm also not really tapped in that tightly to what's selling on the market for adventure games.  It might just be possible that there's not a big audience for games that adhere closely to the Sierra style or maybe knight n' princesses style fantasy games/stories are out of favor due to things like Game of Thrones, Dragon Age, and The Witcher.

3) External factors.  I think the King's Quest reboot launching prior to TKC was unfortunate for you guys.  IQ (as well as AGDI/Himalaya and Phoenix) have a pretty good claim to the legacy of Sierra since you've been the public face of maintaining their franchises in the public eye via your VGA remakes.  Maybe if KQ hadn't been rebooted maybe there'd have been more pent-up interest in a "spiritual successor" of sorts?

Coverage in the press also seemed pretty non-existant.  Of the sites that cover PC, I primarily read Eurogamer, RPS, and USGamer.  None of them really had anything in the way of coverage for OotT.  This is especially weird considering RPS did a news post and review about QfI and Richard Cobbett also talked briefly about QfI in one of his regular columns there.  Checking a couple other sites further... There's a news blurb on PCGamer shortly after release but no review, a review on AdventureGamers, nothing on Destructoid, nothing on Polygon.

(On a side note: I'm not 100% sure when it went into effect but I believe Eurogamer also instituted a policy within the last year where they don't review 'episodic' titles until the series is complete.  I'm not totally sure I would consider OotT as episodic but I think you could make a case for that designation when it was originally pitched as a 4-part anthology series.)

So that kinda sucks.  I'm sure you guys got notices out to these sites but it wouldn't surprise me if part of the reason sales are low are because there wasn't much press.  I know the only reason I discovered QfI in the first place was because PCGamer included it in one of their year-end "Upcoming games we're excited about" back in like 2011 (likely because Richard Cobbett was still freelancing with them regularly).

The lack of Richard Cobbett writing probably hasn't helped you either.  For me, and probably others, he's probably been one of the biggest advocates for the genre (and especially classic gems in the genre) among the mainstream press.  As a freelancer he had a pretty good reach between Eurogamer, PCGamer, and RPS.

Would having a publisher have helped more with getting the word out?  I got the sense from QfI that was the main benefit from signing with Phoenix, but that's just an observation.  I have no idea what your arrangement with POS was.

4) Maybe the game needed to be marketed more as a family-friendly adventure?


I need to wrap up this up pretty quick here but here's a some more general thoughts

1) If at all possible I think it would be a good idea to treat QfI 2.0 as a re-launch of the game.  Not in the shifty "let's change the title and get a new Steam/Metacritic id" sense, but as a chance to try and get another round of publicity and sales from it.  Get a new trailer together if you have time.  Seed out some copies to outlets who didn't cover it originally, specifically targeting anyone who's covered the IA remakes in the past.  Revamp your store presences with any awards you won (I know you won some AGS awards).

2) Improve communication with your fans and backers.  I don't remember the last time I've seen an update on Roehm to Ruin or Fortress of Fire in the Kickstarter updates section.  I don't care for constant updates in my inbox but large periods of radio silence make me nervous (*cough*Spaceventure*cough*).  I expect most of the backers on either project even know that you did a post-mortem or the other recent developments.  Another idea here might be an IQ newsletter... it's a little slimy but you've got emails for most of your backers right?  Put them on the newsletter and blast out a reminder about OooT and how the new games are coming along.  Newsletter would be a good way to keep in touch with fans who aren't really on social media or aren't really paying attention to gaming sites.

3) I saw something on Twitter that you guys still get a decent number of inquiries about SQ3 VGA.  Is there anything you can do on the Infamous Adventures site to drive more traffic to the pages for QfI or TKC?

4) Not that you should try and get Youtuber stars to cover the game (that'd be cool but I think the appeal of your games wouldn't be something "the youth" would "get") but maybe as a promotional thing do a stream or do a podcast to talk about your inspirations (ie. Sierra and LucasArts games) as a sort of self-promotion / side project?

5) This relates to #1, but can you get endorsements/"box-quotes" for any of your games from any of the Sierra alumni?  What about other indie adventure game developers? Or someone like Jeff Vogel who deals in lo-fi somewhat throw-backish RPGs?

6) Are Steam coupons still a thing?  Could you send out coupons to owners of either game with a non-trivial (but not great) discount for the other game?

7) When the new games launch, maybe try offering a bundle so people can pick up the new game and the previous release for a slight discount on the price of both?  For example a bundle with QfI and Rohem or a bundle with TKC and Fortress.

8) Can you get in on any upcoming Humble Bundles or their monthly subscription service?

9) Where do Sierra/LucasArts fans congregate these days?  Are there any places with a higher than average concentration of older gamers?  One of the podcasts I listen to, Gamers with Jobs, caters more towards the older crowd with most of the hosts in their 30's or older.  Maybe there's other communities like that?

10) Keep up whatever you are doing on Twitter in regards to Stranger Things.  You know how to tap into that 80's nostalgia vein, and I keep hoping that turns into one of those "right place, right time" success stories.  (Even if nothing comes of it, at least put it out as a fan game and make some noise.  I noticed VG247 ran an article yesterday about some sprite art for the show.  So there's enough interest to get attention in places)

Order of the Thorne : The King's Challenge / Filtered screenshots
« on: August 10, 2016, 09:52:40 PM »
I don't have a social media presence with which to tweet these at the IQ team, so here's some doctored up screenshots I generated with some filtering software called Prisma last night which I thought people might appreciate.  You all can blame RPS for this nonsense.

Enjoy!  (I would've done QfI as well but I didn't have any good screenshots in my Steam account :()

Since I'd rather not pester Bt with emailed bug reports and other nitpicky things like I did with QfI here's a couple things I found.

First off though, I really liked this game and I was really happy to see the team follow through on improving the production quality of the voice recordings.  HUGE improvement over Infamy!  I'm really looking forward to Fortress of Fire now.


* Songs played on the lute seemed really quiet for like 90% of the game for me (was using hard mode until the very end).  I'm not sure if this is a bug or just my audio setup being out of whack although I don't recall really fiddling with the options panel that much.

* There were some random characters at the end of the text when inspecting the jar on the shelf in the general store.  I'm not sure if this was addressed in the small patch or not.

* Jumping over the river bank is a one-way trip even though the game makes it sound like it might be possible to cross back over.  (Screenshot:

* The rocks in the swamp room where you find the harp are labeled as "Rock 1".

Spoiler (hover to show)

Spoiler (hover to show)


* It's odd that neither the general store owner or the seer have portraits.  I thought this was odd.  Is that a restriction due to how their rooms are designed/coded?

* The "sexist prat" line when inspecting the store counter felt out of place.  I laughed, but tonally that felt more like it belongs in something with a similar tone to Quest for Infamy to me.

* I think the animation on the rivers are backwards.  I'd have to double check but I swear the narrator/description of the river or lake said water flows out of it, but the animations seem to show water flowing into the lake from the river.


* Why are we told the general store owner looked familiar?

Spoiler (hover to show)

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