Well, there’s still a bunch to catch up on from this spring and summer, so let’s jump right in!
Part 2: The June of Very Little Rest and Some Wicked Vinyl Posters
I mentioned briefly in the last post that Denver Comic Con was awesome. That’s an understatement. A crazy, horrid amount of work, but definitely a huge success. If you follow the “official” comic cons like San Diego and New York, you might know Denver is only in its second year but is rapidly becoming one of the premiere venues. Attendance in 2012 was near 30k, making it the biggest inaugural comic con ever. Last year saw a rise to a staggering 60k, with more than double the visitors of last year and apparently all sorts of problems for an unprepared staff and an irritated fire marshal – but getting people to our booth sure wasn’t one of them.
A Jolly Corpse was on the end corner facing the entrance, which meant nearly every attendee started their day with our booth, and often ended it there too. We wanted to make sure everyone saw and heard us, so we pointed the two flat panels straight at the door and blasted tunes as loud as we could get away with (they wouldn’t let us use the 12″). SmashBox’s fast pace, pick-up-and-play-ability, and thumping techno beats (…we still used the 6.5″) made it the surprise hit of our booth, and there was rarely a moment when I could jump in and wipe the nerd sweat from the controller. Wyv and Keep were busy as well, with more than several best friend, husband-wife, boyfriend-girlfriend, and father-daughter couples making it to the last stage of the demo before giving up for fear of missing the rest of the convention. They didn’t leave empty-handed though, since anyone who spent more than five or ten minutes with the games got free copies <3
Keep herself even took a break from treasure-hunting to make a surprise visit, and later help us out by running around the convention handing out Domain promo cards and free copies of Wyv and Keep. We thought she was crazy, trekking around in those heels all the time, but on day 2 when three pygmy cannibals attacked the booth she nimbly scaled a nearby box hanging from a rope and dispatched of them with some dynamite. We asked her if Wyv could join, but apparently he can’t be bothered with promotional events, which she said he called “dumb”.
Well… screw him.
One of the main goals of the event, however, was to promote Domain’s Kickstarter. If you read part 1 you’ll know that the campaign had multitudinous problems, but initial exposure and interest were not on that list. My brothers and I lost our voices selling the game all weekend, and by the end of each day we were almost hoping the interested faces would just stop for the love of gods, so we could rest our tender vocal cords. But that was nothing a bit of smuggled flasked whiskey couldn’t solve.
Even in the short time we had to talk to the majority of people before they moved on to the next booth (we did build a few loyal fans who would return regularly all three days to challenge one of Domain’s rules or spot an exploit in a card description) we had a surprisingly high percentage of passersby who would actually stop and listen, ask questions, and even play brief games with us. This may have been a result of the freshness of us being one of the first booths, or it may have been thanks to the dashing good looks of my younger brothers. But let’s hope there’s actually something to the game.
Shortly after the convention came another monumental moment in A Jolly Corpse’s short history. Wyv and Keep’s release landed on June 14th, 2013, only a year after our initial projected release, six months after the second projected release, and about two and a half years after we announced we were “scaling back” the project. We tried to drum up a little press, informing all our personal contacts weeks before and even getting a little bit of outside marketing help. When the big day came, the initial response was great, and the reviews from the independent press were awesome across the board. Critics praised the puzzles, the co-operative play, the dynamic between the characters, the stellar soundtrack, and the charming visuals. It’s been amazing to see people recognize the love put into the game.
But a few days in, and then a week, we were a bit disappointed at the lack of response by the larger sites – especially considering many of them have covered us before. Joystiq, RPS, Indiegames.com, and even Gamespot all previewed the game. We’re not quite sure why the release went unnoticed – or ignored – by so many.Fortunately for us, initial release dates don’t really mean that much these days, so we’re gonna try marketing it a few different ways! We think it would be awesome on PS4 or Wii U, and are looking at Xbox One as well. Maybe even Vita! We’re not sure what that means for our XBLIG version, which we’d planned since the beginning (and was up for just one day, in just another small random misstep in WnK’s sorted history), but would love to get it available in as many places as possible.
Watch for a much more detailed postmortem rundown on the development process, including the very beginning, the rebeginenning, the scale back, the online debacle, and the many, many other mistakes.
Oh yeah, and on Wednesday, this happened.