State of the empire addressJune 11, 2019
This blog is about the wild ride we at Convoy Games have had for the past year, the periodwhen Landinar: into the void was in Early Access. For the players: This is also a post about why patches have been slow.
In June last year we had been blissfully developing Landinar for nearly 3 years when we realised that we were not going to finish on time, and that money from our first game, Convoy, would quickly stop covering our monthly expenses.
We’d gone over budget and over time.
To extend our runway and continue development, we decided to launch Landinar in Early Access, in the hopes the release would bring enough attention, and more importantly money, to continue development. We knew that Landinar wasn’t an ideal title for Early Access, in the sense that it was a story based single player RPG/adventure. Imagine reading a half-finished book, where certain chapters have been finished while others are merely an idea in the author’s mind.
The good thing was that with the way we had the game setup, we could easily implement some procedural content so the players could play with much of the game mechanics before we’d implemented the story. And so, the bounty board was born. The initial EA release also included some side missions and many of the sectors available.
Launching in Early Access started off pretty good. We had a nice community built up with Convoy, and a lot of players wanted to see what Landinar would become. People saw potential and most seemed to like what we were doing. We knew we still had a lot of work to do, but if the sales trend continued, we should be pretty good. We were cautiously optimistic.
Sadly, about 2 weeks later the indiepocalypse happened. Sales took a large drop, and wishlist additions got scarce. Another thing was that we had somewhat misjudged the market. When we started developing Landinar (back in late 2015), space games were up and coming and seemingly going to get big, and our idea was to ride that wave. Unfortunately, this didn’t really work out as well as we’d hoped, and there turned out to be a lot more competition, both in the genre and on Steam in general, than we initially anticipated. We had a hard time getting press attention to another space game.
So, with somewhat disappointing sales during EA, we started cutting features, finishing the story and polishing as best as we could, trying to make a 1.0 release in the hope that would put us back on the favorable side of the Steam store algorithms and that a finished game would catch the attention of the press better than an EA title.
That magic 1.0 milestone was reached in the same month our runway ended. On the 1 st of May, we had just about enough money to pay that month’s wages and bills, but not enough to cover the next. The writing was on the wall. Even if we magically sold a million copies on release (which by the lukewarm reception in the press didn’t seem likely), we’d still need to cover about 2 months before we’d actually get any of that money from Valve. As Sipke (the sole programmer on our team) worked himself into a burnout and we were putting unpaid hours into the project, we had to tell ourselves to stop.
We had to face it: Landinar was a flop and failed to meet our expectations. We had to downscale the business and fire friends. This was hard.
We took a few weeks off, to get our heads cleared, sort out paperwork, and move to a smaller (cheaper) office. Now, we’re back to working, sort of. We’re currently exploring some future options while working part-time on Landinar updates. We have some things lined up, but nothing is certain right now.
With all that said, we want to address our community on Steam and Discord:
Thanks for your support, your patience, your bug reports, and for helping each other out with hacky ways to evade bug. We’ll try to get to them all but we have to go slow now. In the end, you peopleare who we do this for, and we couldn’t do it without you.
To our employees, Ryanne, Erik, Kevin: Thanks, it’s been a pleasure working with you. And a huge thanks to our interns over the past years, your enthusiasm has been greatly appreciated. You’ve kept us young.
When we know more about the future of Landinar, or Convoy Games in general, we will let you know. It’s not over yet.