Releasing an indie game on 3 consoles at once and failing financially (2016)

  • Jason Nuyens says:

    SUPER excellent article.

    Having gone through the whole process on Starwhal, I’ve had lotsss of time to think of the “stickiness” of ideas and what becomes popular on Twitch/Youtube/Reddit. In some respects I feel like silly ideas sell, but more specifically, the “what in the world IS THIS!?!” brand of silly does well. The thing is, Toto Temple Deluxe IS a silly game, but it’s more of a “genuinely smile and laugh with your friends at the charming action on screen” silly. That is NOT a bad thing, really. The game is absolutely awesome, to the point of having tons of brilliant design paradigms people should ape for years to come (boarding new players by *playing* the menus!)

    However, to construct a game from the ground up in order to be the precise formula of silly would be somewhat difficult. It would be like trying to generate a meme, which we all know can end badly.

    All that to say, it feels like getting just the right brand of “wtf!?” is rare. Balancing between being yourself with being a marketing machine is really damn tough, but at least being the former gives you warm feelings when some people do connect. It’s just hella risky for the bank account 🙂

    Cheers to the Juicy Beasts!

    • Yowan says:

      You’re spot on! Thanks Jason 😀

    • Just got through reading the whole article and every comment, it wasn’t odyssey. You did an amazing job writing in the article too bad your game didn’t turn out as good. I feel bad for you and I sympathize with you Y’all sound like some really smart guys.

      I too have just finished a indie game, and I thought I was going to be rich, like limbo, or Minecraft, but from the two and a half years of working on the game I think the market’s even flooded more, and my game is just another in the sea of games.

      my indie game was made by one person and took two and a half years, and it was a hell of a lot of work I worked on it part-time after work and then on any of my vacations I worked on it and that’s what’s having kids. But it was an amazing adventure and it launched on the PS4 in North America September 25th 2019 and then October 25th 2019 in Europe and I’m getting ready to launch in Japan and Asia but that’s a whole another level of commitment.

      I got my first royalty report from Sony setting in my inbox I’m too scared to open it I don’t want my dreams to be crushed but hopefully there’s some cells in there I’m gonna wait till I’m gonna better mood to open it.

      Currently I’m trying to decide if I should launch on steam, because Christmas is coming up I thought it’d be great to launch in a new platform. I’ve seen that steam was very low sales for you compared to the consoles which was interesting. It’s all exciting and interesting. But I think the new flood of games have come out because unity and unreal went free period that was the reason I jumped on the train this is like the California gold Rush but for game development.

      something also people don’t understand when you develop for the game consoles you have to get ratings for different countries and they aren’t cheap I know just for Europe it costs for the Peggy almost two thousand dollars and that was cheap because it was just a little indie game and now in Asia and Japan have to even crank out more money.

      luckily for me I didn’t spend any money on making the game, well a little bit of money because I had to get LLC, in order to get on the PlayStation console so that costs money and then the Peggy license for Europe and then some of the assets I bought like 3d assets and music and sound, and then also hired some voice actors so I have a little bit of money into it maybe six or $7,000 total so not too bad if I don’t make that back I’m gonna cry like a little baby I’m gonna curl up in a ball, lol.

      anyway this is getting kind of long and I’m using Google speech to text so it might be kind of weird while you’re trying to read it That’s the reason but you guys did an amazing job on getting that game ported to all of those consoles That’s all amazing amount of work and also writing this amazingly long article so keep up the great work got a lot of respect for y’all and have a great day my fellow developer


  • Tanya Short says:

    Really great article — thanks so much for writing it. I’m so sad Toto didn’t do well. You all seem to have some really great marketing ideas. I love the cameos thing especially! Maybe we should have The Goat as a cameo in Moon Hunters…! Let me know if Juicy Beast ever wants to collab with Kitfox… maybe we should mix it up for Global Game Jam?? 😀

    • Yowan says:

      Thanks Tanya! Of course it would be awesome to see the goat in Moon Hunters 😉

  • Diego says:

    Very nice article. I’m about to release a local multiplayer game on Steam and Xbox and I’m going mad with anxiety!

    I know it’s kind of a delicate topic, but what do you mean by “failing financially”? Did the game not sell enough to cover your expenses? Could you provide, if it’s not asking too much, some kind of sales numbers? Even if it’s just an order of magnitude (hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of copies…).



    • Yowan says:

      We’ll do an update on the sales soon!

  • Matt Roszak says:

    Sounds to me like the main problem is that you made a game that was drastically different from your previous ones, which were: Single player, very accessible to casuals, and had free versions to advertise them.

    I think I’m in a similar situation with Bullet Heaven 2 (also has local co-op, haha – but it’s not the only mode), which is a game that’s much different from the games that my fans usually expect from me. But luckily I just published it on Steam and left it at that. I’d like to publish on consoles, but I’m well aware that it’s a lot of work for a small developer, and there’s no guarantee of any success.

    Thanks for this post, and I hope your earlier games are still selling well and you can get by on those!

    • Yowan says:

      Thanks Matt! You’re right that suddenly aiming at a totally different market can have an effect on sales (based on our current followers). The thing is that we like to explore new things and we’re probably never going to stick to a single type of game. I think we’re doomed 😉

  • Antony says:

    Keep the blog posts going, I love to read these updates from you guys!

  • Gnobrin says:

    Great article. I would imagine that Nintendo paid more attention to you with putting you on their marketplaces for US and Europe simply because that’s the bread and butter of their present console. It’s designed and marketed for folks to be in the same room, screaming at one another and having a great time. You made a game that’s exactly that.

    Keep up the great stuff, guys/gals. Keep learning from the process and keep kicking ass.

  • Simon Lahaye says:

    Interesting read. I was sad to learn your game did not fare well financially. We love Toto at our home. My two daughters (8 and 10 y/o) and I love your game and we play it regularly on the wii u.

    • Yowan says:

      That’s awesome news! We love hearing about kids playing the game 🙂

  • Jack Lennard says:

    As a quick aside, i was aware of your game and excited to purchase it, but it never came to European PS4 store front. :/

  • Dion Koster says:

    Thank you for sharing. With Lethal League, we’ve been very satisfied with it’s performance on Steam and we’re currently working on console versions. So this piqued my interest. Lately, I’ve been seeing more developers struggle with finding the faults in a disappointing release. In favor of maybe helping them out, I’m starting to break my usual silence of critique.

    I think you’re right in blaming no online and bad readability of the gameplay. Those are the major issues. I think the characters are good, but not appealing enough, a bit too abstract (Burrito Bison is someone I’d rather be). I think the premise is too out there and not clear. And I think the Real Goat Bundle is misleading because it leads people to think they have to actually take the goat in.

    I believe these points are a part of the general appeal instead of being only hooks. It’s all opinion of course and not to say we nailed these perfectly ourselves. If you like I can go into it some more via email or if you got tips for us (hit me up). Greetings from Team Reptile, we like your games! And shoutout to Niddhog and Starwhal devs!

    • Yowan says:

      You’re totally right! We’ll try to cover that in an upcoming update. Thanks Dion!

  • Stephen says:

    Interesting article and I know many who will be happy with your #1 conclusion. But also bad is bad online multiplayer. It needs to work really well.

  • Bernardo Boeira says:

    This actually made me want to play the game. XD

    • Yowan says:

      It wasn’t the idea behind the article, but it’s a nice bonus! Thanks 🙂

  • Hugo Caron says:

    Wow, what an odyssey! While the outcome with Toto Temple is far from being what we’d all hope. No one can deny you gave it your best shot (at every levels). Kudos to you all, thank you for sharing your precious learnings, and all the best for 2016!

  • wut says:

    2 years and no multiplayer? yeah no amount of marketing, promotions, give away can fix that

  • Marcus says:

    It’d be really interesting to see a breakdown of sales per console, especially considering you only got front page marketing on Wii U.

  • James Coote says:

    So many similarities in your story to my experience in the last year (coming off the back of making a game for OUYA, putting a game jam game on console, disappointing sales).

    I think the key things are that 1). As identified, local multiplayer games don’t sell well, and 2). Game jam games (even if super fun) rarely actually make for good full commercial games. Not quite sure why though.

    • Yowan says:

      2) Unless you have a solid design that supports a lot of depth, game jam games are usually super tight mechanics revolving around a single goal, which doesn’t always expand very wall afterwards (imo).

  • Louis-Simon says:

    It’s hard to focus on your creativity and keep away from the distractions of running a business in itself. I have a lot of respect for what you guys do, it takes guts to work with a large team for so long on something. Cost of life piles up fast. It seems like you learned from your mistakes. I hope you get back on your feet and create more cool games!

    • Yowan says:

      Hey merci Louissi 😉

  • David says:

    Is sad to read that this game isn´t selling well. I play on PC and Wii U, and I can say that my Wii U is the perfect console for videogame parties (I have this game so we play it along other games).

  • Holammer says:

    Great article or post mortem on your game.

    I’ve seen the game on Steam multiple times and turned it down every time because it’s a local multiplayer party game and it’s good to see that you realize the market is limited or simply isn’t there for that type of game.

    Indeed, I reckon the market for even co-op games is limited as well. This occured to me just recently when I played Chariot on Steam. It’s a great game but it’s designed with two player co-op in mind, which is really irksome to lone players as myself. Sections of the game are straight up impossible or near impossible to complete as a single player, while these 2P sections are optional they stung every time I had to skip them, as I’m not getting the full experience.

    So when I finally finished the game I checked the global achievements stats for Chariot and it turns out only 36% of players got the ‘Honeymoon’ achievement for completing a stage with two players. That means a minority played the game as it’s meant to be played and the number might be smaller still as achievment hunters can still get the achievement with some minor extra work.

    So I fully support you guys focusing on a good single player experience for your next effort.

  • Googleygames says:

    Too bad one of the best games of all time didn’t sell very well.

  • Russ says:

    Interesting thoughts, mine:

    – #1 reason it didn’t do well is controls – it’s too complex for local multiplayer. Yes you “can” get it. However, the difference between multiplayer online and local is controls. SO this is really just rewording what you wrote, but a key point. The game needs online multiplayer b/c it is too complex for local.

    – #2 visuals are great!

    – #3 Do you think the Nintendo feature on the eShop helped sales on other consoles? Between people who cross-owning consoles and Nintendo fan sites being starved for content, I wonder if the Nintendo audience helped your general awareness and sales across the board. 2nd piece here, WiiU is a system people pull out for local multiplayer. I wonder how many people who bought on another console first played with a friend on Nintendo (since word of mouth is a key viral component of any local multiplayer game).

    All the best to you, I have to say this was the MOST refreshing post-mortem I’ve read in awhile. You guys blamed yourselves. That is totally original in this day and age. I’m convinced it will lead you to success in the future!

  • Sylverstone Khandr says:

    Solid postmortem.

    I actually found out about Toto Temple Deluxe from my time messing around with the Ouya, and I double-dipped on the Wii U because I knew it was a great match on a console with big local multiplayer strengths.

    It’s really sad that there’s no real market for these kind of games anymore. I miss grabbing some friends on a couch and just having a blast.

  • Bari Silvestre says:

    Thank you for this post. I am a follower of your games since flash days (fellow flash game dev here, I made Pretentious Game and Kill the Plumber.) We were planning on local multiplayer version of Kill the Plumber but now we will scrap it due to this. I really like what you did in conventions and I might employ similar style. Best of luck on your next projects!

    • Yowan says:

      It’s sad to hear that we kind of killed your project 😐 But yeah, if you don’t add online-multiplayer, you might end up loosing money in the end (always depends on the amount of time you put on it).

  • Aang says:

    Nice post mortem, helps a lot for indie developers!

    You guys are awesome!

    Time to get up and kick’ass!!!!

  • keimax says:

    I actually didn´t buy it since I already own enough local multiplayer games like battle block theater, castle crashers, magicka etc. – And yours – from the perception of the customer / gamer – is just another crazy fun platformer to play with friends – I personally didn´t need another one.

  • Matt says:

    Hey there! Great article!

    Would it be possible if you guys would actually give us some sales numbers?

    It would be very interesting what you guys consider a “financial” fail, because I think this is also “just” a point of view issue.

    Anyways, I think, although its almost 4 months since your release that you shouldn’t say yet that it’s a financial fail. I personally don’t believe that the “local multiplayer market” is dead. I think this market just has a longer tail and it REALLY is a great plus for you guys that you ported on all 3 consoles. I bet this will show in the future.

    I wish you guys the best of luck!

    • Yowan says:

      You’re right, we never know, thanks Matt!

  • Drin says:

    Interesting story, this article opened my eyes, i thought console ports were as easy as just releasing but hell no that isnt true, thanks i really appreciate this article and good luck for your next game !

  • Stu says:

    I recently picked up TTD on my Wii U, and it has quickly become one of my favorite local co-op games on a console that is packed with them. I have a 6-year-old niece who I play with a lot and she wholeheartedly agrees with me as to the quality of the game. It genuinely pains me to hear that the game was not a success for you guys because the amount of heart that was put in is very evident. You have made a fan out of me with TTD and I will be keeping a keen eye out for what you do next. After a much deserved rest, of course.

    • Yowan says:

      Feels great to hear that kind of story 🙂 Thanks Stu!

  • Alberto Belli says:

    Great article. The question is: why learning things paying for 2 years, knowing to start with a huge lack of marketing/production dynamics? Why not asking things at the beginning, trying to sort out things with a production running? That’s the real indie-mistake IMHO: everyone knows that is going to do something wrong but continue this way to say at the end “we learnt a lot of things”. Anyway, good luck for the future

    • Yowan says:

      The first part of the article actually answers that. We kept on going because we were presented with a chain of opportunities that felt like good decisions at the time AND from our current standpoint (being a Flash game developer and suddenly having access to consoles). To be honest, you also never really know for sure what’s going to happen next 😉

  • Robin says:

    Interesting article.

    But i wonder why you never put your graphic / narative/ overall artistic direction of the game in question.

    Towerfall is not only a good game from the mecanics point of view. The artistic direction and minimal narratives were great.

    By “minimal narratives” i mean :

    – “Fight to survive and be the last one alive” is more of a goal than :

    – “Catch and keep a random animal”, wich make a lot less sens.

    The narratives may be minimal in party games / vs games, but i think they are great part of fun and motivation… and for me part of a buying reason.

    As i see it (never played the game, just read the article and seen vidéos, so it’s more or less a buyer point of view), there’s a lack of attractivity in the two main naratives choices of the game :

    – placing the action in “a kind of maya place”, wich is generic and already seen a million time. The players had to empathise with sort of statues, singularized mostly by their colors…

    – choosing a goat as a funny goal, wich is a big trend recently in indie games (i mean, zombies and goat have become generic things, that you can put almost everywhere).

    None of these two make me want to play, or compete.

    Of course, that don’t mean the game mecanics will be less fun when experienced, but maybe some won’t want to try them at all for those reasons.

    • SentryDown says:

      Thanks for the article, it’s a great post-mortem. I second your thoughts on the theme, Robin ; I first heard about the game with the UI article, which is one of the best design articles I ever read but I was like “well, another retro-ish maya temple and goat game..”. The game is probably super fun (and I was already sold on design basically) but the wrapping isn’t strong enough to make me purchase it and motivate my non-hardcore gamers friends to play it. And as Robin said, the narrative is a great hook, When Vikings Attack has one of the best in the genre in my opinion.

    • Yowan says:

      100% right, thanks for the feedback!

  • Vinnie Dee says:

    As a loyal friend of the Beast Family, played Toto’s on the Ouya and Steam

    There is still a lot of people searching for local-multiplayer games to play at home. I was searching for great games that are fun to play in gags at home during the holidays and theres is not so many out there, you have to get either a Wii for that kind of amusements, PS’s game don’t really reach that kind of target… ( i can be wrong but i’m demonstrating a client story ).

    Would it be interesting to considerate the local multi-players with bots and online multi-players to fill the blanks in another game you would create?

    P.S. #look-at-this-photo-graph #original-prankster

  • Wallace says:

    Dudes you probably don’t know me but my little studio have a lot of your game concepts on it. I’m a big fan of your work.

    I really appreciate your postmortem, it’s very complete and unique, specially in the PR and promotion ideas, thank you for sharing with us.

    Probably one think that you might don’t think about is the scope. Adding so many features and get the game so big with no experience in this areas (consoles, events, and so) have a big price in terms of time and efforts.

    But I believe the next game you’ll release will be a great success because it’s hard to find in these days a game studio so competent and with this awesome flash identity.

  • Ali says:

    I follow you since the Flash days, and I am kinda angry at you!

    I don’t know why you wasted your time with consoles when your gamedev style excels with more casual devices like mobile phones/tablets.

    Studios like Ironhide or even the guys at 1Button has made it on mobile, you could do like them or maybe even better! you could have made a larger fan base happier making your games for a more accessible devices .

    please get back to casual mobile games, in those 2 years you could have made at least 2 new games for mobile that would be played by much much more players and possibly much much more profits.

    • Yowan says:

      I get your point, we would have made more of our followers happy by sticking to a genre they know us for. Totally right. The thing is that we’re not in this business JUST to make money, we’re artists and we like exploring and making new things. Sticking to a single type of game/platform for ever, or until the market changes, isn’t really who we are. We’re probably going to keep exploring for our future games, and we get that each follower won’t necessarily be attracted by all of our games.

  • Emma Larkins says:

    I’m sad to hear about the game not performing as well as expected. I saw it at a bar after a Playcrafting event in NYC a few months ago – I didn’t get a chance to play it then, but it looked so compelling I snapped it up when I got home. I’ve played it several times with friends, but I suppose I might be in the minority of people who love and have the opportunity to play local multiplayer games 🙂

    Hugely appreciate you writing this – as a company about to launch a multiplayer game (Blade Ballet) there’s a ton of useful info for us here. I think the ‘no inherent sales’ thing is key – I’ve chatted and worked alongside dozens of indie devs, and there’s a strong mentality that if you just make a good enough game, it will sell. But no matter how good your game is, community building and marketing is an essential, often overlooked every day thing, day in, day out, sharing, connecting, writing, repeating.

    I think adding an online option can help a game spread – I personally learn about most multiplayer games by playing them online with my gamer group, even if I later play (and enjoy) a local mode. Important to note, though, that a multiplayer game that’s fun locally won’t necessarily translate to online play. I’ve heard that some devs have had more success with adding a single player mode over networked multiplayer (especially when it comes to the time and expense of maintaining an online game).

    Excited to see what comes next from these learned lessons!

    • Yowan says:

      Good points! Thanks 🙂

  • Ryan says:

    Thanks for sharing your postmortem, it was an educational read.

    I’d like to give you some perhaps unusual feedback after reading your article, and I don’t want to sound harsh by any means, but I don’t think the title of your game, Toto Tower Deluxe, really lends itself to conveying to a potential buyer what your game is about. I asked 4 of my friends the same question: “There’s a game I saw called Toto Tower Deluxe. What type of game do you think it is?” Each person thought it would be either a puzzle game like Bejeweled or a mahjongg style game. I think the reason for this is that Popcap Games have pretty much named as many of their games “Deluxe” as they could get their hands on. If you search for “Deluxe” on Steam, you will find the majority of results are titles like Bejeweled Deluxe, Peggle Deluxe, Bookworm Deluxe, Zuma Deluxe (also temple-themed), etc.

    The reason I am mentioning this is because the most pertinent and immediately available information to a buyer about games on the Steam page, Wii U store, and I’m assuming Xbox and Playstation stores, is the title of the game, the accompanying graphic, and price (which is a non-issue for my feedback, but it completes the trifecta of store page information). So I think it is critical to be able to grab someone’s attention when they’re browsing games. You could be offering the greatest holy grail of local multiplayer experiences, but if someone who is looking for that type of game thinks your game is a puzzle game, and is not convinced otherwise by the Steam/Wii-U/whatever store page art, they will scroll right past it. They will never see the summary of your game, your trailer, or any of the hard work you guys have prepared to wow and amaze the buyer like you have been able to do successfully in other forums such as PAX.

    This is all of course purely anecdotal and unmeasurable. It’s really just meant to be food for thought, and I hope that it helps your future games.

    I have huge respect for you guys and thanks again for the insight into your project.

    • Yowan says:

      You’re right about the title, it’s far from being perfect! We’ll try to add a short title analysis in an upcoming update. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Martin Brouard says:

    Indeed an excellent article that I can really relate to. There are so many common points with our situation with Chariot that it’s scary :-). And we pretty much came to the same conclusions. Sadly, even though local multiplayer is SUPER fun and that people say it’s really cool, especially at big consumer shows like PAX, the vast majority of people will just not buy local multiplayer titles and major gaming website will only cover a few of them in passing and almost never review them. (Just look at Metacritics reviews for Knight Squad, Runbow, Chariot and even TowerFall: Ascension, and you won’t see many BIG gaming sites reviewing them except for Destructoid who does a pretty good job at this. #IDARB is probably the exception here).

  • Rich says:

    Great post and great insight. Don’t think of this as a total failure though, you have to look at the fact that you now have a ton of knowledge that you wouldn’t otherwise have. You have relationships with other developers, relationships with the big platforms (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo) which will surely help on your next game, and you have invaluable experience. Keep your heads up! You’re awesome people who make awesome games, we all know that 🙂

    • Yowan says:

      Thanks Rich! You’re right, we feel like we’ve never been in a better position before (except financially haha). Our next game should be better executed!

  • Sean Siem says:

    thanks for sharing your experience, especially the rough parts! this is valuable stuff all devs can learn from.

  • Luidls says:

    Thanks for the awesome post. As an future (at least hoping to be) game designer was really helpful in a lot of aspects.

    Thanks again and good luck.

  • Mikael Forslind says:

    I would too want to see sales numbers. What do you consider a financial failure? 200 copies? 2000 copies? 20 000 copies?

    Still a brilliant article though. Thanks!

  • Angelo Yazar says:

    wow, thanks for writing this. We’ve had similar experiences with our games, and as a fellow Wii U dev and TOJammer I was curious as to how TTD was doing. We decided to port ESJ: Groove City to Wii U since there aren’t many games on the eShop, but we also struggled to capture the interest of the audience. Given the amount of work it took to port to console it wasn’t worth it, especially when you compare that to the amount of effort required for the other platforms we supported. (iOS, Android, Steam)

    • Yowan says:

      Sad to hear that! I think it’s getting clearer and clearer that you NEED visibility, even on consoles. They won’t magically bring you traffic 😐

  • John Axon says:

    Sorry to hear it didn’t sell. I loved playing it at Gamercamp. How’re you gonna fund your next game? Are you gonna make a prototype and try to shop it around to different console companies? Good luck, Juicy Beast!

    • Yowan says:

      We still have multiple options (publishers, Canadian funds, tax credits), plus it’s not like we’re making zero money with TTD. We’re just really far from recouping haha.

  • Tim Maitland says:

    I think your game didn’t do too well because it looks like so many other games. The game play looks interesting but artistically/aesthetically it seems boring. The temple design and goat characters are really forgettable.

  • Max says:

    I hope you guys haven’t lost faith gamedev.

    Because your games rock!

    I remember the time I got Knightmare Tower on iOS, it was like:

    1. [10:00 PM] Let’s give it a try.

    2. [10:15 PM] Hell, this game is hard.

    3. [10:50 PM] Oh, I’m getting pretty good at it.

    4. [11:30 PM] So, which one should I upgrade first?

    5. [02:45 AM] One more luck upgrade and I’m going to sleep.

    6. [03:10 AM] Ok, let’s get this final stage luck upgrade and I’m gone.

    7. [04:20 AM] Damn it’s hard to get money with all this monsters killing me all the time, mb I need to upgrade armour a little.

    8. [06:30 AM] I have almost all upgrades now, time to beat that boss’s ass.

    9. [07:00 AM] ****, that boss is really tough!

    10. [08:30 AM] Almost!

    11. [08:45 AM] ALMOST!

    12. [08:30 AM] OMG, Finally!

    >running around the house with my phone screaming “take this”

    >ran into bedroom where girlfriend was sleeping

    >immediately regret this decision

    >pretending I was doing a morning warm up

    >laying in the bed, trying not to move

    … What was all that about?

    Oh, Yeah! Continue to make a great games!

    Much love,


  • Space Giraffe says:

    Guys, I follow your work since I was in college, you are very creative people and inspired me a lot. Is a pit the Toto’s Temple was sell well, but I’m really sure you guys will work very well with this experience and create something awesome! Cheers.

  • Daniel West says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, it resonated deeply with my experience releasing my game Airscape.

    Best of luck with your next project.

  • MitchyK7 says:

    This was an interesting read. I’ve seen many like this recently, the only difference being they all blame somebody else. Sunset the game was awful and boring to be honest, but it was our fault as gamers cos we didn’t “get it”. If gamers don’t get it, that’s a failure of design on the dev’s part. Your post was more honest, and self reflecting. This industry is currently at a point where cynical corporations like ubisoft or EA are just churning out the same game every year as a sequel, and when people get bored, they won’t accept any fault for that! Your post is an example of how developers should be. Aceepting where you went wrong is the only way to do better in future. Also, couch co-op games are a dying breed right now as all the big names push online services, so I’d suggest sticking with that theme, as in our home games like Halo 3, or Fusion Frenzy are favourites despite their age because they actually have couch co-op and couch vs. Some great rivalries emerge and real world tactics like controller interference are encouraged in sudden death battles! lol. I will be following you after reading this, and hope for great things in your future.

    Good luck guys!

    • Yowan says:

      Thanks for nice words (and for following us) 😀

  • timm says:

    Super interesting read. I dont think theres anything wrong with local multiplayer modes but if thats your only mode its going to be an uphill battle to put it lightly. If your bread n butter is local then you have to have the accessibility and reach of mario party.

  • Sebastian says:

    Played Toto Temple Deluxe at your PAX East booth last year and loved it. Added it to the note I was keeping in my phone “Favorite Games of PAX 2015” and ended up buying it on release for PS4. Everyone of my friends I’ve shown it to, those who play games regularly and those who don’t, all have had a ton of fun with it. It bummed me out reading this article but you’ve got real talent for making a fun and accessible game, I’m excited to see with what you come out with next!


    A fan

    • Yowan says:

      That’s awesome, thanks for spreading the word Sebastian!

  • Nobody says:

    The point about intensity caught my attention. I think you’re absolutely right. As a diehard StarCraft fan it’s a topic that is occasionally blamed in part for the games decline. StarCraft would have a very similar intensity graph as your game. It’s extremely stressful to play at every level. It’s a much less appealing experience compared to the more popular dota-style games that, despite being stressful in their own way (probably due to their team based structure), have the rises and falls depicted in your other example.

  • John Smith says:

    Very good and candid article, but I can’t completely agree with your conclusions, most notably the second one. I work for a small company that ‘struck a deal’ with Sony last year and for us it turned out the worst thing we could have done, especially because it locked us out from releasing on other platforms for a substantial amount of time. We were a featured game on PSN Plus, but the initial payments we received from Sony didn’t cover our development costs and subsequent sales were so low that we had to resort to other financial means to stay afloat. Our next game, which we now have to develop under a very tight budget, will never be an exclusive deal ever again. Any of the big 3 and most notably Sony, because they now have an image among the ignorant gaming public where they can do no wrong, will try and trap the unsuspecting and fresh developers into their portfolio. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THIS because even the exposure you get with these deals is very sparse. That’s where my second point comes into play: Don’t do your own PR and marketing but hire a competent firm with experience to do it for you and don’t let it be the platform holder because with all the games coming out and their devs doing the same, you’ll still be hard to find.

    The other conclusions I can pretty much agree with: Focus on one platform first, preferably one with the most potential customers (which, going by the numbers, could soon be the Windows Store with Xbox combined if Microsoft’s rules remain fair). Don’t make the OUYA your priority because it essentially screams smartphone port to the public now.

    Not to hate on your game, but the experience of short burst of fun also gave off that impression and then the local multiplayer only doesn’t help one bit. If it’s a longer game with more diversity, say Four Swords as an example, people will invest more time in it but even then online multiplayer will get you that much further in this day and age.

    The best advice anyone can give you is ‘Be unique’. Unfortunately that is something that is very hard to do and I sympathize with you being in the same situation.

    I wish you good luck on your future endeavours! Please don’t give up because the industry needs all the talent, which you certainly have, it can get.

    • Yowan says:

      That’s interesting! You should contact us so we can continue that discussion.

  • Anon says:

    I’m one of the ones that didn’t buy cause of lack of online multiplayer. I think Screencheat (a game in a similar vein as Toto)’s solution would’ve surely helped your sales, they’ve a hybrid local+online multiplayer system where you can have both at the same time, and that really made a difference in terms of hours played (at least according to my steam account). Better luck next time!

  • Rickard says:

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

    I didn’t know about your game until this post was linked from NeoGAF, and I’m thinking about how that could realistically have been different. On PSN, one way would have been to simply(?) have a demo for it. Right now, the demo section for PS4 has only 26 games, and with “most recently released” as the default sorting order, you would have instant visibility. Anyone checking for available demos would see it, and I imagine I’m not alone in doing that from time to time. People checking for demos are probably quite willing to download them as well, and if it’s a game you really need to play to understand why it’s fun, it seems like it could make a difference. But perhaps the cost of having a demo on PSN is prohibitive?

  • ROBOTunderscore says:

    well that was depressing

  • Eisa says:

    That’s so sad..

    This game is a heck of fun and what makes it fun is that you can grab anyone and enjoy it with since it’s simple.

    It’s also sad knowing that we won’t see those kind of games again from you guys.

    Sadly, many people don’t agree with my taste.

    My favorite Juicy Beast game was Flippin’ Dead and still is along with this maybe and both didn’t work out so well.

    I’m looking forward to see what you guys come up with next!

    Thanks Juicy Beast for all of your efforts, and for the entertainment and fun you always provide!

  • Jean-Claude says:

    Je cherchais un idle game -> zombidle -> Berserk -> Lachhh -> entrevue sur -> discute du developpement indie -> mentionne juicy beast -> vos jeux -> cet article.

    Ca devient de plus en plus clair pour moi que d’aller chercher des degrés de compréhension supérieurs c’est ce qui est le plus payant dans les marchés matures / là où il y a beaucoup de compétition. Je vous remercie pour cet enseignement précieux (et gratuit!)

    • (rough translation of first paragraph)

      I’m searching for an idle game ->zombidle ->Berserk-> Lachhh (whatever that means) -> interview on ->disscuss indie development-> mention juicy beast -> your games ->this article

      don’t know what he said in the second paragraph, my french isn’t that good

  • Jonas says:

    So sorry to read about the expenses, my 3-yo son wanted to play it on Wii-U.. but then you blew up a goat. We weren’t really your targeted market 😉

    Wanted to say I love couch Co-Op. (this is not Co-Op but still). And a slightly more kid friendly game with a capture the flag feel would interest me at-least, I might be one of few tho. Truth be told, I came to see if there’s a new version of burrito bison coming.. or a planned release to Wii-U.

  • Jairo Rodriguez says:

    You are awesome and generous enough to share all this information! Unbelievable! Never give up, your tenacity will lead you to better deals. I have no doubt on it.

    Pd. I will kill for a new Burrito Bison entry (seriously, i cannot stop playing that freaking game…)

  • William says:

    Hey juicybeast, I have been following your work for a long time now and really enjoyed your games. You should really treat Toto Temple Deluxe as more of a learning process and not a failure.From a laymen’s perspective, I think that one of the biggest flaws that hurt you in the long run was the lack of online multiplayer (something many people picked up on). Also, I think that as you learned, porting to every platform is ridiculous and that you should rather try to choose which one would work the best. The obvious choice right now is probably the PS4 as it has the largest consumer base out of the consoles, increasing the chances of the game selling. However, you should also think about which platforms are very easy to port to. Now, I don’t know the nitty-gritty details of development, but it seemed like porting the game to the wii u was the largest time and effort sink, and didn’t pay off really, but porting to the PS4 looked like a much faster and easier process. Furthermore, you guys spent a lot of money on marketing, and I think that you underestimated how much fans will look forward to your next game and will come to you. Anyway, now after your first major console game I think that you will have a larger presence and following anyway, and I hope will make it much easier to get the news out and heard than before. I believe that you guys have learned your lessons and that your second game like this will come out much, much better, as they ususally do for studios new to the big league. I wish you the best of luck for the future, and always remember that you could always look to other places to find the money for your next project (hint, hint, kickstarter or patreon). You’ll do great guys.

  • Egor says:

    You have a great games

  • Dope says:

    Finally I discovered the reason for you guys don’t make a new extraordinary game.It is a long long paper,I just read the start and the ending to know it.Happy to know that you are out of the game and trying to get a new start.Inform me if the new game out,I am just can’t wait to playing Juicy Beast’s game!

  • Sasha Puck says:

    Hello guys, you’re awesome so please hold on and make cool games as you do! There are a lot of your fans so what do you think about a donation button or something like that for people who want to support you? We love you, good luck!

    • Yowan says:

      Thanks, it means a lot!

  • Fasda says:

    Local-Multiplayer are only for Nintendo Wii console. Why? You only buy that console to play with friends. Playing alone is better in almost all the other consoles, so, no market there.

    I came here from your Burrito Bison Launcha Libre. Was long but great….. And i think i could say this blog post too. 😛

    However, Alex work made me think…. Is he on good software design now? What technologies are you using for development? Do you have a recent polished game (Like burrito bison Launcha Libre) on github, bitbucket or another public repositorie? He have a personal blog or something?

    Thanks!! And continue your big work. I recommended near all your games to lot of people since Gobtron 🙂

  • NervousXtian says:

    I still play Burrito Bison and Knightmare Tower a few times every year. I almost feel guilty for not buying Toto, but it didn’t appeal to me at all.. I already have enough couch co-op and it just didn’t seem to have a good enough hook compared to Sports Friends, Spelunky, Towerfall, Nidhogg, etc I hope you guys the best, some of my favorite time gaming has been with your games.

  • Réjean Lefebvre says:

    Quelle belle et intelligente analyse de cette dernière expérience!!! J’étais loin de m’imaginer tout le travail et démarches que Toto ait pu engendrer. Malgré un résultat décevant, vous n’hésitez pas à relever les manches, tirer des leçons de ce passé et voir en avant. Vous avez toute mon admiration…..Réjean merci pour votre belle visite hier

  • Syed Amiruzzaman says:

    all are very funny game. really awesome.

  • JohnnyMayHymn says:

    Really loved the graphs. Have you thought of marketing it as a battle of mental endurance towards people who think they’re smart? But, you probably don’t even want to think about it anymore.

  • FFG says:

    Hey I found you guys through the following game and would like to see it advance as I really enjoyed it, also I wish I knew about you guys a lot sooner as I would’ve purchased Toto Temple Deluxe as it has very beautiful art and seems like fun gameplay. Though I agree that you guys would’ve had a better release back in 2014 and an even better one if you released online multiplayer.

  • Tom says:

    Another mistake that was not covered: in the trailer I never knew the objective of the game. If I knew that I had to reach some amount of points before my competitors, I would have imagined that it would have been a frenzy competition (I like that) as you described in your professional graph. Showing that there are different modalities made everything muddier (I even couldn’t know if these were different modalities).

    Good luck, I enjoyed Knightmare Tower a lot :-).

  • GideonMax says:

    please do NOT make an exclusivity deal

    sony and microsoft are scummy corporations

    exclusives are anti consumer and making your game an exclusive won’t really help

  • Mizonu says:

    Reading this article makes me think about the game my team and I are working on since several years, because we faced some of the situations you explained.

    About the multiplayer, I’m thinking about some changes that happened on Steam who allows to play local multiplayers game at distance. Did you see a change in the sales of your game since the “Steam Remote Play” arrived ?

    In any case, your game is fun to play for people who play games at home with friends. We had lots fun playing it, thank you to have done it!

    And thank you for your article, it’s super interesting to have this view on the project and know more about what did happen during the project.

  • Read More

    Leave a Comment

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.