Jeff's been a good friend of mine for a few years now. In 2014 Megafuzz's game Spoiler Alert launched on Steam and even got some instant publicity through many reviewers such as TotalBiscuit. Jeff's a good example of knowing when you need to start planning your game marketing - their game took 3 years to complete so you need to make sure your marketing precisely works for you.
Who Are You?
Developer name: Megafuzz
I’m the primary guy (Jeff Jensen), functioning as programmer and general game designer.
Everyone else is on a per project basis; graphics artist Martin Bruun Pedersen worked on Spoiler Alert, while graphics artist Misael Armendariz worked on Cake Raider. Composer Roland LaGoy has worked on both titles as composer and sound technician.
Megafuzz was officially founded in 2013.
What’s your Game?
Game title: Spoiler Alert
Game summary: When you pick this game up, it has already been beaten. The big bad boss is defeated, the coins are collected and the princess has been rescued. Why, oh why?
Unraveling this mystery takes you through the entire game, from the last level to the first. You must uncollect the coins, revive the enemies and avoid nasty time paradoxes. In other words, you must uncomplete the game by playing it backwards.
Made with: GameMaker:Studio
How did you come up with the idea/concept for this game?
I was at a gamejam where the theme was “Resistance”. Most people interpreted that very literally and made games about friction or rebel forces. I couldn’t find a graphics artist to partner up with, so as a programmer who’s not able to draw to save his life, my first thought was “resistance against graphics” and with that I was about to do a game with fully programmed graphics (using particles).
I was joking around with someone at the jam that “graphics were too mainstream anyway”. This ridicilous little conversation of joking around made me think “resistance against mainstream video game conventions” in general. And the most mainstream, reocurring thing I could find in almost any videogame, was that you always had to complete it – so what would happen if you had to UNcomplete it?
What started out as a ridicilous little stray thought ended up being the concept I worked with. From there, the Super Mario parody format was an obvious choice, because it’s something that most people, even those are not avid gamers, would likely be at least slightly familiar with. Plus, I love Super Mario.
How long did it take to build? What was that process like?
It took almost 3 years – we were two people who lived in separate cities, we both had full time commitments so we could only work on this in our spare time, strictly online communication was a challenge (especially with a team mate who had never worked on a game before), plus we ended up redoing the entire game from scratch 3 times in total.
Have you released a game previously? If so, how did it go?
Previously I had only released one “full” game – a small, free platform adventure by the name of Rainy Day: Treasurehunt. I put it up on the (now defunct) YoYoGames Sandbox where it was featured and got a very warm reception.
Is this your full time job?
Have you used an external publisher before?
What did the publisher do for your game? Was it worth it?
Helped it get coverage by big sites (IGN, Kotaku, GameSpot etc.), secured us expo spots at important shows such as PAX, EGX, Casual Connect and much more.
Definitely worth it!
Did you have a marketing budget? If so, what was worth it? What was a waste?
It was built in to our publishing contract – it included stuff like securing expo slots.
Do you rely solely on game purchases for profit?
For now, yes. This will likely change in the future.
What was/is your marketing plan/strategy?
For now, we let our publisher deal with that stuff.
What advice did you take 5 years ago? Is it still true today?
A good game isn’t necessarily anything without marketing.
If anything, that’s even more true today than 5 years ago.
What advice would you pass on to developers who are looking to launch their game?
Even in today’s modern times of post-launch patches, generally speaking, you only have one shot – your launch. Don’t rush out a broken mess if you can help it – make that first impression count.
Do you have a dev log?
Where can people follow you?
What’s your favourite element of the game that everyone should know about?
The Steam version has a level editor! All levels in the original game could be recreated with it, and more.
Why should I play it?
To see how it begins, of course!
Where do you get inspiration to build games or come up with an idea?
Everywhere; going for a walk, watching a show, talking with a friend… Inspiration is always waiting.
For aspiring gamers reading this who want to work in the games industry/make games, what advice can you give them?
Play it safe; if you can build the game in your spare time without quitting your job, do it. It might take 3 times longer, but you’ll be safe.
Also, persistance is the most important thing. Your first 10 projects may fail. It’s keeping at it until the 11th one that makes the difference. Skill, timing, luck, marketing, all those things are important – but persistance is the only true defining factor. Keep it at – you’re only GUARANTEED failure if you stop.
What marketing information did you wish you knew before launching your game?
I already knew this before launch, but I would have wished we had spent more energy on building our audience as we were building the game. At launch it’s too late for that kind of stuff, and although you can explode post-launch, it never hurts to have an audience before the game is out – waiting to get it on day one.