"Whenever you work very intensely with something and then suddenly you’re done, there’s an emptiness, a hole; there’s nothing driving you anymore.”
- Villa Gorilla's Jens Andersson recalls the aftermath of launching Yoku's Island Express
PC Gamer has put together an interesting article that collects the experiences of small, sometimes one-person, game studios that have poured years and years into and shipped their one big passion project.
The story is an especially worthwhile read for fellow game developers, as quotes from the likes of Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone, Yoku’s Island Express dev Villa Gorilla, and Iconoclasts dev Joakim Sandberg explore the emotional highs and lows of bringing a dream project to fruition, and offer advice on how to deal with those often stressful situations.
“The most intense feeling of relief, pride, and happiness I think I’ve ever felt in unison. But only for a brief while,” said D-Pad Studio’s Simon Stafsnes Andersen, explaining his emotional state following Owlboy’s release. “It quickly gets replaced by feelings of doubt. What happens now that people are playing it? Are there negative reviews? How is our community doing? Did someone discover a bug? What do we do now in terms of promotion? It turns out the feelings you have before the launch never really go away.”
In another excerpt, Iconoclasts creator Sandberg describes the low period and days of anxiety he experienced after releasing Iconoclasts while closely monitoring reviews, streams, and videos that popped up in the aftermath. After an intense period of recovery, he tells PC Gamer he’s learned not to let his personal relationships suffer during development or let a project become all consuming.
“Don’t squander your close friends. The most important thing is to be able to walk away, to take weekends," says Sandburg. “I didn’t do any of that.”