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May 5, 2021
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Why ditching mobile for PC may have saved our game

by rahul sehgal on 03/29/16 08:39:00 pm   Featured Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


This is a reprint of the original article published here.

Bird of Light, our upcoming game, will be released for PC on Steam soon, through a US-based PC game publisher.

Now that’s done and over with, some of you will have noticed us promoting the game for mobile for the last few months; it turns out that we may have made a game better suited for PC/console.

No disrespect intended towards mobile games, but it’s really hard for me to make something that shows all of it’s tricks inside of ten minutes of gameplay. We (kinda inadvertently) ended up making something of a core game.

I mean, think about it. First you have to alter the game world by solving a puzzle, then run about at breakneck speed taking 90 to 180 degree turns, jumping over and dodging stuff while fighting disorientation and figuring out Where The Hell That Egg Went.

It turns out that it’s also really hard to sell a game to mobile publishers that has depth in gameplay and story, no gratuitous violence AND an un-sexualized female main character. I have already chronicled our struggles with gender stereotyping in this featured article and also this one.

After a number of rejections from mobile publishers (some of whom tried pretty hard to get us to change the gender of the main character) we, in a moment of inspiration, decided to look at PC and console. It was one of those head-slapping moments when you want to kick yourself for not thinking about it sooner.

As soon I thought of it, I started looking for a suitable publisher. The difference in responses from Mobile and PC publishers was pretty stark. Nearly every publisher in the PC space we wrote to, wrote back. Some said no, some said maybe, some said yes; but they all wrote back. It was as if we had passed through a portal and entered a parallel universe where people actually understood and looked, really looked, at video games for what they were.

This may seem like a Sour Grapes tirade towards the mobile game space, but I cannot reiterate how unbelievably cynical and commercial it seems to have become of late. The love for the medium of video games and associated risk-taking has, it seems, all but vanished from the larger companies in the mobile business.

Bird of Light is an open-world adventure runner and, despite what the friendly visuals suggest, a pretty hard game to beat. We have struggled with exactly how difficult to make it, and had watered it down quite a bit to cater to a casual gaming audience. We are now reclaiming the core character and complexity of the game for PC and console.

We realized that we had at least six hours of solid gameplay in there; game mechanics are revealed slowly. The Leap is unlocked after playing the game for around an half an hour or more (level seven).

Teleportation Bridges are unlocked in the fourteenth level, and that’s at least three to four hours in.

Moving Pickups are introduced around level sixteen or so; it gets diabolical at this point.

The story panels have to be unlocked by collecting medals, that only come from completing missions. Collecting medals is hard. You’ll see.

Also, most importantly, the game plays great with a controller. A twitchy action game without snappy and intuitive controls is going nowhere, but Bird of Light actually plays better with a controller than swipe/tilt controls for mobile.

For PC, It will be a straight-up paid game without any DLCs.

When it finally does come to mobile, we’re pretty sure that there are many core players out there who would enjoy playing Bird of Light; it’s just that it’s incredibly hard (and expensive) to get them to know about the game. Hopefully, some exposure on Steam will make that somewhat easier, as and when we decide to release on mobile.

We’re just happy that we can go back to what we originally wanted to make-a unique and challenging game that has made us as much as we have made it.

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