If you haven't heard me on twitter, Thunder Gun: Revenge of the Mutants hasn't been doing "well." At the end of 2 weeks after its release, I've sold 12 copies. Not an exaggeration, but an actual 12 copies.
There are the obvious things; I haven't had much success reaching out to the press, and that's entirely my fault. Another thing I need to consider is that Thunder Gun might just be a bad game. Personally, I don't believe the latter, but game designers aren't really known for their objectivity when it comes to their work.
So where do I go from here? What does a release like this mean in 2015?
After a lot of emotional turmoil, I've stepped back a bit to think about Potato Interactive and my future as a developer. You know what the truth is? I'm never going to stop making games. Even though Thunder Gun hasn't made $1,000 in its first weeks, that doesn't mean it won't make back all of its money by the time I'm dead. I can add to the game, I can keep trying to let the press know, and I sure as hell can make new games.
Maybe that's the magic of making a game in 2015; even if you're done with the quote "entire game," it's never really done. People expect updates. People find it as some little known thing and latch on to it. Even the original Thunder Gun only found an audience almost a year after it originally came out, and that was 5 years ago!
The climate for games might be crowded, yeah. Some games don't get written about when they come out, yeah. But there are so many ways people learn about games today that it's silly to think that it can't be played.
When I say I'm "redefining" my success on Thunder Gun, what I'm basically saying is that yes, so far Thunder Gun is a commercial failure, but it is my first commercial game, my first game as a business, and (from my perspective) one of my best crafted games. Realizing those aspects, Thunder Gun is a success. I get to learn from this. I set out to make a commercial game and release it, and I DID that. I can be proud about that.
So I'm not exactly ignoring Thunder Gun's shortcomings, I'm going to try emailing more people, continue to improve the game as I work on my next, and who knows: maybe it'll take off, get Greenlit, or even just find its audience.
I guess we'll see.