Go Plague Monkey! Go! on Hold
It's been about three years since I first started developing my second indie game project, Go Plague Monkey! Go! What was originally intended to be a small game grew into a much bigger, much more complicated project... and then it kept growing... and then I kind of burnt out. Sorry! I've decided to put the game's development on hold and work on other projects for a while. But it's not all bad news. I'm still planning to finish the game. I've also learned an enormous amount from working on it, and I'm excited to apply what I've learned. In particular, my immediate plan is to work on new game development tools that cater to my specific strengths and needs as a solo developer.
A lot has happened since I started working on Plague Monkey. Between now and then, my first game, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, was greenlit, updated, and released on Steam where it has been successful beyond my expectations. Across PC and Xbox, Wagon Adventure has sold over 100,000 copies to date, a number I still have trouble comprehending. The indie game market has also changed dramatically. There are more indie games than ever before, and competition is brutal.
Wagon Adventure's success and the changing market both added pressure to Plague Monkey's development, and I think that contributed to the game's scope creep: the longer I worked on the game the more ambitious it became. I also made another classic mistake. I wanted Plague Monkey to have a messy hand drawn look, but I drastically underestimated the work needed to deliver that style. The game's increased scope compounded the art issues, and eventually I found myself burnt out. I still plan to finish and release Plague Monkey, but I think my best option is to work on other things for a while and then come back to the game with a fresh perspective. I'm extremely grateful to everyone that has supported me while I've worked on the game, and I'm sorry if you're dissapointed by this change in plans.
My immediate plan is to rethink how I make games. I've learned a lot about both my skills and limits as a solo developer and about game development in general, and I want to incorporate everything I've learned into my game development process. More specifically, I'm excited to explore new game development tools. With Wagon Adventure, the design of the game was simple enough that I didn't really need custom tools. However, for bigger projects like Plague Monkey I think having tools built specifically for the way I want to work may be crucial to maintaining productivity over a longer development cycle. If you're interested, you can follow my progress on Twitter.