First of all, I want to announce officially that Castle Of N’Mar, Loren’s expansion, is finally out after a long testing stage. It features three new characters, four new romance combos, new zones to explore, non-linear quests, different endings and much more.
You can get more info at the official page: http://www.winterwolves.com/lorencastleofnmar.htm
If you preordered the game, to register it just redownload the game demo from the website to get the latest version which now includes the base game+expansion.
Making of and postmortem
I had the idea of making an expansion to the main game since beginning of the year. Including all the content in the base game wouldn’t have been viable for me – since the game+expansion is now 230k words and has really a LOT of content, almost 3 times the length of Planet Stronghold!
So for obvious financial reasons I couldn’t include everything in the base game, but I decided to split it in the base + expansion.
The expansion was well received and sold well. However, I made a big mistake when I planned it: making an expansion that adds new content to the existing storyline is… A TOTAL PAIN!!
Why? For several reasons, in no particular order:
- Because you had to check every possible change that could happen in the main story, based on the new content you added
- Because the new content was visible only before a specific point of the story, causing some confusion on players
- Because it would also change the final endings! So, sometimes you had to play it to the end to find out any plot holes
- Because not happy about the difficulty, I even decided to add non-linear quests which added extra problems!
So as you can see it wasn’t definitely a smooth release. Consider also that this summer when we worked on it was insanely hot, and… yeah, it was really hard to finish it, but finally is out and I’m quite happy about the result
But if I had to do it again, for sure the story would take place after the base game, continuing the plot, rather than adding extra content in the middle of it. A mistake to not repeat again.
Also, while some people liked the non-linear quests, I am not sure they’re really worth the extra efforts. I think players would prefer a longer game anyway, rather than having non-linear quests.
The manga bundle
As you know, in the past weeks I also ran a promotion called “Manga Bundle”. It ended with 1374 bundles sold and while I don’t know the final gross revenues yet, but even if it doesn’t seem as good as the other bundles, I don’t mind too much since I did it mainly for the charity aspect and to let more people know about my games.
It didn’t do so well also probably because it wasn’t a very good moment to do it. Too many good, top AAA games coming out (Torchlight 2, Borderlands 2, XCOM, etc) and also several bundles including the big Humble Bundle launched about at the same time. I think things might have gone differently under different circumstances.
Also to be fair, the games I offered were the oldest ones and plain visual novels. When Spirited Heart was unlocked 2 days ago, the bundles sold had a big spike – obviously, that game for $1 was a great deal. I have the feeling that perhaps in a different moment and with different games, it might have done much better.
So will I do more bundles in future? I don’t know yet, but for sure not soon