Post-Launch Prospects: Learning from Firewatch

Software company and publisher Panic has recently posted an insightful retrospective via its blog regarding the post-launch of its first-person adventure video game Firewatch, co-published and developed by Campo Santo. These insights are extremely valuable for a Dev team like us; what we could expect and possible post-launch scenarios.

Reviews/write-ups/streaming

There's no getting away from the fact that your stomach will be in a wreck on launch day. ReRunners is already gaining lots of nice, positive reviews during its Soft Launch, but it's still nerve-racking logging in to check new reviews. Firewatch has also had a lot of high-profile influencers stream the game, but it's still unclear whether they were paid for or were organic streams.

Sales

Recouping investment is also a talking point, with Firewatch making its investment back in roughly 24 hours. 500,000 copies sold in one month is incredible for an indie game.

Improvements

Here at Klang, we're in a similar position as Campo Santo although we're still in Soft Launch. We read Tweets, communicate on our Forum, reach out to our audience, and work 24/7 to find bugs and other points of frustration for our players. This will never stop. But, constant improvement is necessary to make a quality product.

When a game meets real life

At one point during Firewatch, you'll find a disposable camera, and at the end of the game, you can choose to upload the photos you took to Panic's server. Then, you can order physical copies of these images. This, alongside encouraging fan art, are both really cool ways to bring the game and brand into real life, rather than only through a monitor or mobile/tablet. We have a lot of crazy ideas for merging ReRunners with real life and other forms of multimedia, but we'll see what happens with them.

One final interesting point was that a lot of Panic's marketing budget went into last year's GDC Firewatch preview centre experience.

For us, reading about the success and post-launch insights of a booming indie game is very inspiring! Here's to the future!

Image: nasa.gov