Launching a Cozy Survival game into Early Access [I AM FUTURE]
Looks like industry peers loved reading the launch analysis for Punch Club 2, so let's do one for the recently released I AM FUTURE. It's been close to a month, and this is a master class in game publishing.
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Launched August 8 into Early Access
Launched with 160k Wishlists
Currently over $500k in sales
Brand new Intellectual Property
Median Time Spent: 6h 45m
Peak CCU: 2,600 players
The Wishlist Timeline:
Game Announcement - PC Gaming Show 2022
The Steam page had been up since mid-2021
We "revealed" the game at the PC Gaming Show in 2022 and Guerilla Collective 2022
We've had an announcement trailer combining CGI and gameplay
The result was an immediate boost to the Steam page, giving us over 10k wishlists overnight. This boosted the game to a total of 45k+ wishlists over the summer of 2022.
Steam Next Fest [Demo Festival]
The next big beat was the Steam Next Festival in Early 2023. The team spent over 5 months iterating on the demo with different target audiences, constantly playtesting and tweaking. We knew we had to deliver something above and beyond what players typically expect at these festivals, and that we'd need to launch it before the actual festival starts -- so that Steam can start getting data about the demo, and give us good placement when the festival starts.
Launched the demo on Jan 22nd 2023, which is 2 weeks before the festival started
Heavily pitched the demo to influencers . Most of the time this doesn't make sense as they don't play demos, however we knew our demo was really good and got organic pickup leading up to the festival
Released a Sing Along trailer on Feb 2
Gathered over 15k Wishlists before the Steam Festival started
Launched into the Top10 Popular Upcoming Section
The Steam Fest of Feb 2023 had plenty of incredible demos, and our overpolish and iterations for 5 months paid off - we managed to stay in the top10 Popular Upcoming section for the whole festival, gathering a whopping 68k additional Wishlists, bringing the total to 114k by end of April 2023.
Game Delay - May 2
After the demo we had a clear idea of player expectations. We wanted to ship the game into Early Access, and in a way that would exceed those expectations. So we decided to add more content, and push the game from May 18 to Aug 8.
The announcement happened on May 2
Announcement met with positivity - we did it when a few AAA titles launched into clearly unfinished states, so the community rallied behind the idea of a couple of extra months. Phew.
Delay announcement actually boosted wishlists!
Participated in the 2023 PC Gaming Show
Published a series of materials, including Gameplay Overviews and other trailers
Pushed Social Media Marketing to active the community and get everyone hyped for the release
Steady flow of Wishlists leading up to launch
LAUNCH - August 8
Leading up to launch we did heavy QA and weekly closed community playtests. Needed to ensure the build is bug-free and as polished as possible. Most single player survival games launch into Early Access with not enough content. We wanted it to feel like a pleasant surprise when you realize there's over 6h of really good content.
Heavy QA and playtesting leading up to launch
Social media activity hyping up the release
Published RELEASE TRAILER a week before launch
Published an Early Access ROADMAP a week before launch
The ROADMAP served as a second "release date" announcement, boosting organic visibility since people were excited and surprised we were upfront about it
Launched with 160k Wishlists
90% positive reviews (almost 1k of them)
2.6k peak CCUs
Great influencer engagement
At this point we have a solid plan for 1.0 and a great community supporting the game, eagerly waiting for updates. The game has close to 200k outstanding wishlists at the point of writing this, which means there'll be hype for any discount and 1.0 release.
I believe we did a great job of marketing the game and being open about its dev process. Today gamers are as interested in how games are made as in the final products.
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