So what happens when you launch a game and you have no idea what you're doing, your skills are sub-par at best, and the thing is one giant bug fest? Well, I can tell you it doesn't go very well. People buy it, they get mad, your reviews plummet, interest is lost and the community moves on.
We wanted to make the game better from the start but, like many indies, we just didn't have the skills and decided to take some time and improve. Working with other studios on a few projects helped enormously. You get a chance to see how other studios work and learn easier or better ways to create assets, program game-play, and market yourselves. Going out of our way to learn new programs and skills helps too. Sure this all takes time, but in the end it is well worth it.
So one year after the release of PeriAreion on Steam, my friend Erica and I decided to take another crack at it. What started as a small art update turned into a year-long complete game overhaul.
The reason we did this was not money. The game was hardly selling at all at this point and the reviews had dipped to negative under the new Steam system. We probably could have made another game with the time and sold it. We did it because we just liked the concept of the game and we felt we owed it to the fans and everyone who initially bought our crappy game. So going back to it felt right. Every improvement we made felt so much better that we had to keep going.
The re-release launched during the Steam winter sale and the reception has been great, so far. We didn't even think anyone was still playing! The hardest thing now is getting people to give it a second try. Some new reviews have helped us climb up from "negative" to "mixed" but marketing a relaunch is hard. How do we convince people to retry a bad game? We might know how to make better games now but still are at a complete loss when it comes to marketing them.
Regardless of the game's recovery, or lack of one, we are still planning updates and support. Hopefully this helps other devs to not give up on their titles and keep supporting them. Too many small games are abandoned after a botched launch. If you just listen and respond to the community, a lot of the answers are there.
If anyone is interested, please give PeriAreion (https://store.steampowered.com/app/349540/) a go and leave us feedback (or a review!) so we know what to keep working on and we can keep improving our labor of love.