Last Updated on May 16, 2018
There is a lot of controversy with PC gaming today in regards to what developers should do to keep a game going. But what really make a game tick with everyone? What keeps a game going? There are a few factors that I’d like to share in today’s post.
Boss Key Studios, the studio behind Lawbreakers and their newest game Radical Heights, is deciding to shut down to “reflect” on what they’ve created. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed Lawbreakers and Radical Heights had its moments but I feel like if studios continue to simply copy the trends then they’ll tank as a company… Boss Key is a good example of that.
Lawbreakers was supposed to compete with games like Overwatch. Radical Heights was trying to compete with PUBG and Fortnite Battle Royale… Both failed.
This post isn’t going to be about Boss Key Studios, but their situation is a perfect example of what I want to talk about today.
What factors does a PC game need to stay alive?
Is content the key to a game’s success? Does it come down to consistency and creativity of the content?
I’d say no.
Because if you ask the first batch of players, myself included, if they liked the content in Lawbreakers then you’d know it wasn’t a bad game. Or if you played it yourself you could probably agree that there was plenty of content and the game was well balanced.
Sure, the amount of content in a game helps with the replayability which in turn keeps people playing… But if content was everything then games such as Lawbreakers would not fail.
The content of a game also needs to stay balanced. Take a look at The Culling for example, they had a few bad patches in a row that changed the feel of combat and the community didn’t like it.
But if you took a look at the places where people were reaching out, such as Reddit, the developers never really responded. They kept the game in the patches that the community didn’t like and as a result the game died out.
Content is definitely an important part of a game’s success but it’s also not everything. There are many other things to factor in to gauge why a game is or isn’t doing well.
Fortnite Battle Royale’s development team has a great community management team behind their BR mode. They listen and reply back to most of the community on the subreddit as well as on forums and Twitter.
For example, Epic Games decided to add in a guided missile into the game to spice things up, to add in a new mechanic. It turned out to be pretty broken and it wasn’t fun. If you had the guided missile end game, odds are that you were going to win.
The community made a bunch of posts and what not about how they felt the guided missile didn’t fit the game and Epic Games ended up removing it. This is just a small example of how they interact with their community.
They had the #BoogieDown contest going on not too long ago and most of the community desired for the “Orange Shirt Kid” to win. So Epic Games added in a taunt called “Orange Justice” for free as an answer to their community.
Communicating with the communities of games is important for any development team. It’s almost a must, especially with how games like Fortnite and Overwatch are consistently listening to feedback and implementing changes ASAP.
Many have said that Boss Key Studio’s games failed because they weren’t original enough. They simply made Lawbreakers since Overwatch was gaining popularity and with the rise of battle royale games they decided to create Radical Heights.
Although both games have original universes going on, they didn’t really differentiate themselves enough in the genres.
It was the “same old song and dance” and most people weren’t going to get away from similar titles that they enjoyed more.
I’m not sure if Boss Key Studios simply sought out to capture some of the players from games such as Overwatch or Fortnite but many think that is the case.
A lot of people see it as a money grab, especially with Radical Heights since the development time was so short.
Overwatch is an interesting example because some of the game modes are just like how Team Fortress 2 plays. But since it’s an entirely different universe and Blizzard being as good of a company as they are, it was able to take off without anyone feeling indifferent about how much it plays like TF2 in some of the modes.
Or look at Fortnite Battle Royale… PUBG and H1Z1 took off in popularity. Epic Games saw this popularity and jumped in the band wagon with their own version of battle royale which included being able to build forts.
Originality definitely gets people interested in a game and to differentiate yourself in a certain genre… That’s part of what makes a game fun. But maybe another part of success, especially when it comes to being inspired from certain games, is timing.
Look at the success of games such as Paladins, Fortnite or Path of Exile and you’ll maybe understand the point I am trying to get across when it comes to timing.
Sure, Fortnite Battle Royale could have maybe been successful without all of the hype of PUBG or H1Z1 but it probably would not have been created had those games not taken off.
You’d be a fool to say that Epic Games created this game mode because they came up with the idea themselves.
Paladins came out shortly after Overwatch and they have extremely similar heroes… The shield on one character looks exactly the same as Reinhardt’s for example.
In my opinion, Path of Exile is basically a better Diablo 3. They took the formula and sort of some of the design from the Diablo games and made their own version that people resonated with.
So maybe part of it is timing… seeing an opportunity to create a specific type of game based on what most people are playing. Because had Overwatch, PUBG or Diablo not become successful then I highly doubt that games such as Paladins would become successful.
Marketing is also a vital part to a game’s success. If a development team creates an amazing game but nobody knows about it then how is it going to become successful?
Most companies are contacting YouTube content creators and Twitch streamers to play their game to their audience to get some awareness going on. Then there’s putting it on platforms such as Steam since everyone knows about it.
I’ve seen plenty of gameplay videos on Facebook and sometimes even some well made gifs on Reddit showcasing a game. When it comes to marketing a video game I feel like the consistency is what matters most. Developers need to keep their games viewed by relevant audiences for a long while, at least until the audience themselves do all of the marketing for them.
This is a key component for sure but I also feel like marketing is probably the least important part for a game’s success. Look at Super Meat Boy for example, they didn’t really have much marketing they simply made a great game and put it on the Xbox store. It blew up because it was a fun game!
What Do YOU Think?
What games do you play all the time? Is it popular? Why do you continue to play it?
I keep playing Brawlhalla because I love fighting games and I resonate with how the game keeps updating the mechanics and coming out with new content. It’s the same reason why I spend a lot of time on Rainbow Six: Siege… New content gets hyped and I’m all about it.
I’d like to hear from you guys why you think certain games have become successful and why some games have died down.