Early last month, Kairosoft released a little game on the App Store called Game Dev Story. Game Dev Story puts you in the driver’s seat of your very own videogame company. As the boss, you decide what games are made, how your employees spend their time, how much money you’ll spend and a lot of other things that real game developers go through every day. Game Dev Story gives you a different perspective on the inner workings of videogame development. You will, just as I have, find yourself doing things that you’ve criticized developers for doing. This is my Game Dev Story.
My studio is called Vagrant. I wanted to call it Vagrant Studios but I went over the character limit. The first thing on my mind was making money. I am running a business and I’ve got virtual mouths to feed. My company was small, and I only had a few hundred thousand dollars to get things up and running. I hired a game director and a sound engineer to go along with my coder, and writer who were already on staff. No one in this industry works for free, so I had to pay their contract fees up front. By the time this was done, there was no way I could afford to make a game. That’s when contract jobs came in.
Game Dev Story lets you take on contracted work to earn more money. You’ll do things such as make comics, create city mascots and create game engines. All of this work is under a deadline. If you don’t make the deadline, the contractor will never work with you again. Your staff has to up to the task before you take on anything.
After doing enough contract jobs, Vagrant was finally ready to release its first game. We had very little capital, so we had to develop a PC game. By using the talents of my team, Vagrant released a historical simulation game called First Strike. It received modest reviews and sold 124,721 units. The development cost was around $300K and the game made approximately $873,000. Vagrant’s first game was a success.
Next time, I will recall Vagrant’s move into the console space, and its shift from making action games, to embracing niche titles.