Last week ustwo™’s Whale Trail [99¢] hit the App Store. It was quickly featured as game of the week, and was met with tons of critical acclaim. We thought it was great in our review, and most other reviews online that I’ve seen mention similar feelings. Sure, the gameplay is a little on the basic side but Whale Trail’s production values are absolutely through the roof.
A behind the scenes video from ustwo™ recently was released, and aside from the game’s producers and designers providing their thoughts on the game, ustwo™ also revealed the staggering amounts of time, energy, and money that went into the project. “Chief Wonka" Mills also discusses the concept of a “succailure," citing previous apps Papercut [$5.99] and Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime [$3.99]. Both well received, with tons of support from Apple, but neither turning a profit.
Take a look:
Another interesting point raised in the video is the significant advantage that indie developers can have. Running a design firm like ustwo™ is expensive, and investing in the App Store is risky business when you’ve got a full office, staff of employees, and all the other expenses that come with that. The App Store is a curious place, as it really makes no difference to the end user if you’re working out of your bedroom or releasing projects from a design firm that have invested over £500,000 into them. Every iOS developer has equal chances of discovery, visibility, and success– Assuming of course that they put out a good product.
We’re anxious to see what ustwo™’s next move is going to be. Whale Trail is going to need to be downloaded a ton to break even, especially at a 99¢ price point. I’d love to say “hopefully this doesn’t discourage them from iOS development," as I think it’s outfits like ustwo™ that seem the most likely to push the platform forward, but how much of a financial hole can they dig themselves keeping their fingers crossed that critical acclaim and love from Apple eventually turns into the hundreds of thousands of downloads they need?