After teasing a new game in the middle of last month, Lili ($0.99) developer BitMonster finally came clean and officially unveiled Gunner Z. It’s a zombie shooter… wait, stay with me. It’s a zombie shooter that has you driving around a quarantined city in awesome armored and heavily armed vehicles, irradicating the “undead" or “infected" or whatever it is that’s making everyone all zombie-like. The trailer looked very bad ass.
In an interview over at GamesIndustry.biz, co-founder of BitMonster Lee Perry talks about the experience of leaving a AAA studio (Epic Games) and starting up his own indie studio with five other colleagues. Perry describes it as a double-edged sword. You lose the benefits of AAA like specialized departments that can produce specific things like a sound effect or a UI design, and instead the members of BitMonster are forced to wear many hats and sometimes come up with solutions for things in areas that aren’t exactly their expertise. At the same time that can keep things exciting, and of course there’s a whole truckload of extra creative freedom when working as an indie studio.
One other aspect that’s missing from the Indie Dream is a dedicated and experienced marketing department that can help them decide on a business model for Gunner Z. As such, the game will be an experiment in balancing in-app purchases and creating a sustainable economy in the game. As of right now, Perry isn’t even sure if it will be a paid game or free-to-play from the start. Perry states:
“Just like everything we’ve done, it’s going to be a big learning curve for us because we haven’t done microtransaction games before. The ones that were in Lili were entirely optional, and it was never meant to be like a free-to-play game. With Gunner Z, it’s very much about this being a learning experience for us in trying to figure out how to make an economy. Honestly, we don’t quite know yet whether it’s going to be charged for up front or not."
Even though the terms freemium and free-to-play scare off a lot of folks, Perry also states that Gunner Z will go through an initial soft launch period so as to collect feedback about their game and its pay model and the team will be willing to make tweaks until everything feels just right. It’s apparent that BitMonster isn’t a group of scam artists looking to suck wallets dry, rather they are a newly-independent studio who are struggling to find their footing in an increasingly turbulent and fast-moving world of mobile gaming.
The entire interview is a great read so hit up the source link below for more from Perry, and keep an eye out for Gunner Z to hit the App Store in the hopefully not-too-distant future.