Will Heatwave's game pay the price for not releasing for free immediately? Well, that is yet to be seen. In a recent interview with Anthony Castoro, Executive Producer and CEO, he was very open and honest about all of these perceived issues, and seemed ready to continue using such open language with his audience.
Click past the cut and let's talk about the upcoming new price, a new class, and a little surprise for all of the players who paid for the game upfront.
So far, and despite the honesty about the need for more players, the game seems to be doing pretty well. It was top game on Steam, and only now is being beaten by games that are on sale. The game also boasts well over a 50 percent conversion rate -- meaning that players who bought it are subscribing beyond the free period -- and this is with an opt-out feature that allows players to avoid putting a credit card in when starting the 30-day free period.
The question is, then, why be so honest about needing more players when the current population is busily logging in and playing the game? Why even talk about the numbers?
"Gamers aren't stupid, and I think that one of the things we have that is valuable to us is our reputation and our interaction with the players." Castoro says. "It would be easy to log in, count the number of players on the server and realize that there was an issue with population. If you have half a brain and are playing our game, you might be concerned about population. I'd rather deal with the repercussions of having some transparency and honesty than just sort of ignore the players. You always get the best results by dealing with the issues directly."
"Free-to-play is one way that you will be able to play this game in the future. To me, free-to-play is a trial with no time limit, and ultimately you're trying to get people to convert to paying. But the game was not built to do free-to-play from a game design perspective. So rather than re-do the entire game to be sort of item driven, and to have a store and all of the things that you need to do free-to-play well, we decided to focus on what was already there as much as possible and start with a small community. Again, obviously we want as many players playing the game as possible but, from our perspective, we need to get the game where it needs to be and have the right sized audience to go with that."
In an attempt to lure even more players into the world of minotaurs and magic, there will be a price reduction, down to $29.99 in both digital and brick-and-mortar stores. (Yes, that means boxes -- remember those?) It was refreshing to hear talk of physical copies, complete with box art and other goodies -- something you just don't hear as much about in this digital download age. The game is now featured in chains like Wal-Mart and Best Buy, as well as in popular online stores like Amazon.
We'd like to thank Anthony for taking the time to sit down with us, and for his continued openness with the community. We imagine that it has not gone unnoticed.