Seeing a developer studio switching markets isn’t a frequent thing to see. It does take a certain amount of dedication to switch from mobile to console development and vice versa. In a recent interview we held with The Game Bakers’ creative director and producer Emeric Thoa, we find out why they made the leap and how difficult it is for indie developers to choose a target market.
Both Thoa and Audrey Leprince, the executive producer at The Game Bakers come from an AAA game dev background and started the studio with a clear focus on mobile games.
As the industry evolved through and as more and more studios found a way to achieve their own audience, it took only one try for the studio to succeed in PC and console game development. Interestingly, Furi managed to appeal to the audience, making it one of the best indie games to ever release. Thoa claims that The Game Bakers were better of making games for PC and consoles. As a result, switching was an obvious switch:
Audrey and I come from the AAA industry, so we were used to working on console games. When we created The Game Bakers, it was the beginning of mobile gaming, there were no in-App Purchases, no F2P. Designing for mobile was fresh and exciting. But in 2013 the market changed, and we knew we were better suited to make PC and console games (premium games with a gamepad as a controller) because that’s what we play and that’s what we know. Mobile was more like a breather in our career. But it was a challenge to ramp up the team and get ready to develop for console again, without the strength of a big publisher to back us up.
The switch from mobile to PC and console development didn’t come easy for The Game Bakers, though. The studio’s director reveals that creating games for consoles isn’t an easy feat. The amount of hardware needed to support your game as well as the way marketing works on consoles is intimidating for small developers. He says:
Well, designing mobile games in 2010 has nothing to do with designing them now. The marketplace has completely changed. But if we set aside the business aspect of the game design, the pros of mobile is how easy it is to develop games for mobile.
You need a laptop, a couple of mobile devices, and that’s it. You can develop the game from anywhere, with who you want, very simple. There is a bit of work supporting the various devices and OS versions, that’s true, but overall it’s simpler than to develop for consoles. Developing for PC is the same, even simpler.
Consoles development requires devkits and more paperwork overall. It’s a bit more work, but it’s also a more focused audience, so I think it makes it easier to focus your design as well. And, even if it’s a huge challenge, it’s still a “little bit” more realistic to get the spotlight on your game on console and PC than on mobile. Discoverability on mobile is a lottery for an indie dev these days.
The next Game Bakers’ title releases in 2020 and under the name Haven. Haven is an adventure RPG about a couple running away to a distant planet in order to be together. As the studio initially wanted, it will release on PC, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch.