ETHAN: METEOR HUNTER RELEASES ON VITA NEXT WEEK

Jeudi 10 avril 2014

“Touch screen, rear touch pad, ooouuuuhlala!”

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The first day we showed you guys Ethan: Meteor Hunter, all you asked was to get a PS Vita version. That was a bit offensive for the PlayStation 3 version we released back in October, and yet, here it is!

Today we are very happy to announce Ethan: Meteor Hunter will release on PlayStation Vita next week on 15th April (SCEA) / 16th April (SCEE) for $9.99 / £7.99 / 9.99€ !

PS Plus members can claim a 20% discount for the launch week and the game is of course cross buy with the PlayStation 3 version!

PS Vita version features touch screen to manipulate objects, I’ll let you have a look:

The rear touch pad has not been forgotten as you can use it to rotate objects when grabbing them with R:

If fancy a review code, feel free to contact us press_@_seaven-studio_._com and in the meantime have a loor at our updated our online presskit.

Let’s not forget about Steam and try to get some exposure there with a weeklong deal 75% off starting Monday for PC gamers to enjoy!

Hope you guys will enjoy the game as much as we had making it! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest news! We will be soon announcing our next game… ;)

Ethan: Meteor Hunter coming to Vita, releases on Steam and gets a PS3 & PC demo

Mardi 4 février 2014

Hey guys!

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We’re super happy to announce that Ethan: Meteor Hunter, often described as “when Super Meat Boy meets Braid” and released 22nd October on PlayStation 3 and PC, will arrive on PlayStation Vita very soon! We will announce a definitive release date once it’s been approved by Sony.

« We’re really glad with this Vita version of Ethan: Meteor Hunter » says Olivier PENOT, producer & co-founder at Seaven Studio. « The touch screen just made sense with the telekinesia feature. This is something players asked for and we listened, this is really a community release! ».

Have a look on the front touch screen feature:

But also the Rear Touch Pad!

We are releasing this week a PlayStation 3 demo of Ethan: Meteor Hunter for everybody to taste the challenge. Finally, full game is -50% off this week for PS+ members, 30% off for everybody. And YES, the Vita title will be cross-buy with the PlayStation 3 one. So that’s a Vita game at 50% off to try right now!

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Last but not least, Ethan: Meteor Hunter got greenlit on Steam early January, thanks to Reddit following our post mortem. We are very happy to announce that the Steam version of the game will be available this Friday 7th February with -20% off launch discount. It will be feature leaderboards, achievements, cloud save, full controller support with big picture mode and steam trading cards! A demo of the game will also be available on Friday exclusively via Steam. All owners of the game via our website www.ethan-game.com will enjoy a free Steam key as soon as available! As Reddit took a great part of that release, we’ll be doing an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on 7th February at 18:00 GMT+1 (Central Europe) which is 9:00am PST.

If we sum-up this heavy announcement:

  • Ethan: Meteor Hunter comes to Vita very soon, cross buy and front touch screen featured
  • PlayStation 3 demo is out this week with a special sale on the full game with -50% for PS+ or -30% discount
  • Steam release this Friday 7th with -20% off featuring leaderboards, achievements, cloud save, full controller support with big picture mode and steam trading cards.
  • PC demo exclusively available on Steam at release
  • AMA on Reddit 7th February at 18:00 GMT+1 (Central Europe) / 09:00am PST.

Many more gamers will enjoy the tough challenge of Ethan: Meteor Hunter, awarded “Best Digital Game of 2013” by HCGamer.pl! Polish people have great taste.

Christmas Sales!

Vendredi 20 décembre 2013

Hello guys,

It’s Christmas time and we’re going to rest a bit after this full year of rollercoaster emotions! In order to celebrate, you can now buy or offer Ethan: Meteor Hunter at 50% off right here! You’ll get a Steam Key as soon as a Steam version will be available.

You can also count on PlayStation 3 sales with the game now at 7.99€/$ and 6.39€/$ for PlayStation Plus members (SCEA & SCEE).

We also involved ourselves in charity for the hungry ones, making Ethan: Meteor Hunter available in the “Holiday Helpings” Groupees’ bundle. Each $1 donated during this event gives 1 meal for the hungry: http://groupees.com/hh

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Thank You Reddit Sale

Samedi 7 décembre 2013

To keep you updated on the crazy past 24h we just had if you don’t follow us on Twitter (you should @SeavenStudio ).

The post mortem went sort of viral, somebody posted it on Reddit and it has now more than 900 comments on it! Head over there : http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/1s9nnn/indie_devs_spend_year_making_ethan_meteor_hunter/

TotalBiscuit (240k followers) tweeted about the postmortem too which crashed our website for a short moment due to a lot of visits at once!

https://twitter.com/Totalbiscuit/status/409077758396882944

So 24h later:

-> 100+ comments on the blogpost http://www.seaven-studio.com/indies-going-all-in-with-self-publishing-an-ethan-meteor-hunter-post-mortem

-> 830+ upvotes on Steam Greenlight, we’re now #84 place in the chart! A giant bump! http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=144842352

Capture d’écran 2013-12-07 à 20.13.28-> we’ve sold around 30 copies extras since the post mortem went live, thanks for the support! That’s +25% bump : )

And of course countless precious feedbacks on why you didn’t buy the game :) mostly « never heard of it » & « art is not appealing ». We’ll make sure to keep you posted on what’s next for us and involve you more in the process to avoid these mistakes.

THANK YOU AGAIN for your support, it’s heartwarming :)

As a thank you, we’ve just started a « Thank You Reddit » Sale, get Ethan 30% off!  Only for 48h!

Indies going all in with self-publishing: an Ethan: Meteor Hunter post mortem

Mercredi 4 décembre 2013

It’s been more than a month since the release of our first game, Ethan: Meteor Hunter, on PC and PlayStation 3. And, well, we’ve been a bit quiet right? Even the tumblr stopped! This past month has been a bit hard for us, as, spoiler alert, sales didn’t quite meet our expectations. But let’s get back a bit, shall we?

Who are we and what are we talking about?

Seaven Studio is a newborn from some ashes of Hydravision, which closed down in September 2012. Since that day, seven former employees decided to go all in and put all of their time (no holidays at all), money (living on unemployment benefits, no salary) and energy (that’s coffee) into a new 100% independent video game studio, self publishing and self funding its games: Seaven Studio.

Ethan: Meteor Hunter is a project we bought back from Hydravision with our savings as we started working on it there. Main design was almost done, we changed things here and there to make it more enjoyable from what was decided over at Hydravision by our former bosses.

What went right

    • We started a company AND finished a game from what we got from Hydravision AND released it simultaneously on PC & PlayStation 3 (gotcha TRCs) in SCEE AND SCEA, 100% self published and self funded
    • We haven’t killed one each other (yet).
    • Game is enjoyable
    • Press likes it: average note is 7/10, some gave us 8/10 and only one 4/10 and two 6/10, way better than the 5/10 we were used to at Hydravision
      • Sometimes described as “Super Meat Boy meets Braid” which is very nice
  • Gamers love it (or they’re all very polite):
    • 98% Greenlight comments are positive or very positive
    • Gamers at show were sticking around to finish the demo
    • At one livestream made with French Team Mortal Gaming, a fan even wrote on her shirt about the game, which is super cool!
  • Press coverage:
    • 360+ mentions of Ethan since early May 2013
    • Including Alpha Demo appreciated by RockPaperShotgun & a great article from Joystiq, mentions from Polygon (1, 2, 3).
    • Lot of nice/excellent previews
    • 30+ reviews of Ethan, only missing the very big website (Kotaku, RPS, Joystiq, etc…)
    • Youtubers side is good too, contacted 200+ of them but same as press, most famous/big ones didn’t reply back

We’re happy on that side from what we would have expected from Hydravision era and also considering we were basically unknown at all.

Publishing

  • 5 different public shows attended: Rezzed, Develop (indie showcase finalist), Gamescom, Eurogamer Expo & Paris Games Week
  • Great great way of meeting players: chatting about what’s good or not about the game. We have changed our tutorial after each show in order to improve it. We added for example the side buttons for better & less frustrating objects positioning.
  • Met a lot of very friendly indie guys (Red Solstice, Hammer Labs hiding from security before Sony Party, shared a room with SwingSwingSubmarine rrrr, Mi-Clos, RunningWithScissors, Nyamyam, etc..)
  • Side note: global publishing budget is 50k€ (18 languages translation, Q&A for PlayStation 3, Age rating, Launch trailer, attending shows with travel and accommodation costs)
  • Couple of articles on PlayStation Blog US & Europe
  • Front of different stores & website for launch (PS Store SCEA, PS Store SCEE, GoG, Eurogamer.fr & GameSideStory)

Getting the word out and beeing present at most shows is pretty satisfying; we’ve really done the maximum we could, considering we’re 9 people. Only regret is not been present at PAX, too late to book!

Overall we feel like we have a good game gamers enjoy it and we couldn’t have done more to get the word out about the game as a new born studio. Good game with good marketing is what it needs, right?

What went wrong

  • Sales

Well, let’s talk about actual sales numbers. Within a month, we have sold on PC:

127 units

Missing a few 0s, right?

When we saw Flippfly post on Race the Sun and its 771 sales we were a bit astonished and were thinking that with all of the shows we’ve been to, all of the communication we done the past months etc.. we should be fine. How naïve we were… Unfortunately we are not allowed to say anything about PlayStation 3 sales, but we are not happy with them at all either, so it doesn’t seem to be a platform problem… Just missing Steam, obviously? With all of games released now on Steam, it doesn’t seem to be as important as it was. Still, can’t be worse than 127 units!

  • Building a community & Steam Greenlight

When we started our communication about Ethan, we planned to have Steam Greenlight in the center of it. We wanted it to be our central hub for communication with the community, rather than setting up our own forum which would have need gamers to set up another account etc… to be where most of our targeted gamers are and already have a Steam account.

I don’t know about other devs but it didn’t work out at all for us. It seems like people spend 30s on each page, vote and then move on. Some stay a bit and leave a comment but we rarely had great chat with gamers over there. We released an Alpha Demo when we announced the game in order to get feedbacks from the community. To this day, demo was downloaded about 2500 times for a 26 000 unique visitors, giving a 9% rate, which is not so bad I’d guess but only a couple of actual feedbacks from it! We definitely need to improve things on this side.

We are still not greenlit and now about 85% way to the top 100… Our major concern about Greenlight is that, imagine gamers who voted “No” back in May and then tried our game at Gamescom in August and loved it? They can’t change their vote unfortunately. You can, my bad.

Oddly enough, we didn’t see any spike on Steam Greenlight when we were at showcases (and God knows how much we asked people to upvote us!), let’s have a look:

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First July spike? One of my friends forwarded our page to the whole Just Dance team in Paris! Thanks guys! Second mid-august spike? A french youtuber did a video on our Alpha Demo (here). The very small bump right before September 1st is the Rock Paper Shotgun article, enjoying the Alpha demo. The last two spikes around October 1st are a live stream we did with the french team and a tweet asking to upvote us! Hard to tell when was Rezzed, Gamescom or even release of the game hu?

  • Translation on 19 languages

Our core value is gamers proximity, making them part of the development of the game (thus the Alpha Demo). It just made sense then to translate the game to as many languages as possible in order to be closer to as many gamers as possible. Turns out, I’m not sure we had more coverage from these countries and sales are definitely not encouraging us to do the same (Russia aside) if we’re lacking out of money. Not to mention all of the many funny characters to support  : )

  • Good value and focus on Gameplay are not appealing

We put the game at 10$ = 7,5€ which feels for us super fair with 3 worlds and 50 levels and strong replay value with time attacks, leaderboards and secret cheeses unlocking secret levels! That means between 7 to 10 hours of pretty good fun. Bref, we knew it wasn’t the perfect game so we wanted gamers to feel like they didn’t waste their money by having a great value. Did not really worked out. Maybe we should have had it at 13$ and always -20% off ?

Also, having a strong gameplay feature and good variations throughout the game was essential for us.. We strongly believed these two would drive sales but having a good experience (graphics/sounds) seems to be more important even if the length of the game is 2 or 3 hours. Most reviews pointed the lack of “soul” in the game: we should have spent some time on that instead of adding more levels.

Our ideas on why it didn’t sell (at all):

  • Release window

Releasing a puzzle platformer a month after GTA V and a month before next gen consoles is not the greatest idea. Story of the release date is totally linked to GTA V by the way: when we started the company, we wanted to release mid September and  before next gen as our engine was already compatible PlayStation 3 and self publishing has always been allowed there. So it just made sense. Then, obviously, GTA V got delayed to mid September, and we aimed end of August. Just like all of the other games and especially Rayman Legends, a direct competitor. At some point we were considering releasing PC version beginning of August and PS3 in October but we figured it was more powerful to release both versions at the same time. Turned out early August was pretty strong in terms of indie release too.

  • Art / Experience

Finally, the art style was “okay” and clean for us but we didn’t think it would hurt. It would appear the art and the mouse (which is supposed to be a rat, erm) don’t appeal and are not connected with our brutal gameplay. We were pretty satisfied too considering the progress made since the Hydravision prototype:

Conclusion

Are we in this indie bubble where one-good-but-normal-game (= not Stanley Parable) can only sell with sales and bundles, not full price? Not to mention not being on Steam… Or are we just feeling this console transition too where sales always slow down?

So our question is simple: why didn’t you buy the game? Let us know so we don’t do the same mistake(s) next time, if we manage to have a next time.

More about the game over here and upvote us on Greenlight over there.