On February 9th, roguelite-inspired stunt bike game Descenders, the first project from Mike Rose's new indie label No More Robots, hit shelves. We caught up with the man himself to see how things have gone and what lessons he has taken away from the launch.
So, it’s been almost two weeks. How would you say Descenders has done so far?
We're pretty damn pleased with how the game has done, its success has essentially secured the future for the game, [developer] RageSquid and No More Robots, which is the best you can hope for in video games right now.
Ahead of the launch, what were your expectations for the game?
I was hoping we'd at least sell enough to get through Early Access and to the full release. We've roughly doubled my expectations right now, so it's hard to complain.
How have you marketed the game?
A whole bunch of different ways, but the main source has been a combination of Discord community building and streaming. We have a Discord with 5,000 members, all rabidly showing off their latest exploits in the game to each other, and it's just a joy to watch.
What advice would you give for approaching streamers as a developer/publisher?
Email kind of works, but honestly, the best way to get the attention of streamers is via Twitter. I've DMed hundreds of streamers and the response rate is nearly 100 per cent -- it's an incredible tool for talking to content creators.
Generally speaking, is there anything you’d do differently the next time around?
It's a little too early to say really. I'm pretty pleased with how it has gone, but I'm sure if we give it a few months, I'll have ideas of what I'd like to do better for the next game launch.
What learnings have you taken away from the game’s launch?
The Japanese market has been massive for us, one of our top five best-selling countries. I had no idea that would happen, so that's been a bit of an eye-opener. We definitely plan to do a lot more for Descenders in Japan now, especially where consoles are concerned.
I see you’ve been dealing with a fair deal of bogus key requests. Could you tell me a bit about how you have been dealing with these?
I can spot a scammer from a mile off now -- crappy email, email address misspelt, all that jazz. Usually, I just delete them, but this time around I decided to have some fun, so I've been sending them fake Steam keys with hidden messages in them, and then enjoyed seeing them pop up on G2A.
What’s your ambition for the game moving forward?
We have plenty of plans -- regular content updates, community features, Xbox launch, followed by Switch and PS4 launch, retail releases, multiplayer... there's quite a lot to come for Descenders.