May 19, 2015
It’s been a long journey since Wither Studios began conceiving the shadows that would become Crowman & Wolfboy (C&W) and we’ve had many highs and lows during the development of our first game as an independent game company. More recently, people have begun to ask when new content would be coming as the game currently ends with a cliff hanger. Even though we would love to see all of our plans for C&W come to life, please understand that our situation may prevent this from happening.
The Wither team works part time although it is our goal to eventually become full time! We began working on C&W towards the end of 2011. Shortly after development started, we created a Kickstarter to help us pay for things we couldn’t cover out of pocket. The Kickstarter was successful (the goal was for $4,000 and we got $6,000) and, after fees/reward fulfillment, we were left with less than $5K.
After years of hard work, C&W was released on iTunes in October, 2013. Upon release on iOS, the game made about $7K with sales quickly dying down and flat lining after 3 months. At this time, we started a new promotion obtaining us almost 250,000 downloads (nearly all were free due to the promotion). Within a week of the promotion ending, sales spiked making us around $6,000 and the next three months pulled in about $300 per month followed by once again drastically declining sales. Although our user/professional reviews were good (averaging 4 1/2 stars and currently a 78 on meta critic), we just didn’t have the marketing funds to get the attention the game needed. Furthermore, Apple never featured us which is very important in the mobile industry for attaining sales. In 2014, C&W was selected to be a part of the Indie Showcase at PAX East bringing us the belief that this was exactly what we needed. However, we ended up spending way more money simply participating in PAX compared to the relatively few sales we gained in return. Surprisingly, PAX did not garner us much media attention despite being part of the Showcase.
With sales floundering, we decided to restructure C&W for Android as a free to play game. After months of re-configuring the game to fit a free to play model (a necessity on Android), we released it on the Google Play Store and have made under $700 total to date (over 8 months). Up to this date, C&W has netted roughly 470,000 downloads and seen a profit of roughly $18,000 across all platforms. That may sound like a lot, but know that we still haven’t even been able to pay ourselves back for the amount of money each team member has contributed. Currently some of us have been working towards making C&W work on desktop for a Steam Early Access release on which the fate of C&W now rests. If it does well enough to support further development, then we can finish the expansions we want to create. However, if the sales are low then we cannot proceed with any further development for C&W without dumping our own personal money into something we will not see a return in.
On a more positive note, the porting process to Steam doesn’t require the full team. As such, over the past few months we’ve been conjuring up our next game concept. We won’t say much besides that it will be something totally different from C&W and we are super pumped about it! We’ll share more details when things are further along!