It's a story indie developers look towards for hope. The story of Minecraft and Markus 'Notch' Persson's rise to fame with a simple, but captivating indie title about survival. At the time, the idea that an indie developer could rival big-named publishers' AAA titles was unheard of.
As the story goes, Minecraft became a smash hit, selling over 4 million copies and leading to Notch founding his own developing studio, Mojang. It's a story indie developers dream of living, but are often unable to replicate.
For Dear Esther developer and writer Dan Pinchbeck, his dream is no different. Dear Esther is a revamped first-person 'ghost story' powered by the Portal 2 engine. It launches next week on Steam, and for developer TheChineseRoom, its success will determine the future of the studio.
"Hopefully we'll either do a Mojang and make fifty gazillion dollars and be able to pay for basically whatever we like," developer and writer Dan Pinchbeck told NowGamer. Though it may seem shallow at first read, this is obviously the goal of all developers. Sure, indie developers mostly create games for the love of creating games, but it's no secret that they need money to continue doing what they love.
"It's funny, for all the aspirations about it I've had, it's reduced down to two things really," Pinchbeck explained. "One, we want players to have a great experience and get loads out of it; and two, we want to sell enough units to keep the studio developing – I've got a great team working on gameB and Everybody's At The Rapture and I want to keep them employed once those projects come down."
As Minecraft proved, one hit could set you up for a future of designing varied and innovative titles. To this date, nearly 5 million people have purchased Minecraft. Mojang is currently working on several games including Cobalt, Scrolls, and eventually another new game in the "near future".
As for TheChineseRoom, they have two other projects currently in development, but would like to expand their portfolio to include a variety of games. You can help them do it. Dear Esther hits steam on February 14th and Pinchbeck promises quality.
"Esther sets the bar for production quality now, I don't think I'd be happy making a game that wasn't coming in with that level of fidelity and finish," Pinchbeck added.