How was the year for META Publishing, — said the founder of the company Ilya Salamatov.
How was 2020 for the company?
It turned out to be a breakthrough year. We have released the first major release — the Biped plafthormer puzzle from Tencent and NEXT Studios. The release turned out to be extremely successful. Despite the fact that we had only 2 months to launch the project, we were able to set up all the processes very quickly. The game got a great boost and is still selling well on four platforms. She will continue to perform well: we have big plans for her in 2021!
In the fall, we released the adventure game Uncertain: Light at the End by the Moscow studio ComonGames, and made a gorgeous voice acting for it. Due to bugs, the release was, as they say, rocky, but the studio is working hard to fix it. So we are confident that the game will continue to sell successfully. Yes, there is still a release on consoles ahead.
Uncertain: Light at the End
In 2020, we announced the release of two new games. Both will be released in 2021: the cooperative action game Hordecore and the puzzle platformer Time Loader from the famous indie studio Flazm. I am sure that these games will ignite!
Of course, we have also signed a number of contracts, which I cannot talk about yet.
We have grown up in the past year. Now there are more than 20 of us. The team is international, its employees are scattered throughout Europe and the CIS. I did this setup before covid. One of the reasons is that it is difficult to assemble a team with suitable qualifications exclusively in Moscow. In the new conditions, linking to one location has generally lost its meaning.
What new trends in your niche do you consider worth paying attention to?
The audience of games continues to grow. Against the background of the pandemic, it is even faster than before. I think all colleagues felt it, regardless of the platform.
At the same time, the number of "spotlights" for games remains limited: the winner takes it all formula does not go away. The importance of publishers in the current situation is more important than ever. Success requires more and more knowledge: competitors are not standing still.
We watch a lot of titles. Hundreds of projects every month from all over the globe. And their number is growing, although I won't say the same about the quality level. No, you still have to wade through the wilds to find the very diamond that makes sense to process.
What new market trends would you note in general?
Many colleagues in their results are likely to indicate the launch of new consoles, a huge number of M&A events that took place this year. I will not dwell on this in detail.
I will say that we are all lucky to be in our industry, in game development. Games are now the most important entertainment business.
Among the trends, I note the rise in sales of large televisions (from 65 inches and above) and home theaters. Obviously, the pandemic has spurred demand for big screens, because people have begun to spend more time on them. The launch of a new generation of consoles has generally brought sales to a new level, now we have all fully entered the 4K era.
What does this mean for developers, especially indie ones?
Now you need to think more about how your game looks on really big screens, pay more attention to graphics, texture quality, and more.
Last year, I wrote that real-time retracing is fully coming. It really is. It is necessary to think about this, including for game programmers who are preparing to improve their skills.
What will be the stake in the development of the company in 2021?
The quality of the products and the most thorough preparation for the launch.
The fact is that each new release makes us stronger by helping us think through the details more carefully. It is the details that play a decisive role in success. Whether it's page optimization on Steam, the art that we use for covers, constantly improving QA methods, working with influencers, agencies, the press and the community – all this is a field for consistent development and experimentation. This is extremely important in our business.
The second point (and this is an ongoing process) is the search for new products. With each new iteration, we get a better understanding of what products we need, what we are better at working with, how to build relationships with studios, and so on.
Which third-party game releases are you interested in this year? Which ones did you pay attention to as a gamer?
This year, the Fall Guys and Among Us surprised me the most. I spent an embarrassing amount of time in the first one. I have a weakness for games with "physical" gameplay.
The Last Of Us Part 2 has become a kind of crown of the last generation for me. The game also confirmed the thesis that a properly made single is still capable of surprising both culturally and financially.