We continue to summarize the results of 2023 together with the game teams. Next up is an interview with indie developer Vadim Gilyazetdinov (aka yeo), the author of a series of pixel bitemaps about Japanese Yakuza.

What was the year like for the studio? What have you done that I would like to highlight in terms of achievements?

Five years after the release of The friends of Ringo Ishikawa, sales began.

As an old gambler, I believe exclusively in Divine Marketing, so only Hermes Trismegistus is listed in my PR department. Why, at the expense of which Chinese influencer, the trend creeping along the ground suddenly broke through the Asian peaks — I do not know.

After a couple of months of hitherto unprecedented sales, something did not work out with Raiffeisen Bank in America, and Steam stopped sending money to Russia (Microsoft, GOG and Humble did this even earlier).

It was funny to look at the numbers in the Steam admin panel and realize that you might never get them (probably not soon, of course, but for dramatization it's better to "never"). Somehow (either because of the endless upheavals of recent years, or because of my age already) it didn't bother me as much as it could. I watched and thought, "it's a pity, of course, but the games have already been released, the money has already been earned, no, no, I'll come up with something else."

The friends of Ringo Ishikawa

However, I didn't want to wrap the release coins from the new game in a digital cocoon (Fading Afternoon was released in September), so I started looking for options.

I was not going to get involved, and the options for opening a company in conditional Armenia did not seem reliable. Therefore, I went to call publishers, fortunately, during the promotion of the game in X (previously, Twitter), a lot of them had accumulated (including contacts of large companies like DotEmu, the publisher of the latest "turtles" and Streets of Rage 4).

As it turned out, most of them do not work with the yuan, so the circle quickly narrowed down to Chinese comrades. As a result, we shook hands with them.

In June, I threw Fading Afternoon at two Chinese competition exhibitions, was unexpectedly nominated in one of the categories, went by invitation to Shanghai, where I expectedly lost to Sea of Stars.

How has the situation changed for the studio in the market? What new challenges did she face?

Since "professional" (in the sense that I live off it) development grew out of my hobby, it essentially remained a hobby.

With all the reservations, I try to do what I want without worrying too much about the result (although there are more and more stretches here), so I don't particularly follow the "market situation" as such.

Mantras like "Steam no longer gives traffic", "you can't sell the game without a publisher", "annual revenue from the game is equal to the revenue of the release month", "collect vishlists!" work every other time, that is (according to the law of the tossed coin) — do not work.

You can publish at Devolver and fail, you can throw the game on Steam and get promoted at the expense of not very picky (or, conversely, picky?) the streamer. With all the reservations, again, it's up to Chance.

I have already used the x10 multiplayer, which is given once when I leave my job, and I have no other trump cards up my sleeve. As Kipling said, "only those who are willing to put everything in order to get more will stand on top of the universe." Well, I'm not really ready to bet even half of it.

Fading Afternoon

What are the studio's plans for next year?

As Kostya Flounder (aka "Mommy") used to say: "get drunk from the belly."

And then?

To steal a tablecloth from you and make a red shirt out of it!

Chic? Chic.

Work. Just work every day. I have no other plan. In the end, it all comes down to just everyday work.

The development of the last game lasted three years, it took a week to release (a week of bug fixes, reading ridiculous reviews and other "feedback").

Sometimes I wonder: Do I even need a release?

Would I be working on an endless game if I didn't need money? If the guys were paying me just for my daily work?

It is hardly possible to find out in practice. Only speculatively.