Bet you’ve been wondering what we’ve been up to! Well, here’s one piece of big news: We want to congratulate Johnnemann, one of our co-founders, on the announcement he made today! He’s starting a new company, Dim Bulb Games. We wish him all the best, and can’t wait to see what’s to come. Give @DimBulbGames a follow on Twitter to keep up with his latest developments.
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Things have been quiet here for a couple of weeks, but for good reason: we’ve been traveling, and we’re incredibly proud and grateful to have been honored with two major awards:
We were awarded Best Debut in both the BAFTAs and the Game Developers Choice Awards!
We take both of these as incredible honors. The British Academy Awards are such an institution, and we had a wonderful time dressing up in our tuxedos and evening gowns to attend the awards:
We never imagined we’d have one of these masks on our shelf… nor a GDC Award at that! The Game Developers Conference has been a huge part of all our professional lives, and so to be up in front of all those people in the industry who have inspired us to make games, and receive this kind of recognition, is just phenomenal.
(Above: the standout moment when Kate stepped forward to thank her wife, Emily. Hi Emily!)
We just want to say again, thank you to our parents and families, our friends and loved ones and peers in the industry who have all made these moments possible. There’s no way this could have happened without every person who’s supported and encouraged us over the years and throughout the development of Gone Home. You have our unending gratitude.
When we started making Gone Home, we decided that we were going to launch first only on PC/Mac/Linux, for a lot of good reasons: we wouldn’t need to worry about the technical limitations of last-gen hardware; we wouldn’t need to deal with console certification/submission/age rating/etc.; and we could distribute the game directly, DRM-free as well as through Steam. But we always hoped we’d eventually be able to bring the game to consoles– we just didn’t know exactly how we should do it. We’re a very small team and weren’t ready to devote months of development time to doing the ports ourselves, but we also knew that finding the right partner to get the job done right would be a real challenge. Would it be worth it to bring the game to consoles at all?
That’s why we were so glad when we started talking to Casey Lynch at Midnight City, Majesco’s new indie publishing label. Casey’s got a great background in media and PR, and the folks at Midnight City know exactly what an indie needs out of a publisher these days– to take on the role of a service provider that gets all the logistics done to the highest level of quality possible and helps get the word out to a new audience about why they should care about this game, without trying to own the IP or get in the way of the existing relationship we have with our players. We weren’t looking for a traditional publisher– and Midnight City is anything but.
So today we’re overjoyed to announce that Gone Home will be coming to consoles this year via a partnership with Midnight City.
More specifics– exact platforms, exact release date– will be revealed in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, we hope you’re as excited as we are to know that Gone Home is going to be coming to a whole new audience on new platforms, and that Midnight City is going to help us make every version of Gone Home the very best experience it can possibly be for the hardware we bring it to. Again, thanks to Casey from Midnight City for championing us to Majesco, and to Blake Rochkind from UTA for all the help he’s given us navigating the unfamiliar waters of contracts and publishers.
Those of you who haven’t gotten to try out Gone Home yet: we can’t wait for you to be downloading the game to your console of choice, gamepad in hand, ready to step into the Greenbriar household for the first time. And to those loyal PC players looking to re-experience Gone Home away from your computer: get ready to go home again…
We’re super psyched about everything they’ve got on offer– every item passes the “Wow, I would totally buy that” test for me personally– and we can’t wait for the first batch to make its way to you guys! Cheers, and thanks for wearing Gone Home,
Steve here. As 2013 comes to a close, I just wanted to take a minute to look back at what’s been one of the most exciting, surprising, important years in this team’s life, and to thank you all again for making it possible.
By the beginning of 2013 we’d completed the first half of Gone Home, shown it to the press in San Francisco, and submitted it to the Independent Games Festival at GDC. This March we were lucky enough to have Gone Home selected as an IGF finalist in the newly-christened Excellence in Narrative category.
We flew down to SF to show off the game at the conference–
And had a fantastic time showing off the game at our IGF booth to tons of people. It was our first time seeing so many people get their hands on Gone Home. It was enlightening to be sure, and quite hectic! It all went by in a flash, then it was back home to Portland for our final five months of development on the game. We worked all through the summer in our basement office–
Our cats squirmed around in the warm summer weather–
And then came that fateful day we released Gone Home to the world– August 15. We were floored by reviews that to us were completely astounding, from sites like Polygon, IGN, Kotaku and Gamespot, not to mention the New York Times! I’ve released a few video games before, but I’ll assure you this one was particularly surreal. The four of us had spent a year and a half of our lives on this thing, and then it was out there, and people were playing it and talking about it and making youtube videos and streaming it… it was real! You go from a state of always being “making the game,” to a state of the game being “out”– and it’s just so hard to really internalize! But there it was, in people’s hands, being played, being discussed, argued over, analyzed… and we were just so grateful that it had found its audience.
Only a couple of months after release we attended IndieCade. It was an awesome show where we hung out with a bunch of our friends and fellow indie devs– and were honored to be awarded the Indiecade Audio Award!
This was especially surprising to us… because we don’t have a sound designer on the team! Karla and I did the sound for Gone Home, partially using stuff we’d downloaded online, and partially using foley we recorded at local vintage furniture shop Rejuvenation, with the assistance of our friend Foley. But of course, this award really went to Chris Remo for his amazing musical score, and Sarah Grayson for her phenomenal performance as Sam Greenbriar. Among the things we’re most grateful for on this project was the opportunity to work with such talented people– and we were just so happy to see their contributions recognized at Indiecade.
Much to our surprise, only a couple months later we were the recipients of two Spike TV VGX Awards, for Best Indie Game and Best PC Game. It was pretty out of control. We made an acceptance video for it filmed in downtown Portland:
Did you know the Spike TV award statue is called the “Vector Monkey?” To celebrate we held the Vector Monkey very sternly in a regally-appointed room at Panic, Inc.
Throughout this time we were patching the game and adding a new feature in the form of Commentary Mode, which we released as a free update on all platforms. We had a blast recording tons of behind-the-scenes info about Gone Home– and not just from the members of the core dev team, but from Chris Remo, and Sarah Grayson, and– craziest of all for me personally– Corin Tucker of Heavens to Betsy and Sleater-Kinney, who was gracious enough to grant me an interview (we recorded in a “quiet study room” at the Portland Public Library.)
But of course what made the year truly unforgettable for all of us was the huge outpouring of support from folks all over the world who played Gone Home. We got so many warm, personal, heartfelt emails from players who connected with the game in a way we never imagined possible. We were amazed to receive messages from all sorts of people– male and female, young and old, gay and straight– telling us how much of themselves they saw in Gone Home. That kind of response is what makes being a game developer worth it. As a creator, all you want is to make something and for people to care. Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences with us.
Awesomely, this enthusiasm resulted in some rad fan art, such as these two pieces by Janice Chu:
So thank you, thank you, thank you all once again for making this incredible year possible. I hope you’ll all be happy to know that Gone Home has sold nearly a quarter of a million copies now– just over 235,000 as the clock winds down on this last day of 2013– ensuring that we’ll be able to make another game, and to increase our scope and ambition ever so slightly, to make our next game something that is truly new and special. We can’t wait to share more with you about what the future holds.
So, here’s to 2013, a year that 2014 (and most others following it, I’ll bet) will have a tough time living up to. And we couldn’t be any more grateful. Thank you all so much.
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