Cinders developers MoaCube released a new visual novel on Friday, this time stepping away from fairytales and into a fantastical setting of their own. They call Solstice [official site] a “mystery thriller”, exploring a strange city which looks right out of the Arabian Nights – except it’s in the middle of icy wastes. It’s got a demo and all, so you can have a bash/read yourself.
Even if visual novels aren’t your bag, you might be interested in MoaCube’s thoughts on how selling games outside Steam (Solstice is launching there later) has changed over the years.
First, Solstice itself. In that strange city, an archeologist has gone missing and two protagonists, a doctor and a mysterious visitor, start investigating. But you can see that yourself if you download the demo, which is out for Windows and Mac. And in this vid:
As for its launch… things haven’t gone as well as MoaCube had hoped. Their post goes into how promotion has changed since Cinders three years ago, how selling directly has worked out (poorly), and so on. Their lessons and conclusions aren’t rules or necessarily true for everyone, of course, but this from their conclusion is interesting:
“If a somewhat established indie, with a clearly defined audience and some following, can’t generate enough traffic to live from direct sales alone, this means we’re no longer independent developers, we’re Steam developers.”
Solstice is $19.99 from MoaCube. They’re selling it via BMT Micro, which I can’t say I’m ever pleased to see (psst, hey, here’s something else that’s changed since Cinders came out: Itch.io has taken off, and it’s great). You will get a Steam key when Solstice launches there, though.