The next Ben & Dan adventure, Lair Of The Clockwork God, has been delayed until further notice because a small delay would mean competing with some very high-profile games. Lead dev Dan Marshall of Size Five Games explains in this development blog post, citing how hard it is for a smaller game to get noticed these days. A pity, as I was looking forward to its blend of sass, platforming and traditional point-and-clickery. Granted, it never had a release date outside of “2019” before, but now it’s ‘2019? Maybe early 2020’. Below a trailer to remind you how fab it looks.
The moving release window is due in part to Dan not wanting to rush it, and not wanting to march it out into a crossfire. There’s a few less-great areas of the game they’ve been working on improving, and while they could theoretically rush it out early, he wanted to give it a full three months for polishing and tuning. Unfortunately, in three months there’s the likes of Doom Eternal, Outer Worlds, Death Stranding and even a new Pokemon game all vying for attention, and that’s just the big-budget stuff. For someone marketing on a shoestring budget, that’s risky.
He also laments that “Getting noticed is a full time job”. He reckons that a lot has changed since his last big game back in 2015, and that developers have to aim higher if they want anything close to mainstream coverage. Not only does a game have to launch in the right time and place, but in order to get noticed, he’s aiming high. “I need to shoot for nothing less than ‘indie classic’, the sort of game mentioned in the same breath as Limbo, Undertale, Meat Boy etc” says that man Dan.
Personally, I’ve long since given up trying to predict what’ll be the next big thing – even the best marketing campaigns can fall flat, and the weirdest things can rise to fame. Nothing is certain but my own desire to play Lair Of The Clockwork God. While we’ve no idea when it’ll be done, we can at least keep an eye on it over on its Steam store page here.
Disclosure: Apparently Alice Prime knows these Ben & Dan fellows in the real world. I would ask her for their terrible blackmail secrets to get the game early, but she’s off for the next week.