While the games industry at large continues to have a nice little a panic about declining retail sales and just a handful of games cornering the market, indie's looking masterfully strong right now. Yesterday, we got a sense of how many money-hats Minecraft's Notch gets to wear, and now we hear that marvellous profiteering/dungeoneering hybrid Recettear has "done what we barely hoped it would do." I.e. sold a whole bunch, and given the folk at translator/co-developers Carpe Fulgur enough money in the bank to make this kind of thing their actual, honest-to-God jobs.
26,000 copies sold to date, which may not sound like much compared to the numbers you hear, say, Microsoft kicking about for Halo: Reach, but the difference is profound. This is a small project made by a handful of devs, translated into English several years later, distributed solely online, with no marketing budget, no focus-grouping, no magazines penning breathlessly frothing speculative previews for months in advance, no E3 space, no celebrity endorsement...
An independent game can do that well simply by virtue of being a great game. That's beyond important. Popcap's CEO has been saying similar, in terms of how he thinks his games can compete with Zynga's marketing-driven Facebook titles, although the size of Popcap and the costs they need to cover ultimately make that an entirely different argument to Recettear earning enough for Carpe Fulgur to switch to full-time games development.
For us, this means Carpe Fulgur can go do more of the same: spot some delectable Japanese indie title us lot have probably never heard of, translate it, and drop it in PC gamers' laps. "We hope to announce a couple of very exciting projects in the near future, and we've begun to look at a number of future potential titles for localization," says Carpe Fulgur's Andrew Dice in this celebratory post. Oh, and he also claims that Recettear's new-found English-language success has "provided [original devs] EasyGameStation with a massive new stream of revenue that they did not previously have access to.
Well done, all involved. It is deserved.
Also, I note that, in RPS' inclusion in their reviews round-up, they've had to go with 'splendid' in lieu of our giving a score. I am totally down with that. Maybe we should replace Optimus' thumbs with Splendid and Not-Splendid.