Darwinia and Steam: an Interview with Introversion
There have been three new Steam releases announced in the past few days, beginning with Darwinia last Tuesday. Introversion Software’s seminal genre-buster saw almost universal praise from critics but sold poorly, not least because it lacked any form of distribution in America. After near-bankruptcy and an underwhelming response to offering downloads for those purchasing through their site, Introversion are getting ready to begin a Steam distribution deal. I spoke to Tom Arundel, Introversion’s accountant and the man responsible for Darwinia’s upcoming localisations and the existing Mac and Linux ports.
- Hello, and thanks for taking part in this interview. I’ll start off with the biggest question for your existing community right now: will those of us who have already bought Darwinia be able to register our boxed copies to our Steam accounts?
- No. That would be a logistical nightmare – think about it!
- Secondly, does your new agreement cover Darwinia only? Or will past and future Introversion titles be distributed on Steam as well?
- Currently it’s only Darwinia, but I wouldn’t rule out other Introversion games coming out on Steam. Let’s see how Darwinia does amongst Steam customers first…
- Will your new relationship with Valve lead to any new content, features or improvements to any of your games?
- Certainly, the multiplayer features of the Steam system take the pain away from matching up players to multiplayer servers, so that’s something we’d like to make more use of in the future. Also, since we now have the distribution, localised versions will also be developed, starting with German for release, and French in the new year…
- So we are going to be seeing multi-player games from Introversion?
- Yes. We have design docs for a multiplayer version of Darwinia – we’re currently scheduling the work / release. We also have a new multiplayer game coming out in Spring that we’ll be talking more about in the new year.
- Can you explain the month-long wait before Darwinia is made available?
- Few people outside of the UK know about Darwinia. Despite our best efforts, US gaming magazines etc really haven’t picked it up. Therefore we need to build up some PR awareness first. Naturally this takes time! We’re also working on a German version of Darwinia (ready day 1) which also takes time to complete.
- Darwinia will of course be promoted though Steam. But will we see external advertising campaigns as well?
- Lots of PR. Money spent on PR is always better spent when you can capture attention. We’re a bit off the wall and represent a bit more than just a machine that spits out games every 2 months. We also have some silly stunts planned for the new year
- Finally, do you expect to see more sales from existing Steam users, or from those who sign up especially to buy the game?
- Well, you’d like to think that at least some of those 6 million existing customers would be interested in the game! We also expect some new customers to sign up to steam in order to buy Darwinia. As for who buys more – can’t really say – guess it depends on the cross-over of existing FPS customers.
Thanks again to Introversion for taking part in the interview!