Hello Games’ Sean Murray held a Reddit AMA last night to promote Joe Danger 2: The Movie. In it he talked about the financial realities of making an indie game (he sold his house to fund the first one) and why he left Criterion. There’s also made a lovely video diary to show what life’s like as an indie dev (it involves pizza and hats apparently).
Making Joe Dangerous
Murray says, “I sold my house to make the development possible”. It appears to have been worth the risk as he says, “It made back everything we put into it in the first few hours of release. Joe Danger went on to be a best selling title on PS3 and 360, and one of the highest rated. Since then we’ve reinvested everything to build a nice place for people to work, and make more games.”
As for his reason’s for leaving Criterion, he had this to say, “When I started at Criterion it was like 20 or 30 people. It felt really small, and exactly like how I pictured games development when I was a kid. It was an absolutely amazing place to work. I left I think 3? years later, and we were around 300 people and had been bought by EA. It was still an amazing place to work, but that has a really different feel I guess. Suddenly I wasn’t programming any more, and was managing a big team. It took me a while to realise, but one day it just hit me that it wasn’t what I had wanted…”
When asked what it was like to risk everything going solo and making his own game Murray likened it to a runaway train. In a good way. “I describe it like a train, and you start shovelling in coal. That’s you starting a little game in your spare time, tinkering with an engine. Now your friends join in, now you are leaving your job… Suddenly you are on this runaway train, four of you shovelling in coal. It’s going so fast you can’t jump off, but the track is out ahead :) Basically, that’s what releasing a game is like for me, and that is what I’m feeling right now. Occasionally though, you stop and have a look out the window, and its GLORIOUS.”
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