What I am going to write here may not be well-received by many gamers. And this article will contain references to Mammon (always a touchy subject amongst gamers). So, I am trying to tread carefully, and I urge you to do the same.
Yet, I believe pointing this out is essential for the success of Total Rendition as a project. We are struggling to obtain a development budget as investors believe that narrative-driven games cannot compare with the supposed lucrativeness of multiplayer titles which can be monetised by microtransactions. For a long time, many gamers who like the single-player game format (including myself) are facing an increasing lack of choice.
To be sure, something has to change if we wish to see a renaissance of narrative-driven games. The average Fortnite player spends $84.67. However, instead of resenting Fortnite for its success, we are missing an elephant in the room: When Half-Life was released in 1998, the advisory price was $49.99 in 1998 US Dollars. So, measured in 2023 US Dollars, everyone who bought a copy of Half-Life in 1998 paid $93.18. At some point, per player, Half-Life brought in more revenue than Fortnite! Therein lies the rub.
If narrative-driven games appear to be dying, it’s because large publishers are neglecting the format and are engaging in predatory pricing to deter competitors (like us). Shocked? Because these prices do not take into account inflation. As a result, narrative-driven options are increasingly meagre: Existing IPs are being milked and new IPs are leveraged to promote certain hardware.
When we brought Total Rendition to Steam Early Access, there was plenty of unhelpful “feedback” and it sometimes felt like browsing the comments section of a YouTube video in 2005. Yet, the point of Total Rendition is to build a narrative-driven game of the kind Millennials and Generation X’ers love. One where a playthrough may take days. We would love to have more levels and original assets, although we don’t have the resources to accomplish so yet.
To be able to procure the necessary logistics, we need to present investors with a lucrative opportunity. After all, that’s what Valve did when they started work on Half-Life. Maybe some will say it’s blasphemy to compare ourselves with Valve and Total Rendition with Half-Life. “How dare they!” However, right now, we are not even being entrusted with the resources necessary for this undertaking, as the big bois can afford to neglect narrative-driven games.
For all the lies being peddled about us, we are being blunt and honest. I’m personally in it for the art of game development itself. However, since I realise my plans are ambitious, a development budget is necessary to realise my aims. This, in turn, requires that I meet investors halfway to some extent. Moreover, it’s more that the big bois are being predatory to smaller devs, than anything else. It’s time to break this oligopoly.
Thank you for reading!