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Crimsonland
WaxPaper 13. elo, 2013 6.44
You Missed the Boat: An open letter to 10tons about Crimsonland 2
Dear 10tons,

We realize that back when Crimsonland was all the rage and people still visited the Reflexive website to find new games, the mobile/app market was just in its infancy... I'm sure you really had every intention of developing the sequel — Crimsonland 2 — during that time, and we were told you guys even started designing assets.

Soon after, the mobile games market took off like a rocket, and every small-games studio jumped on the train, because a lot of people were predicting that's where the money would be. We can't blame you for kicking it into overdrive and begin developing mobile content exclusively, because hey; as it turned out, everyone was right about the money thing.

But I believe you made a mistake by abandoning CL2 completely. Although the time spent developing it probably wouldn't have make up for the revenue you've pulled in by devoting that work elsewhere instead, you might have missed an opportunity that would have propelled you into the big leagues (resulting in significantly more revenue in the future)...

What I'm talking about here is brand-recognition. Sure, your studio is recognized among hardcore vets and a small niche of dedicated mobile fans... But you don't have the branding power of similar indie studios like Mojang, Paradox, Edmund McMillen and Co., etc.

If you would have sacrificed a little revenue in the short-term, in the interest of capitalizing on the ravenous CL fanbase (which was at a fever pitch back then), you could have used that momentum to propel your brand recognition into a similar league... You'd have an army of devoted fans that would have thrown money at anything you produced. You would have seen word-of-mouth alone draw in tens of thousands of dollars' worth of publicity and advertising.

So, is it too late to leverage the original Crimsonland following into the developmental support of a sequel? Probably, which might be why you completely abandoned it a couple years ago. Maybe someday you'll launch a Kickstarter project and crowd-fund its development... At the end of the day, though, we can't blame you for jumping on the "mobile bandwagon," because it's a viable way to make good money.

But perhaps the story of 10tons and Crimsonland 2 can be a lesson for future indie developers facing a similar option... The "quick cash" vs. "long investment" dilemma is nothing new, after all. When the time comes, let's just hope the next great studio makes the right choice.

With regret,

WaxPaper (entertainment and tech journalist)
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MaxLightningUK 17. elo, 2013 13.05 
+1
10tons  [kehittäjä] 20. elo, 2013 1.49 
Thanks for the letter. We're well aware a lot of fans are disappointed and frustrated that we didn't finish Crimsonland 2 back in the day. We symphatize, and even feel the same way to a certain extent.

The decision to move to casual and mobile games back when Crimsonland 2 probably should have been made was largely forced on us. While Crimsonland was a hit of a certain scale, the income was such that going all in on Crimsonland 2 didn't seem like a good idea at all, businesswise. As the company was just formed, medium term security was the obvious top priority.

Luckily casual games turned out to be exactly the correct choice, and a few years later mobile started working for us as well. We stayed alive, and even managed to grow as a company.

The desire to make Crimsonland 2 never went away though. That's why we originally started it, and unfortunately announced it admittedly too soon, as it turned out we weren't in a position to finish and release it. And we even repeated the mistake. Communication with fans could have been better too, and we understand how some of the fans eventually perceived us as leading them on. This was never our intention though, and we apologize for the hurt feelings.

As Crimsonland was the game we started with, we think it's fairly obvious we have passion for hardcore games. There's been plenty of internal discussion about returning to hardcore games at least partially, as the markets are changing left and right. A ship, and even several ships may have sailed for Crimsonland 2, but we hope not *all* ships.

If we ever decide to announce Crimsonland 2 though, this time we'll definitely make sure to release it too.
Quanrian 20. syys, 2013 12.52 
I'm just glad you're back and I'm seeing games getting re-released left and right so it's hard to hold that against anyone. If you've still got the assets for CL2 it's always a possibility for the future and if not, you'll make something better. You might check out Ville's recent project sometime as I'm sure he'd love to hear from you!
kraz4r 25. syys, 2013 23.53 
Invader_Sigma 3. loka, 2013 1.59 
I checked the CL forums several times a week for about a year after it came out, and that "ravenous fan-base" of forum posters never grew beyond about 3-dozen people. it sounds to me like you are seriously suggesting that 10tons would have been better off trying to leverage this enormous (sarcasm heavily implied) resource of 30 some-odd forum-posters to follow their dreams and propel their company into the realm of Mojang and the like. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? How dare you suggest that making a living wage is less important than the possibility and pretty much impossible-to-predict chance of "making it big". I don't damn well care if the boat for Crimsonland 2 has sailed if it meant 10tons could make a living, and for you to suggest otherwise is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.

The one thing I will give you points on is that 10tons did drop the ball on communication for CL2, but so what? The only people who ever even knew about this dropped communication anyways was that "ravenous fan-base".
pokrishka 7. loka, 2013 6.52 
I agree with the last poster, except for the harshness of his tone :) I believe 10tons made a right decision if it worked out well for them. I've gotten my hell of a fun from Crimsonland back in a day. Of course I'm sad there was no sequel but I'm way more happy to hear the guys who created the original are doing well.
WaxPaper 7. loka, 2013 9.08 
Invader_Sigma lähetti viestin:
I checked the CL forums several times a week for about a year after it came out, and that "ravenous fan-base" of forum posters never grew beyond about 3-dozen people. it sounds to me like you are seriously suggesting that 10tons would have been better off trying to leverage this enormous (sarcasm heavily implied) resource of 30 some-odd forum-posters to follow their dreams and propel their company into the realm of Mojang and the like. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? How dare you suggest that making a living wage is less important than the possibility and pretty much impossible-to-predict chance of "making it big". I don't damn well care if the boat for Crimsonland 2 has sailed if it meant 10tons could make a living, and for you to suggest otherwise is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.

The one thing I will give you points on is that 10tons did drop the ball on communication for CL2, but so what? The only people who ever even knew about this dropped communication anyways was that "ravenous fan-base".

Did you even read my post, or simply scan a sentence here and there in "Twitter-sized" portions? Because there are a couple pretty big straw men you built in your reply there... You're also making some accusations that are contradictory with what I wrote, like this bit about me "daring [to] suggest that making a living wage is less important than the possibility and pretty much impossible-to-predict chance of 'making it big'."

You're getting all worked up about notions that I didn't even propose. This kind of behavior would usually suggest the irrational "white-knighting" antics of a teenager behind the keyboard. But if you tell me you're an adult who just lost his cool for whatever reason, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and take your word for it (if you promise to actually read my post this time, that is).

Now, do you want to tell me what the issue is really about, and what you'd like to me to understand?

PS: That Crimsonland forum you mentioned is nowhere close to being representative of the game's actual fan base, even during its worst market year. In the early 2000s, the use of social media and forums weren't nearly as prevalent as they are today. The whole casual gaming scene and culture was different, as far as online presence (forums, wikis, FAQs, "Let's Play" videos and networking). And by the time this kind of social interaction was becoming the norm, 10tons wasn't fostering that avenue, for presumably the same reason it eventually abandoned the sequel.

Regardless, Crimsonland's fan appeal was among the top of all casual games in the early- to mid-2000s. Hell, this game alone probably helped the Reflexive portal eek out its viability for a while longer, before it the company had to close its doors. It's still considered the quintessential PC "twin-stick shooter" to this day, inspiring countless game developers in the genre who grew up playing it.

Pozitiv_MC 27. loka, 2013 15.30 
WaxPaper lähetti viestin:
Invader_Sigma lähetti viestin:
I checked the CL forums several times a week for about a year after it came out, and that "ravenous fan-base" of forum posters never grew beyond about 3-dozen people. it sounds to me like you are seriously suggesting that 10tons would have been better off trying to leverage this enormous (sarcasm heavily implied) resource of 30 some-odd forum-posters to follow their dreams and propel their company into the realm of Mojang and the like. Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? How dare you suggest that making a living wage is less important than the possibility and pretty much impossible-to-predict chance of "making it big". I don't damn well care if the boat for Crimsonland 2 has sailed if it meant 10tons could make a living, and for you to suggest otherwise is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.

The one thing I will give you points on is that 10tons did drop the ball on communication for CL2, but so what? The only people who ever even knew about this dropped communication anyways was that "ravenous fan-base".

Did you even read my post, or simply scan a sentence here and there in "Twitter-sized" portions? Because there are a couple pretty big straw men you built in your reply there... You're also making some accusations that are contradictory with what I wrote, like this bit about me "daring [to] suggest that making a living wage is less important than the possibility and pretty much impossible-to-predict chance of 'making it big'."

You're getting all worked up about notions that I didn't even propose. This kind of behavior would usually suggest the irrational "white-knighting" antics of a teenager behind the keyboard. But if you tell me you're an adult who just lost his cool for whatever reason, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and take your word for it (if you promise to actually read my post this time, that is).

Now, do you want to tell me what the issue is really about, and what you'd like to me to understand?

PS: That Crimsonland forum you mentioned is nowhere close to being representative of the game's actual fan base, even during its worst market year. In the early 2000s, the use of social media and forums weren't nearly as prevalent as they are today. The whole casual gaming scene and culture was different, as far as online presence (forums, wikis, FAQs, "Let's Play" videos and networking). And by the time this kind of social interaction was becoming the norm, 10tons wasn't fostering that avenue, for presumably the same reason it eventually abandoned the sequel.

Regardless, Crimsonland's fan appeal was among the top of all casual games in the early- to mid-2000s. Hell, this game alone probably helped the Reflexive portal eek out its viability for a while longer, before it the company had to close its doors. It's still considered the quintessential PC "twin-stick shooter" to this day, inspiring countless game developers in the genre who grew up playing it.

So, we don't know anything about Crimsonland 2 future, but what about Crimsonland 1 ? What about adding it to STEAM?
Drivenby 28. loka, 2013 10.32 
I just want to play Crimsonland 2 , i followed the original since it was freeware.
deepcut 13. marras, 2013 20.11 
WaxPaper lähetti viestin:
...there are a couple pretty big straw men you built in...
I was with you for the first couple of paragraphs, but I'm not convinced the rest of your argument stands up either.

Plenty of companies have made a name for themselves in mobile development. If 10tons haven't "made it big", it's for other reasons than because they didn't go on to develop Crimsonland 2.
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