First of all, we really have to thank the Indie Arena Booth and its team for all the crazy work they did (and for letting us have a booth in the biggest indie Area in the world!). We thought we wanted to do something a bit more professional this time and went with a proper booth design for the expo area and additionally had a small room in the Business to Business Area.
The trip didn’t really start off on good footing (even though there was a freaking beautiful rainbow on the way to the airport..). Not only did we almost miss the train from Frankfurt to Köln due to our luggage being super late, we also didn’t get one of the most important pieces: our Mars Suit Stand-up Cutout! To make matters worse, the whole crew had to stand during the train trip to Köln since Lufthansa decided to double book all the seats (thanks btw, we knew we would already get a good workout walking back and forth through the huge Köln Messe area ;)).
Luckily they found the cardboard contraption and sent it to our hotel the next morning. It would have been a shame to miss out on all the really cool selfies people took with our suit (check out our Twitter Account for more retweets and join our Facebook). Here is a just a tiiiny collection of many more that were shared on social media. 🙂
It was the first time we showed the Moons of Madness Demo to a wider audience in Europe, both to the press and the public. Needless to say we were excited about the reactions and feedback, but also a bit scared. Turns out we didn’t have to be!
We had three days of completely packed press schedules thanks to the amazing job done by Plan of Attack, who helped us with securing and managing all of the meetings. It was pretty incredible that the media took time out of their incredibly busy Gamescom week to come check out Moons in the first place. We also weren’t really expecting the feedback to be so overwhelmingly positive. It was initially made to show the atmosphere and themes we are going for to potential partners. Needless to say, the already super positive feedback has us very motivated and it confirmed that we are on the right track. Next time we could definitely do with a few less meetings though. Having to go without eating anything all day is not the best way to stay energized and in tip-top shape. We somehow managed anyway but parties were ditched in the favor of not collapsing throughout the week. The most amazing part was that we got two nominations for awards and won the “Best of Gamescom” award by Gamecensor. Thanks again so much for the honors!
Not only did we meet with tons of media outlets in the B2B area, we also showed the game on the actual expo floor to anyone who was interested and above 16 years old. That’s the age rating the USK slapped on Moons for the show. Poor Egil, one of our programmers, had to hold the fort all by his lonesome at our actual booth while Aaron (our lead designer) and Natascha (Marketing and Assistant Producer) spoke to the press about the game and had them try their hands at the demo.
Since we did get a 16+ USK rating, we had to keep a close eye on visitors’ wristbands to make sure we didn’t have anyone too young try the demo. We also had to hide the monitors showing the game so that they weren’t easily visible for everyone passing by. Thanks to funding from the Norwegian Government and the “Spill ut i Verden”-Program, we actually had the means to build a proper booth and address those concerns. The two play-testing sections were hidden by roll-up panels that showed off the beautiful mars landscape we’ve been working on for the game itself. It also helped keep some of the mystery and puzzles under wraps for those people waiting in queue.
That’s one of the things that really blew us away: the patience and dedication of every single one of our visitors on the expo floor. Not only did 99% of you who came by play through the whole demo, many of you also waited with incredible patience for your turn. The demo itself took anywhere between 30 to 45 Minutes to finish. The fact that some of you waited over an hour really floored us and we are immensely sorry that we didn’t plan this better. We truly weren’t prepared for such an interest in this early demo version but definitely learned a valuable lesson for future showings.
The most important takeaway from Gamescom for us was also the Lovecraft and atmosphere feedback. That is something that we really want to get right. Lovecraft has always been more about dread and feeling insignificant and small. We really feel that Mars is a great environment to use but of course it also poses challenges. After all, it still has to feel interesting and it needs to have potential for storytelling. Most Media representatives and gamers agreed that they really “enjoyed” the atmosphere and think that we are on the right track in regards to look and feel.
Natascha also had the pleasure to live stream from the indie booth and discuss Moons together with other female indie devs. An interesting common denominator was that, even though all the three games the ladies discussed looked very different in style, they all approached tricky topics and themes that were important to each of the teams. Something indie games have in common, we find.
Fact is, the Gamescom crew was really excited to come back to the office and tell everyone how well Moons was received. All the hard work is going in the right direction and that is the most important takeaway. You don’t always need a beefy monster to create a horror game atmosphere. Sometimes the most familiar, safe environments turn out to be the most scary ones, right?
Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of time to check out many of the other truly inspiring and creative indie games which is our biggest regret.
Did you come by and test the game? Let us know in the comments! 🙂