Indie developer The Behemoth released Castle Crashers just over two weeks ago, and has told Gamasutra that the game has now reached 250,000 players, also revealing patch plans for the game and a 5-fold increase in Alien Hominid HD players due to CC's release.
“I’m pleasantly surprised that so many people are playing the game,” says Behemoth lead artist Dan Paladin to Gamasutra, confirming that a quarter of a million players are now on the game's leaderboards. “I was optimistic and hopeful for Castle Crashers but I wasn't prepared for the reception it got."
The company released Alien Hominid HD, an update to its original retail title, earlier in 2007 -- but with the release of Castle Crashers, which has multiple references to that other title, Alien Hominid HD has climbed up the leaderboards.
This doesn’t necessarily imply many additional sales, but those who purchased it are dusting off the game, partially because obtaining one of its achievements unlocks a character in Castle Crashers.
“Before Castle launched, Alien was doing pretty well and selling very consistently,” says Paladin. “But since launch we've seen a rediscovery of the game and approximately five times the number of people are now playing the game compared to earlier this year.”
Was The Behemoth worried about how the overt “buy our game” messages would be received? “Not too much,” says Paladin. “Most gamers know that Castle Crashers exists because our hardcore fans bought Alien Hominid HD, which helped keep the doors open to develop Castle. The Behemoth is a small company doing one game at a time and not a mega-publisher with money to burn.”
Naturally, the big topic at the moment is the connectivity problems the game has faced, with online matches frequently dropping players and losing their experience points.
“We've made a number of changes,” Paladin says, “but they are difficult to test fully until it is released to the public network. We are doing a lot of testing on a private network, but it isn't exactly the same. As for timing, Microsoft has a detailed process that we must follow for fixing issues that crop up after release. It is not a simple process of fix something and release an update.”
“You fix, you test, you verify in as many situations as possible, you fix again if you need to, you submit the update to Microsoft, they verify the fix, etcetera," he continues.
"It goes on for a while. Feedback from our community has been great -- specifically our forums -- as it gives us information to work with to resolve these issues. As for when it will be done and released, we are working as hard as we can on it so we really appreciate everyone's patience and support.”