The headache of not being able to tell players your plans
"If you are an indie developer, I'd say to never get yourself into a situation where you can't talk about what you are doing."
- Hello Games' managing director Sean Murray cautions developers
against making agreements that prevent them from talking directly to their fans.
The studio caught a lot of flack from PlayStation 3 owners and fans when it released an Xbox Live Arcade sequel to Joe Danger
but no PlayStation Network version (the original game launched on PS3 and didn't release to Xbox 360 until 18 months later).
Hello Games will put out the follow-up plus extra content to PSN in a few weeks, but the developer couldn't tell fans that until today because of its contractual obligations to the XBLA edition's publisher Microsoft Studios.
The team's silence on the PSN version managed to irk PS3 devotees and a good deal of the community that Hello Games had worked hard to build. "If there's a piece of advice I would now give to every developer in the world, it's don't ever piss off PlayStation fans. They are a force to be reckoned with," said Murray.
For indies especially, keeping your fanbase excited about your work and acting as evangelists for your projects is key. You don't want to limit yourself to the point where you're driving them away because you can't talk to them about their concerns and let them know they're being addressed.