Now, Critter Crunch came out on PSN. How do you feel about its reception? What about sales?
NV: The reception has been awesome. It was better than we even thought. We put the extra effort into Critter Crunch. We could have put it out earlier, less polished, less finished, with less of the features that we had, and sales-wise it might not have affected it very much. But I think that the people who played it and appreciated it appreciated the fact that we made it a tightly polished, complete package.
On the sales side, we all wish it was a giant smash super-hit.
KP: Sure; I'd loooove to be rich.
NV: It hasn't been selling phenomenal, but, compared to a lot of other puzzle games on PSN and XBLA, it's doing all right; we really can't complain at all.
People have been very supportive of the game on internet communities or the press sites or just teeny-tiny little forums or Twitter or whatever. People have just been very vocal about their love for the game. I hope that that's kind of the pinnacle for developers; I hope that that's the main goal.
Sales byproduct is great; it helps you keep going. But if people are talking about the game and evangelizing the game and trying to get their friends to play it, I think that's the best-case scenario for a project. The fact that I think we got that is really, really cool. I think everybody in the studio is super proud of that.
KP: And surprised, too, I think; the reception on the critical end was beyond what we expected. That's done huge things for us in terms of helping us actually establish the studio as something that some people might actually care about -- like a "wonder what they're making next" kind of thing.
There was a whole thing about someone hunting down this prototype for this game called Zombie Tactics that we were just working on the prototype for. The fact that that's something that someone would do now -- someone sleuthed the internet to try to find some extra cool stuff... Two years ago, there would be no reason whatsoever.
NV: Yeah, we're so genuinely amazed that people care.
KP: And they care now because of Critter Crunch and Clash of Heroes. Hopefully, down the line, that'll actually matter more and more, so that's cool.
What do you think about pricing? I know you guys particularly picked Critter Crunch's price-point, and I think the last time I heard something about it was kind of closer to release. Do you have any insight into it? Because it's still a huge question, right?
NV: It is, and it's something that I don't think that we even really know if it worked or if it didn't, necessarily. The big thing for us was that Critter Crunch was a game that we really wanted to make as a studio, but it was also a game that we were very conscious of the fact that it's the first thing that anybody will actually play that our studio has made. We wanted to do everything we could to make sure that as many people as possible could play it.
Flower is a $10 game -- fuck, I'd pay 20 bucks for that. I'd pay a full retail price for that game. There are certain games on digital distribution platforms that are very worthy of that $10, $15 price-point, and I don't know if Critter Crunch provides the same experience that those games do.
KP: It's a beautiful puzzle game; it's not... Let's be honest. It's not Flower. (Laughs)
NV: I think we were very conscious that there are levels of digital download games. I used this in another interview, and I'll use it again because I think it's a good metaphor: It's like meal sizes.
There's appetizer games that are like five dollars. Noby Noby Boy is, I think, a great appetizer. You play it for awhile, and you're immersed; but when you're done you want to play something else. And there's the meal games that are like $10 games: Flower and Castle Crashers and those type of games that you play for a sitting and then go do something else because you've used up your game-playing time.
I think Critter Crunch and games like Shatter, as well, fall in between these two. They're not Flower-type experiences, but they're not little itty-bitty things. We were very conscious about trying to find that middle ground, and it's good that we can do that on PSN.
It's good that we can define a price-point -- that Capy can actually say, "Here's how much our game costs." We talked to Sony a bunch about it, but, in the end, they just kind of said, "Your project. You made it the way you want to make it; you price it the way you want to price it."
KP: Yeah. We would have to have balls of steel to price the game at the level where Braid or Castle Crashers are, because it's not that kind of game.
NV: It isn't. It's like a large appetizer. If you're not really hungry, you can eat that and you might leave some on the plate; but if you're starving, you might want a little bit more after. It's kind of in between.
KP: The next game's going to be in the bigger category.