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Postmortem: Team Meat's Super Meat Boy
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Postmortem: Team Meat's Super Meat Boy

April 14, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

5. XBLA Launch

Edmund: Development was over, Super Meat Boy had taken home a few awards at PAX, and the press was starting to focus their lights on us. Many websites and magazines said Super Meat Boy was easily the hit of the Feast, and possibly the next big indie hit, but the business side of Microsoft wasn't convinced.

We were told our price was too high, our visuals too rough and simply not as eye catching and flashy as the other Game Feast games Comic Jumper and Hydrophobia. Our hearts sank when we were informed that we were projected to sell as much if not less than Hydrophobia, which would be the second-highest grossing game of the Feast in their minds.

This projection became that much more soul crushing when Hydrophobia launched and its overall leaderboard had less than 10k players in the first week. If Microsoft's projections were correct, we were fucked.

A week later, Comic Jumper launched with a similar public reaction but slightly better numbers -- still very low for XBLA standards. The Game Feast seemed to be a huge bomb, and quite a few news sites were already writing it off as a failure.

Super Meat Boy launched Oct. 20th alongside Costume Quest. It was placed third on the spotlight for four days. We never received any of the promotional launch bonuses that the previous Game Feast games had gotten (exclusive launch week, #1 spotlight, and a review by Major Nelson) but were told if we performed well in terms of Metacritic score and sales, we would move up and be more heavily advertised.

By day three of our launch, we had already outperformed Hydrophobia and Comic Jumper's launch weeks combined, our Metacritic was the second-highest rated XBLA game of all time, and the word of mouth was insane.

Our spotlight placement was gone by day five and never came back. We never got a review by Major Nelson nor did we get an explanation for why Microsoft launched SMB alongside Costume Quest, or for why, even though we exceeded their expectations for sales and score, we weren't given the treatment we were promised, even while they continued to heavily promote other Game Feast titles like Comic Jumper.

In the end, we felt very confused and taken advantage of. To this day we are still unsure of why things went down the way they did. Was it that Microsoft simply wanted to detach itself from the Game Feast? Was it that they didn't believe we would perform as well as we did? Or was it just horrible luck at the most competitive time of the year for the video game industry?

Either way, by far the biggest mistake we made during SMB's development was killing ourselves to get into a promotion we would gain basically nothing from.

Meaty Bits

Tommy: It's hard to talk about any kind of conclusion... we aren't done with it yet! We have the editor, portal, and Mac version to finish. It's hard because it already feels like we are finished, like we ran the race. But then someone asks, "Hey, do you wanna do a whole other race?" and we're like, "Yeah, sure, that sounds like it could be fun."

Edmund: Then you get there and you realize it's the same race, there's no prize at the end, and at this point you've lost control of your bowels.

Honestly, it was worth it to me because I got to make this game with a friend. It's as simple as that. If I had made it with someone I wasn't close to or couldn't joke around with, I would have had a miserable time and regretted the whole thing.

Tommy: I feel overall, that the game was worth all the stress. We went in as two guys with no games under our belts and left with the fourth-highest-rated PC game of 2010, sold over 400,000 copies worldwide, and received over 15 Game of the Year awards, which is a surreal thing to think about.

Edmund: It was an honor to make a game that we put so much of ourselves into, and that so many people appreciated. It's nice to be living proof that two college dropouts with no money can make a multiplatform console game and come out the other side with only minor head trauma.

Data Box

Developer: Team Meat

Number of Developers: 1 Edmund, 1 Tommy, 1 Danny

Length of Development: 18 months

Release Date: October 20, 2010 (XBLA), November 30, 2010 (Steam)

Platform: Xbox 360, PC

[Subscriptions to Game Developer magazine, the leading magazine for creators of video games, are now available in yearly print form, with digital versions available from the Game Developer Digital service in both subscription and single-issue formats.]

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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