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"Like a thunderclap to a small dog, all of this attention stressed me out."
- Game developer Toby Fox, reflecting on the remarkable success of his game Undertale.
Many game developers dream of one day making a game that becomes a breakout hit.
Undertale developer Toby Fox found himself living that dream last year, and today in a Tumblr post he shares his thoughts on what it was like to put out an award-winning indie RPG that became a bit of a pop culture phenomenon.
"Not only did I not expect this level of popularity, but initially, I was afraid of it," he writes. "At times, I wished I had a way to quell the attention. I felt a strange powerlessness. (And guilt, for feeling stressed when the success of the game SHOULD be something I’m nothing but ecstatic about.)"
Devs who dream of similar success should note that Fox isn't alone in feeling this way; indie dev Davey Wreden shared similar thoughts a few years back in a heartfelt post about the challenges he faced in dealing with the unexpected success of The Stanley Parable.
Tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary of Undertale's release, and in his blog post Fox acknowledges that while he's ultimately very grateful for the game's success, he wouldn't mind if none of his future work achieved the same heights of popularity.
"Though I did work hard, there’s definitely a lot of luck involved in having a game become this popular," he wrote. "It wouldn’t surprise me if I never made a game as successful again. That’s fine with me though."
His brief retrospective on Undertale's remarkable popularity is worth reading in full over on Tumblr.