Following the release of the article, we received a lot of feedback regarding the general theme and title of the game. Here’s an update on this particular subject.
big huge part of selling copies of your game is to grab people’s attention when they first encounter your game on a website or in a store. You do that by having a good looking game (originality, style, theme, etc), which comes up in screenshots and trailers. You also need to have a good title that is both memorable/catchy and describes the game well. Finally, your game’s description (elevator pitch) also needs to let people wanting more, or at least generate some kind of wonder in their mind.
We didn’t have any of this in Toto Temple Deluxe.
The Mayan / temple theme wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. It’s clearly overused, uninspired and doesn’t make you want to discover the game’s universe because you already know what that kind of universe looks like. Don’t get me wrong though, I think our game is beautifully drawn. We’re solely talking about theme here.
The main reason for all of this is because we chose the theme during the initial game jam. It was nicely supporting our first prototype about little servants defending the treasures in a temple for some god. You can see how the gameplay changed drastically during the jam.
We ended the jam with the Mayan theme, and we had no reasons to revisit it afterwards. Then Ouya came in and asked us to take what we had (which was good enough), and make something bigger out of it. It was faster to keep it like this and take the money, rather than re-design everything from scratch and lose money in the process.
After the Ouya version, we had a finished product that was a good fit for consoles (for the first time ever). It was obvious that we wouldn’t start over from scratch at that point. So that’s how we ended up with this theme.
We didn’t really notice that our theme was bad at the time because we were kind of confusing weirdness with originality. The whole “goat on your head” thing felt unique, unseen, so we were under the impression that our game was unique and memorable. But, yeah, we were wrong.
The character designs were also created during the jam, and we never went back to them. I personally still think they’re cool/cute, but it’s true that they aren’t as strong as other characters. For instance, I really like Candyman and Latch from Lethal League (Team Reptile). They’re unique and have strong, memorable features (thanks to Team Reptile for their feedback on the subject).