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Relentless: Self-publishing shouldn't be an "us versus them" mentality

As developer reveals PSN exclusive Blue Toad Murder Files, studio says self-publishing and digital delivery are all about collaboration

Buzz studio Relentless Software has said that as new opportunities open up for developers in the form of self-publishing via digital distribution, it's still essential that creative talent maintain strong relationships with marketing and publishing partners.

The developer has today announced its new project – Blue Toad Murder Files – an episodic murder-mystery title exclusive to Sony's PlayStation Network, and although it's the studios first step into self-publishing, directors Andrew Eades and David Amor have said that new business models a creating more routes to market, rather than cutting some out.

"The options are so good now - there are so many that you can take,” offered Eades, development director at Relentless. “It's not really an us versus them situation. What's the best way to deliver a product, is it digital or on Blu-ray and who should do the marketing? You know, how can we get this to a bigger audience? All of those questions can be answered in very different ways."

"I think that in the next few years, when you concept a product one of the things digital distribution enables you to do is that if it's not a big Blu-ray sized game we can still make it now. We can make it digital and we can even go to Sony and say 'we think your marketing will be better than our own marketing on this, can we do this together?'," he added.

Following a similar path to the wildly popular Buzz series, David Amor, creative director of Relentless, said that the studio once again decided to build a game on a concept that consumers will understand instantly.

"What I like about a murder mystery game is that when you stick someone in front of it, everyone knows how that game works because they've seen it a thousand times on the telly. We don't have to explain it," he said.

"And I think that's one of the things that made Buzz popular – it was based on the quiz show that people have seen on TV a thousand times too. I hope the same works for us in a murder mystery title."

The instant recognition will also help details of the game spread via word of mouth, a marketing tool that could be essential for a developer having to sell its game without a publishers budget.

"The best tool we can use is word of mouth as broadly as possible so we'll be doing some stuff to create that," said Eades. "We can find out who's interested in our game for a start and then try to cultivate that interest into, hopefully, an end purchase.

"We do social games, Buzz obviously involves more than one person at a time, and we think that helps with the sell-through eventually because if you expose people to your game and they do tend to enjoy it then hopefully they'll want to buy it as well."

Blue Toad Murder Files will be released in December exclusively on the PlayStation Network. The full interview with Relentless, where the studio also discusses its continued strong relationship with Sony, and its interest in the iPhone and PSPgo, can be read here.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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