Hi. We're Otyugra: indie game developers working with Nintendo to ensure the New 3DS systems are the first among a handful of platforms on which we release our first commercial videogame. I'm Miles; pleased to meet you.
The game we happen to be making for 3DS is titled, "Dream-Prison Wanderer." View the spoiler text if you're interested in pausing to read more about our upcoming game, but keep in mind that the topic question is about 3rd-party games more broadly. Regardless, you're free to ask us about Dream-Prison Wanderer and discuss it here.
Dream-Prison Wanderer stars a scoundrel King born in a fantasy world long ago who, upon falling asleep one ominous night, finds himself in a nightmare he cannot wake up from. But this is no regular nightmare for King Belthezar: a mysterious Lord of a faraway land had servants kidnap him and throw him down a dark abyss where he arrives in the void-like lair of his kidnapper. Here, his Lord kidnapper reveals itself to be a Devil of sorts —a vigilante bent on tormenting a select few naughty people of the land of the living. Whether or not you, as Belthezar, accept your fate, your only hope of being freed from imprisonment is to embark on a series of 6 trials, after which your kidnapper promises to set you free… but can it be trusted? The trials in Dream-Prison Wanderer allow the player to learn about Belthezar's complicated past and roleplay who Belthezar will become from this day forward, but mostly, these are trials of exploration, nerve, tactics, and combat. In these trials, survival is more important than conquest and being resourceful is key. Yes, this is a Western RPG, a Traditional Roguelike, and a Horror Game. Ours is a little like if Silent Hill and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon had a baby. We and the game have a free monthly email newsletter, a subreddit, and social media accounts across the internet, altho we haven't yet posted many screenshots or trailers, nor gotten much media coverage yet.1
As you know, the 3DS has been declared dead by just about everyone, and in their defense:
- Nintendo discontinued the production.
- Very, very few physical releases come to the system anymore (altho you might be surprised to learn that a steady stream of small and teeny-tiny eShop games release on the system still to this day).2
- The Switch recently surpassed the 3DS in total units sold worldwide.
- 3DS development is slightly less accessible or supported than it was a few years ago. I wish I could go into more detail about this but that would violate our contract with Nintendo.
- Et cetera. Frankly, there are plenty more reasons. You get the idea.
Yet, whether 'cause I'm a hopeless romantic or able to see opportunities few people can3, I view the 3DS as in a coma it could briefly wake up from. In my bold (and perhaps obnoxious) view, 3DS systems aren't, for the most part, rotting away in landfills, but instead mostly in good condition collecting dust in your shoebox somewhere deep in your closet. They're in the hands of younger family members, who if asked nicely, would allow you to have it back from time to time. Furthermore, consider how many New3DS systems have been sold versus how few people "a couple hundred" is. In the right hands4, a smaller-than-average 3DS game only needs hundreds of copies sold, not thousands or millions. The average Facebook user has 200 friends; it's not a number that's unattainable. Maybe most intriguing of all, Nintendo themselves are super committed to helping 3rd-parties release a game on 3DS, but why would they do that in 2021 if they didn't have the same bold vision we do that the 3DS is capable of hosting one last, epic swan song?
I invite you to take off your cynicism hats and fantasize about a knight in shining armor, trotting forth to deliver to the world one last 3DS game worth telling your friends about and adding to your personal "Top 20 3DS games" list (even if such a game isn't universally known, as is the fate of any game late in a console lifecycle). What must that knight —err— game development studio do? You can be brutal and blunt with your answer but be warned: anyone who acts as if it's outright impossible will be ignored and I'd prefer it if you guys don't rally around a single answer but instead come up with many of 'em. There're no wrong answers or dumb questions.
P.S. I'm going to give you a multi-hour headstart to asks your questions and talk amongst yourselves before I begin responding. I feel as tho this is the best way to cultivate a big, healthy discussion, so please be patient as you wait for a response. Likewise, I hope to see people continuing to keep this post alive well past 24 hours have gone because I plan to stick around as long as needed. Game development keeps me busy so I might not respond to absolutely everyone or in a timely manner.
*1. I did two interviews with a gonzo journalist which was a lot of fun. Ask and I can direct you to them. **2. No, Persona Q2 wasn't the last physical 3DS game. **3. I came up with the core, underlying premise of Undertale at about the same exact time that Toby Fox released a Kickstarter and demo for the game in 2015! Later, I went around trying to convince people that the next big indie game was going to be a spiritual successor to Pokemon Snap just months before Nintendo announced a long-awaited sequel in the franchise to which the fans went absolutely nuts even tho no ever talks about Pokemon Snap the same way they talk about Mother, F-Zero, or Super Mario RPG. **4. Our company name, Otyugra, is a fictional beast known for being "able to survive in the fringes better than any other creature." Turning a profit using an absurdly small number of units sold is what we specialize in. Regardless, we're not making this game to turn the most profit we can.)
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