Around three years ago, we were forced to cancel the multi-million dollar ‘Earth No More’ project. The team of 40 was mostly disbanded, but the stubborn of us went on. We experimented with the Unity3D engine and developed a prototype game that was an instant hit among publishers. We signed a deal for ‘Rochard’ with SOE for a PS3 exclusive version, which we could later port to other platforms and publish ourselves. We took on a lot of debt for the project in early June 2010 and started production at full steam. There were around 20 guys working in-house on the project in addition to the external audio, QA and localization staff.
Rochard was supposed to be released on PSN Store during late spring 2011. We were a bit behind schedule since it was the first game ever developed for PS3 using Unity3D. There was quite a buzz around the game and everything looked good. A release date was set for late May. The pre-production of a sequel was started.
Then PSN Store got hacked and shattered to little pieces. This is where things started going wrong. Further funding was not available and the release date was postponed to late September. Layoffs were inevitable, but a small group went on to port and polish the game further for Steam and the Mac App Store platforms.
When the game finally became available on PSN Store on September 27th 2011, there was not enough buzz for it to sell despite it being IGN Editors’ Choice and getting other great awards. We had no funds to do any marketing ourselves, so there was no choice but to rush the PC version to Steam despite the bad market timing. The PC Steam version was launched on November 15th, 2011. Media coverage was minimal as the seasonal big titles had been released during the past four weeks. Our bad luck had turned worse due to our lack of resources. We had made a great game that we did not know how to sell.
There are seven guys (and a lot of debt) left in the company. We were about to give up with Rochard, but we were given an opportunity to release a boxed version of the game with Nordic Games GmbH and participate in the Humble Bundle. Now that’s been done, it’s time to give Rochard the fame it deserves. A DLC and a sequel are definitely in our plans.
We’d like to thank Unity3D for their awesome Linux support, and Humble Bundle for keeping the dream alive! We’d also like to thank everyone who has bought Rochard already!
The Rochard Team
P.S. Meanwhile, we’ve been developing a self-funded iOS/Android game since late January, 2012. More about that soon!