The idiom time flies is what comes to mind, as tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Light Fall. April 26, 2018 is a date we will always remember. After almost 4 years of trials and tribulations, hard work and stressful but also joyful moments, Light Fall was finally releasing on Steam and Nintendo Switch on that day.
To celebrate our one-year anniversary, we have been working secretly on our biggest content update yet: the Lost Worlds Edition. This update is totally free and will provide new levels to unlock. You can find all the details here. Buckle up, shake the rust off and get ready for some fast-paced action!
This anniversary is also a good opportunity to take a look back in time and reflect on everything that has happened since we embarked on this journey in 2014.
The Finish Line of a Crazy Ride
Four years is quite a long time. In hindsight, it shouldn’t have taken us this long to make Light Fall. But, as is the case with most emerging indie studios, you live and you learn every day. You also fail a lot… It’s easy to get stuck in limbo and do things on autopilot, without a clear finish line in sight. Making a game with a small team is no easy task, you have to focus on the small things to not get lost in the scope of your project.
We did a lot of back and forth and reworked a lot of things in these four years. However, by December 2017, we knew for a certainty that our launch would be the next Spring. It was just a matter of ironing out the last details for the Switch certifications. At long last, we had a finish line in sight after such a long journey.
Launch Day: Will the Earth Stop Spinning?
It’s hard to remember everything about the official launch day. Most of it is nothing but a blur. However, we do remember that the game was going live at noon, on both Steam and Switch. In the morning, everyone was busy completing the final preparations; a last check up on the store pages, a few last emails here and there, reviewing the posts about to be posted on social media, etc.
We gathered around as the minutes before launch dwindled. We were ready to press that big Publish button on the store pages. What would happen then? It was a strange feeling, as if we thought the Earth would stop spinning. After four years of work, this was our big moment. But… the reality is that every day is the big day for hundreds of studios around the world.
While we did get some good coverage from the press and content creators, the world did not stop spinning for us that day. It would be a lie to say that the launch made fireworks around the world, it wasn’t exactly a home run either. We realized then that making a good game was only the beginning. Despite our best efforts, our reach wasn’t as big as we had hoped. The reality of being an indie studio with smaller means hit us hard that day.
On the inside, we felt disappointed and a bit sad. However, it wasn’t the time to sulk. Instead, we decided to focus our energy on improving the game with the community’s help. In hindsight, our situation wasn’t too terrible either. Our disappointment was mostly due to a feeling of emptiness after spending so much time working on Light Fall. At one point, you get lost into the project and it becomes a finality in itself. But when you reach the end… you ask yourself What should I do now?
The Last Boss: A Learning Experience
The biggest regret we have concerning the launch of Light Fall is the initial state of the final boss of the game. In its original state, the final boss was random, frustrating and left a sour taste for many of you. It was simply not fun.
Even worse, it was completely out of line with the rest of Light Fall’s philosophy. Light Fall is a game where you have to go fast, react quickly with the Shadow Core and always think on your feet. But the final boss was pretty much the opposite of everything the game had previously taught you. Often times, the best strategy was to stand still and hope for the best.
We could make excuses as to why we designed the boss this way, but it can be simply explained as a lack of experience. Designing a final boss is a much harder task than we thought; it has to be this epic moment crowning all of your efforts. It has to be memorable and challenging, but also fun and engaging. We simply missed the mark the first time around. But judging from your reactions, it is clear that we did a much better job with the second iteration.
Sadly, it did hurt the game a bit at launch. Some critics straight up mentioned that they would rate the game 8 or 9 out of 10 if not for that final boss, before giving it a 6 or 7. While it stinks, you can’t dwell on it too much. It’s better to treat it as a learning experience and improve for the next time.
Proud of What We Accomplished
Overall, we are proud of what we accomplished. Light Fall was the first game of the studio, and for 2 of the 3 founders, it was our first time stepping foot in the video game industry! We have grown a lot on this journey. We learned to work together and, most importantly, realized what it takes to make a game from start to finish.
Light Fall was our love letter to retro platformers and our attempt to bring more eyes on the discipline of Speedrun. We feel that we have achieved these goals. The game makes Speedrun accessible to anybody and brings unparalleled freedom to the player with the Shadow Core mechanic. It was also welcomed within the Speedrun community, ultimately being showcased at Games Done Quick in front of 100 000 viewers on Twitch!
The critics and ratings of Light Fall also confirm that we made a good game. While it does have its flaws, most people had a great time with it. They embraced our vision and jumped heard first into the world of Numbra. We can’t ask for much more than that!
What now, you may ask? Well, we carry over everything we learned for Light Fall on a new, top-secret project. We can’t wait to share the details with you all and we sincerely hope you embark on this new journey with us. Just like you did for Light Fall!