Dozens of games were shown Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase earlier this month, but only one featured a sword in clawed crab searching for treasure and taking on the underwater world. The Switch game in question, Another crab’s treasure, sounded perfectly niche, but its developers at Aggro Crab listed it as “sold out”. They were only half joking.
“Previously Aggro Crab was released sink and it didn’t make us rich, so this time we’re selling and giving people what they want: crabs,” said one of the designers, Caelan Pollock, during the Nintendo Showcase. The studio described Another crab’s treasure as a 3D soulslike in which players level up by fighting other crabs and stealing their junk to use as armor.
The punch line was the team’s wry, tongue-in-cheek setup for their latest reveal, yet it also contained a bit of truth. “Our announcement video jokingly says ‘sold out,’ but we really hope this game becomes more mainstream and brings new fans into the game,” Pollock said kotaku in an instant message.
Soulslikes can be big sellers, and crabs make a perfect vehicle for this steam bait formula, so the reasoning. “Most of the time, when I say ‘mainstream,’ I just mean what’s hot!” Pollock said. “Elden ring successfully brought a TON of new attention to the genre, both in the form of new players and a lot of people who would like to play but are held back by its difficulties or oppressive atmosphere.”
sink was a 2020 roguelike about doing an internship at a Soylent startup and fighting your way through the absurd and mind-numbing excesses of capitalism. It was fun, it was clever, but it didn’t become a big breakout hit like some stylish indie roguelikes have. It found a publisher in Team17 and also struck a Game Pass deal. Eventually, however, the money ran out and future DLCs had to be cancelled.
“I want to acknowledge that even a funded and released game, let alone the game doing well enough to propel us into a second project, gets us Good in the happiest 5% of indie developers,” Pollock said kotaku. At the same time, having successfully “made it” as an indie game developer, Aggro Crab now maintains a team of over 10 people and the goalposts have moved.
“We had to move to the next big thing if we were going to leave the lights on,” he said. “And we really hope it will be the next one big Thing. Another crab’s treasure is a giant step up in ambition sinkand we want to prove that Aggro Crab has the ability to grow beyond our niche and create a game with real reach.”
Midst ongoing debates about whether subscription games are like Xbox Game Pass sustainable sustainable, the deluge of great games flooding storefronts like Steam and the Switch eShop each month has also upped the ante for discoverability and success. “There are just so many high-quality games out there that it’s difficult to ‘hype’ all games today,” says GameDiscover co-author Simon Carless wrote to GamesIndustry.biz yesterday. “This is an independent, separate issue for Game Pass.”
Pollock hopes Another crab’s treasure where it is “sold out”. sink couldn’t in part, capitalizing on the popularity of the genre with innovative difficulty settings. Aggro Crab seeks that elusive middle ground to make a game accessible to all while maintaining a high-level Soulslike gameplay for those who are that interested. But the team is not ready to share more about it, he said. The game is currently slated for release on Switch in 2023, and with private investment through game funding outfit Kowloon Nights, the studio has the funding it needs until then.
https://kotaku.com/nintendo-switch-elden-ring-indie-selling-out-soulslike-1848976140 Switch Dev Explains Why Crab Soulslike Is “Sold Out”.