Since 2005 Epiphany Games have effectively doubled their revenue, even in the midst of an industry leveling global financial crises, and all while getting paid to develop the tools and processes they would later need to make their dream games. I sat down with Morgan Lean, founder and director of Epiphany, to eat tasty cakes and figure out exactly how they pulled this off without investors or publishers to start with.
In the first part of this interview we get into managing clients, why Australia is such a great place to go indie and how to involve the player’s imagination in your game design.
“Quoting is quite difficult and I reckon that a lot of game studios will not get the quoting process correct. They will think about it [the game] in terms of development hours and add that up, but you also have to factor in managing the client, talking to the client, rebriefs and redesigns!”
“We are very good, in the games industry, at doing a lot with a very small amount of capital to spend”
“New opportunities for game developers will not be found by going after what’s already been done. Not by regurgitating that material. But by doing something entirely new (brand new way of making a game, brand new tech) OR turning something on it’s head, twisting something that’s established. Taking something that we’ve already been doing in a whole different direction.”
Part 2 continues with finding creative clients to partner with, how to work with clients and how to maintain your integrity and authority as a game designer in that relationship.
So support their brand, support the changes they’re going to make (within reason) but don’t back down about changes to gameplay. If the change they want is going to diminish gameplay in any way you have to tell them “this is a bad idea, this is what will happen if you do X, Y and Z.” You also have to stand up and say “As the game designer I can tell you – what you are trying to do is not going to work”.
Ultimately if the game’s bad it is still your fault. Even if they requested the changes it’s still your fault because you’re the game designer, you have the responsibility. You’re the one that has to say “If we make this change the game is going to be bad”.
Any studio that has multiple revenue streams is going to be more stable than a studio with a single revenue stream.
Finally the interview finishes up with us discussing the importance of having multiple revenue streams as an indie startup and how to get paid to do tool development and pre-production on your own games.
So the tools you make are better because they’re built for a more general audience. Your not just saying “alright that’s good enough enough for me” – you’re actually making things which are genuinely good products. So the middleware side of our business has made everything else better.
After you get to a point where you’ve done so many projects and you’ve hit so many deadlines you become confident that you are going to deliver. And that’s the point where studios need to get to if they are going to take that big step of making 10 or 20 or a 50 million dollar game.
Start small, take small steps and try and stay on track. Don’t fall into one particular thing just because it’s easy. Try and stay on track [towards your Epic Quest] but take small steps.
Epiphany Games was established with the intention to be the best Game and Technology Development studio in Australia, and eventually one of the best in the World. Ours is a highly talented and motivated Studio, with development capabilities on all platforms – PC, Mobile and all Consoles. We love what we do, and we do it very well. Follow them on Twitter, Like them onFacebook and Support their games!