With every developer on the App Store wanting to become a publisher overnight lately, it’s easy to forget a time when significant iOS publishers were a relatively rare breed. Unlike a lot of these recent developers-turned-publishers, Crescent Moon Games took the time needed to get it right. Since their debut in 2009, they’ve gone from being a developer working with a publisher to a self-publishing developer, and then finally to a publisher working with other developers.
We’ve recently had a conversation with Crescent Moon’s Founder and Creative Director Josh Presseisen about his company’s journey from developer to publisher, whatever happened to a few MIA projects, and what’s next for the company. Here’s what he had to say.
If we step into the way back machine and set it for 2009, we arrive at your first iOS release, Ravensword: The Fallen King. You chose to publish this through Chillingo. Since that time however, Crescent Moon Games has published their releases independently. What prompted the change?
At the time we thought we should go with a publisher to maximize exposure to the game. I think Chillingo did a great job with marketing. For your first game, if you are unsure, I think it is wise to go with a publisher. We really could have gone either way.
When the game was successful we realized that it didn’t make sense to release under a publisher for new games.
Speaking of Ravensword, back before the game’s release there was rumor of a Ravensword MMO slated for 2010. What happened to that?
Most of the players didn’t really want an MMO – they wanted a more full featured RPG first. The answer to that, was Aralon: Sword and Shadow. Whether we do an MMO eventually on the iOS still remains to be seen. It’s still a possibility.
As a publisher, you’ve brought a few titles by other developers to the App Store under the Crescent Moon name. Unlike other publishers though, you’ve taken a fairly hands on approach and helped to give gorgeous visual makeovers to both Aralon and Paper Monsters. Can you tell us a little about what these collaborations have been like?
Collaborating with other developers has given us ‘more legs’ so to speak. It allows us to get into more games than we would have with internal development, and try different things. Sometimes you might see a game and you think “wouldn’t it be cool if” it had this or that, or looked this way. That was the approach. Here’s a game (take the Galoobeth developedAralon for instance) that has programmer art. The framework of the game is great, but it’s lacking on the graphics side and perhaps needs some gameplay enhancement. This has led to some of our more successful titles – Gears by Corey Redlien being the most recent, which was #1 on the iPad. Aralon was also quite successful, becoming #6 top grossing app on the iOS during Christmas time.
If you could have Crescent Moon Games work with any developer, who would it be and why?
There are a few developers who we’d like to work with – to even possibly bring 2D franchises into the 3D space. I can’t name names, but there are some things in the works, with whom you might not expect.
Somewhere along the lines, your upcoming release Ultra Kid went from an ambitious 3D platformer to a side-scrolling endless running game. What happened? And will we still be seeing the platformer, Ultra Kid – Mystery of the Mutants?
Ultra Kid didn’t really have a clear direction, and Aralon came along and took up most of our time. We decided to get back into Ultra Kid as an endless runner game, and see where that takes us. Ultra Kid Sprint is currently in production. Whether we will see Mystery of the Mutants is another story for another day.
Pocket RPG, developed by Tasty Poison,is sort of an arcade style RPG – a fun dungeon crawler that is almost similar to Gauntlet if you remade it in modern times. It has random pieces so that when you play through, you will never feel as if you are playing the same area twice, and monsters, items respawn in unique areas each time.
Paper Monsters is a 2.5D platformer by developer Robots vs. Wizards. It’s somewhere along the lines of a traditional Mario-style game with a ‘papercraft’ motif. It has a lot of personality. I think the iOS is lacking in good 2.5D platformers, so this should be very refreshing to a lot of gamers out there.
Deadlock, developed by Invulse Games,is a no holds barred dual stick shooter focused on Online Multiplayer. It has lots of weapons/armor/unlockables and different play modes. Its military style reminiscent of the Call of Duty and Counterstrike games, but in top down dual stick style view.
What are you playing right now?
Well I bought Portal 2 for my son but I haven’t even had a chance to play it. I’ve watched him play it a bunch. (Don’t think we’ll be working on any Portal Clones!)
With the amount of games in the works, it’s hard to find time to actually really get into any games that aren’t quick pick up and plays. I think the most recent iOS game that I really got into was Tiny Wings.