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Gun Monkeys dev talks price drop, frustrations of multiplayer creation

Gun Monkeys, a procedurally generated online deathmatch game, is now available at half its price and includes two copies with every purchase — a move to make it "a bit less of a gamble for people" to try, Dan Marshall of Size Five Games told Polygon.

Marshall detailed the changes earlier today on Size Five Games' website. He wrote that though he believes the game is worth $10, its multiplayer-only aspect is "a tough sell" and the price drop is "a necessary evil."

Speaking with us via email, Marshall explained that he was reluctant to drop the price due to what he feels is a "continual devaluation of indie games."

"Our sense of value is completely out of whack if $10 is ‘too much' now for a whole, fun, hours-long video game," Marshall told us. "People are too used to $0.99 games, and it's making it strangely tough to justify spending the price of a couple of drinks on a game. They'll spend double that on a DVD, or a trip to the cinema, but somehow when it's a digital online transaction they'll wobble. It's a tough balance to get right, and I'm still learning what that balance is.

"Ultimately, it's the people who had bought the game and were enjoying it who were suffering, and that's just not fair. Hence the price drop in the hopes of encouraging some new players to join in."

"They're a ballache to make, they're a ballache to test, and it turns out they're a ballache to sell."

In his original blog post, Marshall wrote that indie developers who work on multiplayer games should be aware that in order to keep servers populated, they have to sell a huge number of games — a number so massive it "might not happen." The developer told us that his trouble with creating a multiplayer-only game has put him off attempting it again in the future.

"They're a ballache to make, they're a ballache to test, and it turns out they're a ballache to sell," Marshall said. "At the moment it's not a gamble I can afford to take, so I'm hopping straight back to single-player for the next game."

Marshall added that though he did consider adding a single-player aspect to Gun Monkeys, he eventually decided against it.

"The joy of it is in 1-on-1 sneaky tactics against a real human being," Marshall said. "Bots just aren't ever going to be as fun or satisfying. And it's not the game I wanted to make, it's not what the game was designed around, and tacking something on just feels a bit cheap and wrong."

Marshall is unsure of how much the price drop will affect the game's sales, if at all, but hopes it will attract fresh blood.

"Hopefully it's more ‘impulse buy' range now, so people will take a look without necessarily having heard about the game before," Marshall said. "I have no expectations whatsoever."

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