First, there was Phil Fish cancelling the development of Fez II because he’d had enough of the vocal back-and-forth that came with his propulsion into online fame with being in Indie Game: The Movie and developing a highly anticipated indie game for several years that won the IGF.
Then there were more stories last week regarding developers receiving death threats to their families by so-called fans, simply because they designed a part of game a certain way.
There are other pressures that come with developer celebrity status too, and Markus “Notch” Persson is the central figure in the latest story. You may recall that he made a game called Minecraft that blew up and sold millions of copies and still sells enormously to this day. You’ve definitely heard of it. The problem that Notch faced was following up such a hugely successful and popular game. The pressure is huge.
Regardless, he managed to stomach it all and started work on and announced a hugely ambitious space game called 0x10c. You controlled your own ship, had an onboard computer, fought off aliens and could do it all online with other players.
I write that in past tense because Notch recently shelved the game. Left it behind. But, as US Gamer discovered, 0x10c has since been picked up by Notch’s fans, who are going to develop it themselves now, under the name Project Trillek.
Notch thinks that’s fantastic, because he really wants to play a game like the one he was developing. As to why he shelved it, he writes in a blog post that he’s interested in making games, and not hyping them or trying to sell a lot of copies; he just wants to experiment with game development. The problem was that he had become such a public figure now that everything he said became a headline, and that amounted expectations and pressure to deliver, when being experimental doesn’t allow for such certainties.
So Notch decided to back out of that project. And last week, he participated in the 7DFPS and made Shambles. It ignited his passion for creating smaller games, and it was in creating this short game in a week that realized that this is what he wants to do.
“It was some of the most fun programming I’ve done in many months,” Notch says on his blog. “This is what I want to do. I want to do smaller games that can fail. I want to experiment and develop and think and tinker and tweak.”
So that’s what he’s doing now.
As you may know, that’s the kind of stuff we’re most fond of around these parts, so we’re very glad to hear that he’ll be maintaining an interest in playing around with games, poking their parts and seeing what they can do. There’s still life in the hobbyist game development spirit yet!