Physics-based games are catnip to influencers.
Chaotic, funny, unpredictable… They’re exactly the sort-of game that’s ideal for entertaining viewers on YouTube. And, of course, that’s something that can translate well to sales, as we have seen with Human: Fall Flat, which now boasts more than 45 million players globally.
Wobbly Life fits this mould. Developed by UK indie Rubber Band Games, the game has been dubbed ‘GTA meets Human: Fall Flat’ and has sold over one million copies across PC and consoles already.
“My main objective was to keep myself occupied with things I loved”Tom Dunn, Rubber Band Games
And it was a game conceived by a single developer looking to occupy themselves during a particularly tough period in their life.
“I have been making video games since I was 13 and [created] a few terrible Google Play apps that never saw the light of day,” Rubber Band Games director Tom Dunn tells GamesIndustry.biz. “Before starting my studio, I studied Computer Science for Games at university and did a year-long placement as an intern programmer.
“After finishing the internship, my mental health was low, so I decided to learn how to network a video game and, more specifically, how to network physics in a video game. This was the start of Wobbly Life.
“My main objective was to keep myself occupied with things I loved, so I spent several months on this physics simulation.”
Dunn formed Rubber Band Games and soon realised that if he wanted Wobbly Life to be a success, he needed some development help.
“This is when I first started talking to our level designer/3D modeler Mark Suter, and many months later, I invited my friend from university, Will Robinson, to join the development. After struggling for half a year to get an audio designer, Alex Green joined and that’s the team of four we have today.”
The four put out the game themselves via Early Access, and it quickly found an audience, all without any marketing or publishing support.
“Our focus was to make a game we wanted to play,” Dunn continues. “We didn’t worry about marketing it. Throughout development, we gathered a small community by creating a Discord page where players could follow and ask questions, which we still maintain today. Once the game was released, we started getting some YouTube influencers playing the game, which over time, has massively helped build our community.
“We’ve always wanted to ensure that the game is worth its price and therefore constantly adding new content.”
Three years in, and Wobbly Life is still in Early Access and continues to get frequent updates and expansions. The game has had 1.7 billion views on YouTube and has attracted the attention of various publishers who have been eager to take the game further.
One such publisher was Curve, the very same company that handled the publishing duties of the first Human: Fall Flat, including its release into different markets. Curve lost out on the publishing rights to Human: Fall Flat 2 to Devolver Digital, which may have paved the way for its relationship with Wobbly Life.
Curve wouldn’t be drawn on that, with chairman Stuart Dinsey only going as far as to say that the company will be bringing its “global publishing skills, which we’ve learned from selling over 45 million units so far of Human: Fall Flat.”
But that company’s experience with Human: Fall Flat, which includes launching the game on more platforms and into new territories, including Japan and China, is something that clearly appealed to the Rubber Band team. Dunn stated that he believes this partnership will allow them to take Wobbly Life to more players globally.
“As a small team, we wanted to focus on the development of the game and therefore found it quite difficult to also be the publisher,” Dunn concludes.
“Once Curve approached us and we saw the impact they had with other titles, we knew they would be a good fit for us.”
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