Being a (pure evil) business developer: what a year it was!

Hello dear readers, how are you?

Christmas are still a vivid memory and end of good ol’ 2019 is only just behind us hence it seems natural to sum up the events of the last 12 months in Draw Distance and answer a very important question: was 2019 good or bad for us?

The answer is simple: it was good, but it can always be better 😉 . NOTE: a business developer is never 100% satisfied with the situation.

Taking under consideration the paragraph above, it was indeed a good year for us, perhaps the best in our 10+ year history, but with some downs and frustrations, which, I think, is pretty obvious, if you’re a small indie game development studio.

For the sake of this particular blog post I decided to prepare a short list of the most important events that happened at our studio during the last 12 months. It’s entirely subjective and there’s a chance someone disagrees, but nothing too controversial, I hope 😉

So, let’s go with the list (in order of importance, as perceived by me):

    • Launching Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York. Our first ever created fully licensed narrative experience (text-based adventure, Visual Novel-like game, you choose) released on December 11th. Great (and a little stressful) cooperation with Paradox, the IP holder on this – there were always doubts in our minds, are we following the licensing guidelines properly, is this being true to Vampire spirit? And despite some minor issues, such as some bugs and stuff, the launch was really successful. Both the development and marketing costs recouped in less than a week, Paradox is pleased, players and journalists are moderately pleased – all in all it was a good launch, but also extremely important in terms of acquiring new skills by our developers.
    • Releasing Ritual: Crown of Horns on PC and consoles – our first game made with combat in mind! – Ritual: Crown of Horns was a difficult project to run. The development took much longer than expected, but in the end, it was published globally by Feardemic Games, the game’s lead designer lived up to the role of a true leader and a vision holder. The whole team learned a lot, although it must’ve been very painful for all of them.
    • Signing the licensing agreement with Paradox Interactive – I’m really proud of the whole team, including myself over this (to hell with false modesty!) The process of negotiating the agreement, terms, the game’s structure and content was looong, as it started at Nordic 2018, lasted through E3, Gamescom, Game Connection Europe and dozens of Skype calls, creating the vertical slice and finally finished in May 2019. Finally we have become an important part of the #vamily of developers, working on official World of Darkness products and it was both an honor and a dream-come-true for many of us. But boy, it was stressful!
    • Re-shaping the development team – this year our company have seen some changes but we managed to keep up to the pace of events and were able to brought amazing talents on board. And it appears that we were able to both strengthen the team as a whole, acquired very skillful developers, who also fit perfectly in terms of their personalities and character traits. As a result I do believe that we’re now stronger as an organization.
    • Change of name – the feeling of a fresh start. Nobody on the team really liked our old name – iFun4all. It was invented long time ago, around 2008 / 2009 and it pretty much fitted our previous role – a mobile games development studio. But with the change of the philosophy of doing business and as time went by, it appeared more and more obvious, that the name has to be changed. When we finally transformed into Draw Distance, it was an important milestone, even more significant, when put next to the appearing of new employees and the most successful launch in our history – it all comes together so naturally. A perfect mix of events to start 2020 strong!

 

These, in my opinion, were the most memorable moments in 2019 at Draw Distance. It was definitely a breakthrough year and it lets me look with great hope into what’s coming. As always, it was a year full of games, surprises, pleasant and unpleasant, a year of good and bad moments. But it will always be very well remembered by me, due to both professional and private reasons: it’s the year I got married in, with the most wonderful, most beautiful woman, my best friend, an amazing human being, who inspires me, gives me happiness, peace and motivates me every single day. I love you Marta! 😊

And that’s it from me today. We’ll see each other already in 2020 and you can expect more blog posts from your favourite (pure evil) business developer 😉
All the best to you,
Jacek

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