Introversion Software, the independent developer responsible for the hugely successful Prison Architect game, released a new title back in April more akin to Gone Home or Firewatch. The game is titled Scanner Sombre, and it has apparently done poorly enough in sales to warrant the developer to release its own comment.
In a video published on Introversion’s YouTube channel, Producer Mark Morris and Designer Chris Delay discuss how it’s possible that they went from creating a game like Prison Architect, which surpassed 2 million copies sold back before it ever even came to mobile devices, to creating Scanner Sombre, which has sold only 6,000 copies in the two months it has been available on Steam. According to the duo, the game “bombed in a big way.”
Currently, Scanner Sombre has Very Positive reviews both recent and overall on Steam. In the video, Delay says that despite the apparent quality of the game, Prison Architect‘s success made the team feel it had surpassed a minimum number of sales to expect from future games.
“It’s not that I arrogantly believe we’re the best people in the world or anything. It’s that our last game sold over 2 million. So I kind of wrongly assumed that would just give us a minimum number of people looking at our game.”
In the video, Mark Morris adds that the decision to not make another Prison Architect was a very conscious one, even if it was the most obvious way to make a buck.
“People will mock us and say, ‘You’ve got Prison Architect. You should have done Airport Architect, you should have done Parkitecht.
“If we were hard-nosed businessmen we wouldn’t be working in the games industry.
“That’s the other reason it’s a fallacy to think we should make a follow up game to [Prison Architect]. If that’s what drives you – to make yourself as rich as possible – you can get a job in the city.”
Instead, the team elected to create a game that wouldn’t give them a sense of “burnout,” and apparently as a result of Prison Architect‘s success, the company is able to make these sort of decisions comfortably. According to Delay, it has actually given them the opportunity to take risks like Scanner Sombre “and not be too terrified.”
You can view Introversion Software’s video in its entirety below.