Steambirds: Survival (SB:S) is now available on iTunes! iPhone/iPod version here. iPad version here. We hit a slight snag with the Android version but you can expect to see it launch very soon as well. :-)
For those of you who haven’t heard, this version of Steambirds is the result of a collaboration between Spry Fox and Halfbrick (aka the guys who made Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride.) We worked together to evolve SB:S, which we originally co-created with Andy, from its humble beginnings into a robust game with 120 missions — 64 available for free at launch — and some cool new features, like a recruiting system that lets you hire additional planes to help you beat more difficult missions.
I thought some of you might be wondering why we partnered with Halfbrick as opposed to any other company, like Chillingo for example. There are quite a few reasons, but foremost among them were:
- I’ve been friends with the guys at Halfbrick since I greenlit their first XBLA title many years ago, and I trusted them to be good partners.
- Halfbrick has massive reach thanks to Fruit Ninja (and now Jetpack Joyride as well.) They can cross promote a game to millions of people.
- Halfbrick’s QA team is as battle-hardened as they come. We had trouble with unexpected OS-compatibility issues with the previous mobile version of Steambirds, and I wanted to avoid a recurrence of that if at all possible.
- Halfbrick’s games are polished to a brilliant shine. We wanted their help doing the same to Steambirds.
- We weren’t looking for a publisher. We’re perfectly capable of publishing and promoting our own games. We were looking for a partner. And I definitely think that we looked in the right place.
Our arrangement is atypical. Spry Fox is technically the publisher of the game, though if there was a way to have registered ourselves as “co-publishers”, I would gladly have done it (hopefully iTunes and Android Market will accommodate arrangements like this in the future.) We co-designed the game. We share the game’s cross promotional space and revenues. We are truly partners in this effort.
When we first started working with Halfbrick on SB:S at the beginning of this year, we knew we might have some competitors lurking in the shadows. Steambirds had already inspired a number of similar games on the Web, and it was only a matter of time before a strong alternative appeared on mobile devices. As many of you know, that indeed ended up happening just a few weeks ago.
There’s been some public discussion about whether “Crimson: Steam Pirates” is a clone of Steambirds or not. I think it’s pretty clear at first glance that Crimson was heavily inspired by Steambirds. Nobody appears to be disputing that. But its also fair to say that Crimson isn’t a total ripoff. It has some interesting new ideas in it and a different narrative style. I think Steambirds is a better game of course, but then, I’m biased. :-)
I’ve tried to keep my mind on what matters: our fans and potential fans. People just want the best possible game, and we’ve tried our best to give it to them. Steambirds: Survival offers hundreds of hours of tight, well-balanced gameplay to anyone who will give it a chance. It isn’t perfect, but it is a damned good game and it is going to get better with every (frequent) update. And it’s totally free, as opposed to “try/buy.” I can’t wait to see how people react to it.
The more successful we become, the more competitors we are going to attract. All we can do is keep making original games and keep trying to be smart about marketing and distributing them. Hopefully over time we’ll build a loyal fanbase that recognizes and reflects who we are and what we do. That’s ultimately what is going to make Spry Fox successful. Danc and I want to make people happy, and we want our fans to feel like they have a real connection to our company. That’s what matters most; everything else is noise.
And speaking of: if you’re a fan of Steambirds, of Spry Fox or this blog, I’d be very grateful if you’d help us out by telling all your friends to download Steambirds: Survival! Tweet it, Facebook it, Google+ it, email it. We can use all the help we can get. :-)
And as always, if you’ve read this far, thank you! (I’m always flattered that anybody does.)