Norwegian Krillbite Studio reported an impressive 100,000 copies of their indie horror game Among the Sleep sold earlier this week. “This is an incredibly exciting time for us!” states Ole Andreas Jordet, general manager at Krillbite. “We never expected the release to be this successful when we started out as students almost four years ago. The great feedback we’ve had throughout the production has certainly fuelled us with a ton of motivation and self-esteem, but we never dared to hope for such a great feat. We’re ecstatic!”
Financially, the current success with Among the Sleep means that Krillbite recouped on their development costs and gets the chance to fund new in-house projects. Aside from the money, however, the motivation boost is just as important, according to Jordet. “We’re far from filthy rich, and idealistic as it might seem, this has never been an end goal for us as long as we can continue to create new ways of expressing ourselves and engage players. We can’t wait to share more of our next project as the year moves forward!”
Jordet attributes some of Krillbite’s debut success to lucky timing. “Kickstarter had just exploded, but there wasn’t a ton of game projects to choose from at the time – plus the survival/horror genre was and still is a really hot genre. The originality of the concept also played a big part, I think.”
Development of Among the Sleep, a first-person horror PC game with a two-year-old as the protagonist, started in 2011. The game was funded by the Norwegian Film Institute with 53,000 EUR in 2011 and subsequently another 152,700 EUR in 2012. Additionally, Krillbite ran a very successful Kickstarter campaign that raised an impressive US$248,358 out of a US$200,000 target. Since the release in May 2014, the game has been available on various online game distribution platforms; unsurprisingly, Krillbite states that Steam sales are the primary source of revenue.
With virtual eyewear versions in the works for both the Oculus Rift and Morpheus systems – the latter entailing an upcoming Sony PlayStation 4 version of the game as well – Krillbite has some interesting development challenges ahead. “The PS4/Morpheus version of the game is coming along, but as with most things it turned out to be a lot more work and more complex than we first expected,” Jordet acknowledges.
“Most of the time so far has gone into optimisation and adapting the code to work with the PS4 framework. The PS4 does certain things a bit differently from the ordinary desktop machine. When it comes to the Morpheus, this is an unexplored field in the industry as a whole,” adds Jordet. “We’re facing the same challenges as everyone else with getting optimal refresh rates, minimizing motion sickness and generally turning it into a smooth user experience. The PS4 and Morpheus is a great piece of hardware, and we can’t wait to see where VR will take us in the future, as we are probably barely touching the surface right now.”
So what is next for Krillbite Studio after Among the Sleep? One can only guess, as they are not quite ready to announce new projects yet. “Krillbite as a game developer is pretty special I think, as anyone can pitch an idea they might have. As long as you get the rest of the group on board, we can explore anything,” Jordet says. “Lately, that means exploring ideas that we find interesting thematically.”
Learn more about Krillbite Studio and Among the Sleep at www.krillbite.com.