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Niche's release and future
Started by Philo
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Niche's release and future
I'm really happy to see that many of us love Niche :)
The first prototype was created in early 2014 and I never would have believed that people would care. This game means so much to me. Niche allowed me and my team to become fulltime game developers and found our own studio. This is a dream come true ^_^
You were with us all this time and helped us achieve our goals over and over. That's why I want to give you a detailed insight about Niche's future.

Ok, here goes:
We are preparing the full release of Niche, currently planned for September 2017.
What will be added until then?
- A proper tutorial
- A new gene unlocking system (no more epigenetics for now ;))
- A longterm goal through a story (+ intro animation)
- More islands
- Translation to multiple languages
- Procedural patterns (soo many combinations for breeders)
- Steam achievements
- Maybe trading cards
- UI rework
- Maybe a few more genes or small features but not sure
- Bug fixes, polishing

This is a HUGE todo list, so please forgive us if we are a bit late with regular updates >_<

Some (mostly small) features promised in the Kickstarter won't make it into the release version. We are not exactly sure which ones yet, but I want to appologize already.

Why did this happen?
Some of the blame goes to really slow communication, but for the most part I failed to manage features correctly. This is our first "big" game and it was really overwhelming to add features the team wanted to add, the community wanted and things we promised in the Kickstarter. We usually just priorized whichever features we thought would have the best impact on the game at that time. I want to personally appologize for this and will soon publish a list of all missing Kickstarter features. However! All features we promised will be added in updates over the course of the next months :)

Why release now and not stay in Early Access longer?
Niche's development was first started by me. A team started to grow around the game and we called ourselves "Team Niche". We agreed to work together on this game and then go our separate ways again. The lead programmer of "Team Niche" (Micha Stettler) and me however found that we greatly enjoyed working together and decided to start a game studio together. This was the birth of Stray Fawn Studio. Stray Fawn Studio hired the rest of "Team Niche" in order to finish the game.

Our super loyal team members promised to stay until release. After delaying the release twice! already I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with this situation. It's time that we release the game and enter a new phase where everyone can stay or go without breaking their promise.

My Stray Fawn Studio business parter and Niche's lead developer Micha has been working on his own game (Nimbatus - The Space Drone Constructor) in the past three years. Micha quit his day job to finish his game Nimbatus. When we founded the studio together we agreed that we would release both game in 2017 (Niche full release and Nimbatus Early Access). Because we delayed Niche's release, Nimbatus may not be released in Early Access this year. However we at least want to finish the Kickstarter for Nimbatus this year which is planned for October. Micha did so so so much for Niche, handling most of the programing work. Now it's my turn to help him run the Nimbatus Kickstarter! Please note that after Niche is released, our studio will have a strong focus on Nimbatus during October/November to run the Kickstarter and prepare the Early Access launch. However one day per week is reserved for Niche Kickstarter fulfillments.

Niche has sold about 36'000 copies so far. If you take away Steam's share and insurances etc this gives our studio about $360'000 so far. This is really amazing! Since we worked mostly for free or for a veery low payment this gives us quite a bit of profit :)
But, if you calculate how much money Niche really costs to make (note that we live in Switzerland), it has not covered it's development costs yet. The step to becoming a real company with employees, studio rent, software cost etc means you can't calculate with free time or veery low payment anymore. We want to hire great people to make great games and pay them properly! So, how much did Niche actually cost to make calculating with all these costs? About $500'000. Crazy right? I'm not used to such high numbers yet at all @_@
For the future of our studio I have to make sure our games operate at break even at least. If we can't make back the money we invest, our studio will have to close down. This brings me to the final question:

What happens after Niche's release:
Niche now has to prove it can make back its costs. If we manage to sell at least 14'000 copies until November 2017 (in total 50'000 copies) this counts as a success and means we can keep investing money in updates. If the pack works together and spreads the word this is very much achieveable I think :D!
I'll post infos about how to support the release soon. Please note: All Kickstarter features will be added anyways, no conditions attached to that. Also, nothing can keep me to mess around with Niche in my free time ;)

Again, thank you for all your support!
This has become a reeeal wall of text. Let me know if you have any questions :)
\ ^_^ /

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