This past weekend, we took Quarrel to the ProtoPlay event in Edinburgh. We were nervous about how the game would be received – would people like it? Would anyone even turn up to play it? It’s a common anxiety for us Game Developers; more used to interfacing with computers than other people. Well, I think I speak for everyone at Denki when I say that the event proved to be an incredible success in every way – loads of people stopped by to have a play and we came away with a ton of feedback about what we could improve. Fortunately 90% of the suggestions were already on our “to do” list, but the other 10% were the most valuable – things we hadn’t considered, or had considered and ruled out along the way, but which there’s clearly a desire for from players.
In nudging towards 20 years of making computer games, I can honestly say I’ve never demoed a game that’s been so universally well received by the general public. Not Denki Blocks!, not Grand Theft Auto, nothing. Quarrel is something unique in that it really does seem to appeal to absolutely everyone and, more importantly, makes them want to know more about it and, even more importantly, makes them want to tell their friends that they should play it.
From a quick glance at the many, many feedback forms we collected (we filled two folders during the weekend!) I’d say that 85% of the feedback is extremely positive with the rest being neutral rather than negative. Maybe someone got a negative reaction I’m not aware of, but the worst I heard all weekend was “I don’t really like word games” from someone who didn’t want to try it. Everyone who played it reacted positively to it. The youngest I personally demoed it to was 6 years old, and the eldest was in his 60’s. Many people who played it brought their friends or family back for a multiplayer game later in the weekend.
The “hardcore” crew loved it – Sean had a guy who *only* plays Halo and Call of Duty say this was something he’d buy, and the “casual” players (sorry Dave!) loved it too – my personal favourite was late on the Sunday afternoon, watching Mum and Dad sitting on chairs with their three kids clinging to their knees all smiling broadly and looking for all the world like a staged photograph for the box cover of some family board game! We even had Scotland’s Culture Minister Michael Russell MSP drop by for a quick game (he won his Quarrel – obviously!).
Over the next few days, we’ll be collating all that feedback and figuring out how best to use it. Clearly, we can’t possibly get round to everything (otherwise we’d never release it), but we will address as much as we can in the final push over the next couple of months to get it all finished and gleaming with pure Denkiness.
My favourite feedback quote? “Q: How could Quarrel be improved? A: RELEASE IT RIGHT NOW!!!”