6 months ago
And thus closes a chapter…
Today, on April 3rd, 2014, we’re turning the last page of Monaco by releasing a free update containing the 4th and final campaign of the game. This campaign is brutally difficult (all eight levels are as hard as Identity) and it concludes the story of the Gentleman and his nefarious crew. It’s called Monaco: Fin.
Wait… did you say FINAL CAMPAIGN?!? Oui.
I designed Monaco on paper in 2003 when I was still an employee of a much bigger (now defunct) game developer. Development started in October of 2009. Andy Nguyen joined the team in May 2011. The game launched in April 2013. One year later, nearly a million copies of the game sold, and it’s time to move on.
It’s time to bring something new into the world. It’s time to start over. It’s time for us to earn your attention again.
The Story So Far
It’s hard to distill the experience of the past few years down to a blog post. EVERYTHING has changed. My design philosophy, our lives, Pocketwatch, indie games as a movement, the internet as a whole. So please forgive me if I ramble a bit.
For both Andy Nguyen and I, Monaco has been the culmination of lifelong dreams. Nguyen loves games more than anything else in the world. Seriously. He is the type of guy who escaped to games when he was a kid, but was always told that games were a dead-end hobby. When he originally contacted me about helping out (in any capacity) on Monaco, he had no production skills and no development experience. He had passion.
And with that passion, he immediately dove into QA: web-camming himself playing the game for hours on end, keeping a spreadsheet of the bugs he discovered and his thoughts and suggestions on game design. It wasn’t long before he was designing levels. And organizing our PAX presence. And managing our community. And contributing to the core design. And rethinking our development practices. And networking within the community. Monaco wouldn’t have online multiplayer without Nguyen. It wouldn’t have 4 stellar campaigns. It would have been a small game… a curious little thing rather than a big, deep world of design and fiction to get lost in.
Nguyen designed all of the levels currently in the game, and he’s the one that’s been keeping Monaco’s development alive for the past year.
For me (Andy Schatz), the journey, and the rewards, have been equally staggering.
Memories of Monaco’s surprise win in the 2010 IGF will live with me always. I was married just a few months after that. I’ll never forget the circuitous route that Monaco took to finally make it on XBLA, and the disastrous two week delay when launch day finally came around. Two weeks after launch, stress caused my immune system to shut down and I got shingles. SHINGLES. That’s a disease that only eighty-year-olds get. That’s a disease that you get when your immune system mic-drops and exits stage left.
I’ve spent nearly a decade running Pocketwatch… trying to — and occasionally succeeding at — making interesting, fun games. Trying to turn a passion for subject matters, be they ecosystems or heist movies, into simple games driven by complex systems. I’ve spent years trying to understand this crazy business of independent game development as it twists and turns and reinvents itself constantly. It has always been worth it. And FINALLY, I’m done chasing the brass ring.
The money I’ve made from Monaco is kinda gross, when taken in one big chunk. But it’s really only about what I would have made had I been working for a salary all that time. I’ve been living pretty frugally…and I’m glad. It took a decade for the dedication to pay off.
So… back to Monaco
Since launch we’ve added (for FREE)
- Steam Workshop support
- Level Editor
- Mac Support
- Linux support
- Rocket Launcher
- Major changes to the Hacker class
- New class: The Blonde
- Zombie mode (why not?)
- Enhanced edition, based on your feedback
- New Campaign: Monaco: Origins
- Bonus PVP missions, cuz they were super fun
- And now the final curtain call, Monaco: Fin.
Our development on Monaco is coming to an end now, but who knows if we will revisit it sometime in the future. Maybe a decade from now we’ll reinvent the little known cult-classic that was once called “one of the best co-op games of all time”.
We do hope you enjoy this last glimpse into the criminal capers of the Smith, the Lookout, the Pickpocket, the Cleaner, the Mole, the Gent, the Redhead, and the Hacker. We’ll miss them as much as you.
And we hope you’ll stick around so that we can entertain you with new adventures, challenges, and memories in the next chapter of Pocketwatch Games.
Au revoir, mes amis. We hope you are still here when morning comes.