[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]he controversy and bad press surrounding the release of the PC zombie game The War Z, now known as Infestation: Survivor Stories, did nothing hinder the game’s sales, as the title has reportedly sold nearly 3 million copies to date.
In a blog post on Gamasutra, the game’s executive producer Sergey Titov reveals that the game has sold 2.8 million copies so far, which he describes as “no small achievement” due to the game’s “shoestring” budget and small team of indie developers. It’s reported that 700,000 of the total 2.8 million sales came before the game launched on Steam.
While the game has proved to be successful, that success was never guaranteed, Titov explains. A slew of mistakes and flubs were made during the game’s development. Titov recalls one such mistake was deciding to call the game The War Z, which he concedes was a “terrible choice,” as it was too close to another zombie game DayZ, as well as the Brad Pitt flick World War Z:
[dropcap size=small]“[/dropcap]We made a big mistake in not listening to the vocal minority of our community who thought the name was terrible. Handling our community communications differently would have alerted us to the major mistake we were making in choosing a name that was so close to our main competitor’s game.”
Titov then points a scornful finger at development team at OP Productions, saying they were “very arrogant” in their public discourse. He relents that the studio should have done more to explain to fans why The War Z was not a mere DayZ clone, including listing all the differences in terms of design and more between the two games. Despite this, Titov says the studio’s intentions were good.
The blows kept on coming upon the game’s launch in December 2012. Users reported an abundance of issues with The War Z. Many players criticized the game and the developer for being misleading and for censoring their comments about issues with the game on public forums. Steam responded to the numerous complaints by removing the title from its library, only to add it back a few months later.
Titov explained that the games removal was highly damaging, and was a result of the studio failing to check and edit the description of the game before launching it. He reveals that one reason for the developer’s haste was because he wanted to beat DayZ to market.
Titov’s candid chronicling of the game’s botched release closes with a hope that other can learn from The War Z’s mistakes:
[dropcap size=small]“[/dropcap]In the end, The War Z launch was just as messy as we all probably remember it, but it wasn’t the flop that many thought it was and it lives on in Infestation: Survivor Stories with more to come. I sincerely hope that other independent developers can learn from our experience.”
You can read Titov’s full blog post here.