“Cataclismo” Developers Discuss the Triumphs and Challenges of Their Debut in Self-Publishing

February 12, 2024

Game Rant Interviews Cataclismo Developers on Choosing Self-Publishing over Previous Titles Moonlighter and The Mageseeker

When inquired about whether Cataclismo, a real-time strategy game, was a suitable choice for their initial foray into self-publishing, Digital Sun CEO Javier “Javi” Gimenez remarked, “Ask me in nine months or a year.” Cataclismo marks Digital Sun’s inaugural self-published project, following the development of Moonlighter with 11 bit studios and The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story with Riot Games.

Discussing the self-publishing journey, the Digital Sun team collectively acknowledged experiencing both highs and lows. However, they affirmed that the endeavor was worthwhile, citing the enhanced connection with the player base as a significant benefit.

In a discussion with Game Rant, Gimenez and Creative Director Vicent Ramirez detailed that the decision to self-publish Cataclismo was somewhat impromptu, arising from an amicable parting with their previous publisher, Humble Games. Gimenez characterized the hurried nature of this transition as the most challenging aspect of self-publishing, given they had only about six months to finalize preparations for the game’s launch. The team strongly advised other studios or developers contemplating self-publishing to allocate ample time for the process, emphasizing that patience and time are crucial factors.

Despite the inherent stress, Gimenez expressed a highly positive sentiment towards the self-publishing experience. He particularly emphasized the opportunity it provided for the team to maintain a “continuous conversation” with the player base, a dynamic that was lacking during the development processes of Moonlighter and The Mageseeker. When prompted to elaborate on the experience of direct communication with Cataclismo’s player base, Gimenez said,

“We’re a studio that’s absolutely obsessed with quality and trying to really make sure what we do is worth the time of the players. Being able to talk to them, see what they are thinking about it, is really great. We’re very happy we were able to do that. That way, we can polish the game even further and continue talking to players. Self-publishing is a challenge, but we are also very happy to have the opportunity to handle everything here.”

Gimenez offered advice to those considering self-publishing, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging when assistance, especially in marketing, might be necessary. “I think you need to take that seriously,” Gimenez stated, “and it’s probably worth realizing that you might need some help when it comes to communication and marketing. Just being good is not always enough.”

Illustrating this point, Gimenez shared that, as Cataclismo is exclusively available on PC, they sought external support for marketing to enhance visibility on Steam. He revealed, “Steam cares a lot about how many people have a game on their wish list,” and external assistance played a crucial role in garnering the required attention for Cataclismo on Steam. Despite this, Digital Sun encourages Game Rant readers to wishlist the game as well.

When asked about the prospect of continuing to self-publish in the future, Gimenez expressed uncertainty. Digital Sun currently has two ongoing projects, both already associated with publishers. One project marks the second collaboration between Digital Sun and 11 bit, following Moonlighter. Gimenez clarified that the decision to self-publish will likely be evaluated on a game-by-game basis, as the suitability for self-publishing varies.

Despite the uncertainty, Gimenez and Ramirez take pride in the choice to self-publish Cataclismo. They believe the dark and experimental real-time strategy game was a fitting selection for the team’s inaugural self-publishing venture. While time will be the ultimate judge, they eagerly anticipate maintaining an ongoing dialogue with players and receiving feedback after the game’s release later in 2024.

Cataclismo is currently slated for a Q2 2024 release on PC via Steam.

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