You'd think the developer of a game with millions of players and positive reviews wouldn't have a hard time convincing a publisher to front up the cash for a sequel. But for the makers of Velocity 2X, they haven't just had a hard time of it - they've hit a brick wall.
Why? Because while Velocity 2X enjoyed millions of downloads as part of a PlayStation Plus free game promotion, the game sold poorly - and it's sales publishers are most interested in when it comes to the serious business of funding.
In an eye-opening Twitter thread, developer FutureLab said publishers have expressed an interest in funding the sequel to Velocity 2X, but none have signed on the bottom line because in sales terms, Velocity 2X flopped.
And so, the pressure is on the upcoming Nintendo Switch version of the game to sell well, because only then will a publisher consider funding the sequel that, FutureLab said, has been in development in secret for years.
3. #Velocity2X on Steam was published by Sierra/Activision on the same weekend as Windows 10 arrived, creating a game-breaking bug for NVidia cards that took us a year to fix. It therefore flopped on Steam.— FuturLab (@FuturLab) August 20, 2018
5. We could have published #Velocity2X on Switch ourselves, but we chose to give it to Curve as a carrot because we want them to publish Velocity Supernova (title confirmed). We like Curve :-)— FuturLab (@FuturLab) August 20, 2018
7. Pretty much any publisher you can think of has seen it. Sequel to a 90 Metacritic? Wow. Does it look great? Yep. Does it play great? Yep. Does it do new things? Hell yes. Ok, we’re interested. How many players of the previous game? Over a million. Great! How did it sell? Oh...— FuturLab (@FuturLab) August 20, 2018
Why did Velocity 2X sell poorly? FutureLab said it flopped on PC because of a game-breaking bug that took a year to fix.
It described the physical editions of the PlayStation 4 and Vita versions, which were published by Badland, as "a very public disaster" and "we will likely never see another dime from it".
And so we come to the Nintendo Switch version, which FutureLab said it gave to publisher Curve Digital "as a carrot because we want them to publish Velocity Supernova (title confirmed)".
The suggestion is if Velocity 2X sells well on Switch, Curve may publish the sequel. If it doesn't, well, we may not see the sequel come out.
I think there's a reason Velocity 2X likely didn't sell well on PlayStation. Velocity 2X launched back in September 2014 on PS4 and Vita as a PlayStation Plus title, so I suspect most of the people interested in Velocity 2X will have downloaded it for free then and there.
FutureLab's situation is interesting because Velocity 2X is a game people will have considered a success and a lot of people will have played, and I'd always suspected a third game in the series likely. But it goes to show that PlayStation Plus, which is obviously a cool promotion for users, doesn't always benefit the developers in the long-run.