Once your game has been sponsored and you’ve released it to the world, it should hopefully start pouring in the good reviews. When enough popularity is built around your game, you may find yourself asking:
- Should I make a sequel?
- How different does my sequel have to be?
- How long should I wait to release the sequel?
Eric from FlashGameLicense had was able to provide me with some good insight on the topic. Here’s what he had to say:
What are your thoughts on updates to a game?
Updates to a live game should be kept minor. Nobody’s paying you for new features, and it may piss people off unintentionally, so there’s no gain to it. (Bug fixes being the exception.)
How long should you wait to release a sequel?
If you got a version of your game sponsored, it is appropriate to wait 6 months before releasing a sequel. (This is my new Rule of Thumb, after talking with sponsors recently.) The exception is if you have made a special agreement with your original sponsor to make them quicker. We’ve seen several developers’ reputations tarnished by premature sequelism recently. (If your initial game wasn’t sponsored, then you won’t have trouble making an immediate sequel).
How different should a sequel be from the original flash game?
Most sequels need to be visually and dramatically different especially in the first five minutes. New graphics, new gameplay, a new, flashier intro and tutorial. The notion is that this is supposed to be a more attractive product than your first version, not just more content. You have to show this added quality visually, not just in minor gameplay adjustments or new level add-ons.
What are your thoughts on level-packs?
Some really popular games can get away with releasing “level packs” or mini-sequels. This doesn’t work as well as you’d think, though, when it comes time to sponsor them. A sponsor is a lot less excited about getting their name on your third level pack than they are about a true sequel. Probably the only person likely to sponsor that is your initial sponsor, so talk with them before beginning.
What types of sequels usually fail to find a sponsor?
In general, I’m noticing relatively low success rates for sponsorship of sequels that:
- Have weak or no narration (due to their gameplay style; e.g., mouse avoiders or abstract shooters).
- Have easily mimicked gameplay or are subtle variations on a common theme (your first sponsorship may have been a “right place at the right time” deal, and now it’s too late).
- Have similar looking screenshots to the first game (remember, sponsors will Google for your first game before they bid on your sequel!)