Dozens of games were shown during Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase Earlier This Month, but only one had a crab that went in search of treasure, sword in claw and took over the undersea world. The Switch game in question, Another treasure of a crab, sounded perfectly niche, but the developers at Aggro Crab tossed it as “sold out.” They were only making half a joke.
“Aggro Crab was previously released going under and it didn’t make us rich, so this time we’re selling it out and giving people what they want: to scratch,” said one of the designers, Caelan Pollock, at the Nintendo Showcase. The studio described Another treasure of a crab as a 3D ghost in which players level up by fighting other crabs and stealing their waste to use as armor.
The punch line was the team’s ironic stance before their latest reveal, and yet it contained a bit of truth as well. “‘Sell out’ is said jokingly in our announcement video, but we really hope this game can go more mainstream and bring in new fans,” Pollock said. Kotaku in an instant message.
Souls likes can be big sellers, and crabs are a perfect vehicle for that Steam bait formula, it is believed. “When I say ‘mainstream’ I usually just mean it’s hot right now!” said Pollock. †Elden Ring successfully brought a LOT of new attention to the genre, both in the form of new players and many people who would love to play but are held back by the difficulty or the oppressive atmosphere.
going under was a 2020 roguelike about interning at a Soylent themed startup and fighting your way through absurd and mind-numbing excesses of capitalism† It was fun, it was smart, but it didn’t become a huge breakthrough like some classy indie roguelikes have. It found a publisher in Team17 and also swung a Game Pass deal. However, eventually the money ran out, and future DLC had to be cancelled†
“I want to acknowledge that even having a game funded and released, not to mention that game good enough to propel us to a second project, good are among the happiest 5% of indie developers,” Pollock told Kotaku† At the same time, Aggro Crab, having successfully “made it” as an indie game developer, now has a team of over 10 people and the goal posts have been moved.
“We had to get to the next big thing if we wanted to keep the lights on,” he said. “And we really hope it’s next” big thing. Another treasure of a crab is a huge step forward in ambition of going underand we want to prove that Aggro Crab is able to grow beyond our niche and create a game with real reach.”
Amid ongoing debates on whether gaming with a subscription like Xbox Game Pass is sustainable in the long term, the plethora of great games that flood storefronts like Steam and the Switch eShop every month has also raised the stakes on discoverability and success. “There are so many good quality games on the market today that it’s hard to collect ‘hype’ for all games,” GameDiscoverCo-author Simon Carless wrote down GamesIndustry.biz yesterday† “That’s an independent, separate issue for Game Pass.”
Pollock hopes Another treasure of a crab will “sell out” true going under couldn’t, in part, by capitalizing on the genre’s popularity with innovative difficulty settings. Aggro Crab hunts for that elusive middle ground between making a game accessible to everyone and preserving high-level Souls-esque play for those so interested. But the team isn’t ready to share more on that just yet, he said. The game is currently out on Switch in 2023, and with private investment through Kowloon Nights, the game-funding outfit, the studio has the funding it needs until then.
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