Nintendo Switch may be the most indie-friendly game console the company has ever released. Every week more and more indie games are released in the Nintendo eShop, both new games and re-releases of games that came out before the Switch was launched.
The Flame in the Flood by Boston-based indie developer The Molasses Flood is in the latter category. After successfully raising a quarter million dollars on Kickstarter in late 2014, The Flame in the Flood was released for PCs on Steam in early 2016. The Molasses Flood released the game on Switch in the eShop in October.
The Molasses Flood provided me with access to play the Nintendo Switch release. (I was also a backer of the Kickstarter, and received the game on Steam when it released in 2016). From my experience, the game feels great on Nintendo’s hybrid console. The mysterious, flooded, post-apocalyptic world looks just as good on the Switch as it does on PC. I admit that I am not great at survival games, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the dangerous and challenging world of The Flame In The Flood on the Switch.
To get some more context on the game’s Switch release, I spoke with Forrest Dowling, co-founder of The Molasses Flood and lead designer of The Flame In The Flood, after the game’s October release.
What motivated you to work on a release for the Switch so long after the initial release?
Dowling: I think one of the biggest motivators was that the Switch wasn’t around until well after our release, and when it arrived it seemed like it would be a great fit for the game. I think based on the feedback and reviews that we’ve seen that people generally agree, and the sort of stop-and-go nature of The Flame in the Flood is well-suited to the portability of the Switch. It didn’t hurt that we saw some other indies were doing really well.
When did you decide to do the Switch release? Was it part of the plan from the start?
Dowling: Considering that the Switch wasn’t even announced until well after we released, it was definitely not a long-running plan of ours. We had spoken with Nintendo a bit before it was announced, but ultimately what pushed us over the edge was seeing how well the launch went, and how much people really seemed to love the Switch as a platform. Historically, Nintendo platforms haven’t always been the best for 3rd party and indies, but the Switch seems to be breaking that mold.
How has reception been on the Switch? As good as expected? Better? Worse?
Dowling: We’re really amazed at how well it’s been received. We’ve been in the top 5 best sellers in North America for a week now, which is just bonkers to me. We did OK on other platforms, but this has been our strongest launch across the board. It’s killed our expectations.
How difficult was it to port to the Switch?
Dowling: Since the port was handled by Warp Digital, and we did basically no work on it, I can say for me it was super easy. As an observer, it did seem to go very fast, and the compromises to get it running with solid performance on the Switch was minimal. I think it’s a testament to both the porting team who handled it and Epic’s support for the Switch with the Unreal Engine.
What are your biggest expectations and concerns for releasing on Switch?
Dowling: The Switch is a new enough platform that I didn’t really have any expectations. My concerns were of course that we’d drop into obscurity and not make a cent, but it hasn’t gone that way at all. I think longer term I’m interested to see how it continues to sell, as the long tail as we call it is pretty unproven and unknown on that platform.
Are you concerned about discoverability in the Nintendo eShop?
Dowling: As an indie, I’d be a fool if I wasn’t. I think we’ve had a great confluence of luck and marketing combined with a game that’s pretty unique and memorable which has helped us cut through the noise a bit. It’s tough though, even on the Switch which is the newest platform on the market there’s still a half dozen or more new releases ever week. It’s certainly something I think about a lot, not only for The Flame in the Flood, but for future stuff we’re working on as I think it’s only going to get harder and harder to be noticed.
The Flame in the Flood can be purchased on Nintendo Switch for $14.99 (download only).