BattleBit Remastered has been a massive success, especially for a game made by three indie developers. However, its story should serve as more of a warning to other indie studios wishing to make a multiplayer title than a call to action.
As SgtOkiDoki, the lead programmer BattleBit Remastered, told Chris Zukowski in an interview with the How To Market A Game blog, the game has sold 1.8 million units in the two weeks since launch. On top of that, it managed to generate over 800k wishlists prior to that.
BattleBit Remastered has broken into Steam’s top sellers chart, and its concurrent player count has been constantly increasing since launch. It has peaked at over 87k CCU and continues to attract tens of thousands of users daily.
But this is not just accidental virality or your typical success story, as SgtOkiDoki, Larry (3D Artist), and Vilaskis (level designer) have spent years working hard to bring their dream project to life.
- The devs had experience making mods for other games, so the first dozens of players to test the early version of BattleBit in Steam Greenlight over six and a half years ago were those already familiar with the team’s work in the modding community.
- At the time, the devs limited playtests to only weekends and started giving content creators access to the closed alphas, driving positive word of mouth.
- A built-in analytics system helped the team track player actions and constantly improve the game.
- Between 2018 and 2019, they decided to change BattleBit’s concept and make gameplay more casual because there was a conflict between the developers’ desire to design a hardcore simulation shooter and the project’s low-poly graphics and marketing appeal. “Our game played like Squad but looked like Roblox. That was a terrible move,” SgtOkiDoki told Zukowski.
- This move helped the devs attract more players and finally reach more than 100 concurrent players on the server — after four years of constantly improving the game and trying to find the right formula.
- In 2022, BattleBit saw a huge spike in the number of followers on Steam, thanks to attention from streamers and word of mouth. “There is no one thing. It is just 100s of people recommending it to 100s of other people,” Zukowski explained.
- The developers’ efforts paid off in 2023 when Valve offered them a popup feature even before launch and the game ended up being a chart-topping hit.
According to Zukowski, there are several factors behind the success of BattleBit Remastered:
- It is a well-designed multiplayer experience (“If your game is just slightly unfun, people will leave faster than you can get new players to join”);
- Vast modding experience helped the team build up an audience and find first adopters for the early version of BattleBit;
- BattleBit fits into an underserved niche of low-poly shooters like Unturned (over 500k reviews on Steam) and Ravenfield;
- Players are tired of seeing their favorite games fall victim to the bad influence of major publishers, so they want a “classic Battlefield experience without all the crap that AAA studios have been adding to them”;
- The BattleBit team spent years building the community, improving different elements of the game, and networking with content creators, and it is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Despite the happy ending, the case of BattleBit Remastered is more of a story of three passionate people who spent over six years slowly developing the game and constantly improving its design formula than a call to other indie developers to make massive multiplayer titles.
“If you are planning to make a multiplayer game, dont! I am not going to lie, don’t. Make a single player game (if this is your first game),” SgtOkiDoki said, adding that you should be prepeared to be “slammed by a hammer.”