Streaming as the Cure for Post-Creation Depression

sunset-overdrive-e3-propain-launcherSunset Overdrive is out in the wilds! And I feel…surprisingly good! I have talked before how I easily fall victim to post-creation depression. It’s always happened to me – in art, in the theater, in games – there’s this moment when the creation goes out into the world and leaves a big ole void in your heart. Generally I get very depressed, but this time feels different.

I think it’s the streaming.

We’ve been watching you all play, sneaking into your streams and lurking in your chats and giggling at how you dress your character. Cam noted tonight that this release was special, because it was the first time he’d ever released a game where he was seeing people play it the very day it launched (and earlier, in fact). Erich talked about watching a streamer do some of his quests, and being unsure if he should ask in the chat if the player liked them (but then smiling when said streamer reacted in exactly the way Erich had hoped).

When I think back about Resistance 3’s launch, I remember the feeling of something being ejected out into the darkness and the strange reaction I had to it. I was walking around in a daze, not sure how to feel. There were reviews, sure, and eventually a million people played that game. Played my game. But I couldn’t see them, I only had a disconnected number to reassure me that people were in fact engaging the experience I had helped craft. When fans sought me out to tell me how much they loved the boat and train level, it was like a beacon of light in the darkness, but for the rest of it I just had to assume people were out there being affected by my work. It was a strange feeling and I fell pretty deeply into the post creation depression those few days just after launch.

But now, it’s all different. Everything has changed. I can IMMEDIATELY see the effect of the team’s work just by dropping in on some random player. And it is wonderful to see people enjoying themselves so! Erich talked about how at the end of a project you are just so deeply buried into the game and so tired and you just want the thing done and out, and then he’d go watch a stream and be like “Oh yeah, that’s why we made this game!”  Watching people forget about the struggles of the world and just have a good time, even for a little bit, is incredibly invigorating.

My indie friends might be smirking at me at this point, because of course they know all this already – the value that comes with the broken down barriers between developers and their players – and the joy that comes in more directly observing people enjoy your work. But forgive our slowness, indie friends, for we are big and plodding and not so nimble, and this is a new insight for us and a new feeling.

Everything is different and it is wonderful.