Naaaaa! Any plans for the weekend? – a former colleague of mine used to ask me this question every single time we met in the office kitchen. I wish we still worked together, so that I could answer him “Yes, I’m going to play The Curious Expedition for free, and so should you!”.
You heard it right: this Saturday and Sunday, two-man studio Maschinen-Mensch is offering for the first time free access to the alpha version of their roguelike expedition simulation set in the 19th century. No need to create an account or provide any personal details, just visit www.free.curious-expedition.com and you will be able to start playing straight away. I’ve asked Riad Djemili and Johannes Kristmann (pictured above at the Global Game Jam Berlin 2015) a few questions:
What made you decide to give away your game for free, even if just for 48 hours?
Usually we try one new marketing idea with every update sprint. We’ve had the idea for a demo version going on for a long time, but a proper demo would be too much work. However, making the game completely free was something we can do rather easily, so we decided to give it a go. It’s the first time ever we’re really utilizing the fact that our game runs in the browser, so we’re very curious to see how it will work out. Right now we’re in pretty much the same situation as many other indie developers – we have a great product and people like it a lot, but we’re lacking visibility. Once somebody plays The Curious Expedition, they usually like it a lot. We hope that with the potential spread of the link and the non-existing technological and financial entry barrier we’ll be able to show many more people than before how good our game is. And then turn some of them into actual customers.
Why this weekend, just before GDC?
GDwhat? No seriously, that’s a complete coincidence. We forgot about GDC since we’re too poor and busy to attend it this year. Also, we hope to reach a broader range of people with the curious weekend, especially non-developers. So we’re expecting that the GDC will not have a big influence.
Can we expect other curious weekends in the future?
Whether or not we’re going to repeat the curious weekend really depends on how it will work out. A big part of the idea is that we want to find out if we are able to generate a spike in sales by ourselves. We obviously don’t want to overdo this, as too many free trials will just result in alienating our paying customers. So in general we’re interested to see if this kind of event could be a reliable, use from time to time tool for us. And if it proves to be, then we might keep doing it in carefully spread intervals.
So, you know what to do this weekend: open your favourite browser, go to www.free.curious-expedition.com, play The Curious Expedition as much as you like, and if you still want to play more after that, the good news is that you can already buy the game in a variety of special editions.