C4 update: Euro distribution of Creatures Online

shii_yeahOver the last few weeks, Fishing Cactus has received a few visits of the nice people from ProSiebenSat.1 Games. The reason behind all that brouhaha was Creatures 4.

ProSiebenSat.1 happens to be a proper media and entertainment mogul over here in Europe. “ProSiebenSat.1 Games GmbH is the games company of ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG. As a leading publisher, the company focuses on the licensing and distribution of online and mobile games, and acts as a strong digital distribution partner for the gaming products of premium partners all over Europe.” is what the press release lingo precisely says. Not only do they distribute in Europe several hit online games, including the great blockbuster games DC Universe™ Online, PlanetSide® 2, and the sequel of the EverQuest® franchise. They also run successful television stations (their original activity) in Germany and Nordic Countries, and have ties with massive French and Italian channels too (TF1 and RAI).

This is just the ideal partner for us, as small indie developer, and Bigben Interactive, as publisher. By partnering with this ideal fit, our respective companies will be able to each focus on what they do best: us making the game, Bigben Interactive making the toys and physical goodies and handling the logistics, while ProSiebenSat.1 Games makes sure that there are many people playing the game across Europe and that we can scale up the network properly.

Cause it’s now official, the ink on the contract barely dry: we have entered an agreement with ProSiebenSat.1 Games for the distribution, maintenance and marketing of our game on the Old Continent.

There are a few consequences to this.

The first one is merely cosmetic: the official launch title will be changed from the tentative Creatures 4 to the definitive “Creatures Online” in an effort to attract new players who had never heard of the previous episodes some good 15 years ago.

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A more important shift is the fact that ProSiebenSat.1 Games is now in charge of deploying the right server network for us, which they have booked already and plan to be ready with around July or so. Once that’s in place, they will be running a first round of beta, which at first will be CLOSED. Access to the beta will be as easy as creating an user account on their network, signing Non-Disclosure Agreements and then stick to confidentiality for realsies ;-)

If you live in another area of the World not covered by ProSiebenSat.1 Games, don’t worry about a thing — We have no intention of leaving you standing in the rain alone. We are currently on the look for Northern American and Asian distributors of similar magnitude and we are in talks with several companies for that. Announcements will follow in due course.

Last but not least, a lot of you have asked us to show video footage of the alpha version we’ve recently feature locked. We’d like to do that. But rather than taking a lot of time editing a trailer that doesn’t talk to you, we’d like to combine the depth of our game with the pleasure that was the Q&A session we recently had in the CreaturesCaves chat rooms, a few months back… So! How about a Google+ HangOut event with the team sitting in a sofa in front of the running demo, everybody? Would you attend to that? Say some time this June? Let’ s hook it up!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.thorpe1 Lauren Nocturnal Thorpe

    i don’t mind the name change since that is really just a small detail.

    hopefully it will bring more players to the game and the live session sounds great i’ll be there!

  • Supernumerary

    I think the G+ Q&A demo sounds like a brilliant idea, but remain concerned about this always-online game behavior. If the latest Sim City and comparable games are any indication, it seems like it’d be more of a hindrance than anything — particularly for those with wonky internet connections.

  • Alan Zucconi

    Ok. Now the question is… :-p …how do I become beta tester?
    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
    (or, in this case: SHUT UP AND LET ME SIGN THE NDA! )
    :-p

  • Uselessboy

    I’d love to see some new footage and a G+ Q&A. Just be sure to let us know in advance so that we can see it propperly. I’d also like to suggest that you post some footage or something on Youtube for all to see, of some of the stuff you’ll show in the Hangout after the event~

    Too bad about the name though, I was really growing attached to C4 as an acronym for the name…

  • cedarcliffe

    ditto, zucconi. how do i get in on a slice of that beta pie???

  • http://www.facebook.com/swedishundertaker Linda Lundqvist

    Oh, I feel so excited! thou i must admit the name change turned me of a little… But never mind that! now i just want to try to be a closed beta tester, I so SO so want to.

  • Layn

    funny if the first thing i got to know about this game was that prosiebenSat1 is involved and that it’s called Creatures Online would have completely turned me off from the game. It would make me fear that it would be halfassed.
    However knowing that it’s being treated as an actual Creatures 4 gives me confidence. And thankfully i have known this for a while

    The new name is actually a good idea. Since this game is radically different in the sense that it will always be online instead of being mostly offline singleplayer. you need to make something like that clear in the title. It’s a mistake that Sim City made (as Supernumerary mentioned)

  • JSD0108

    Considering that this game is a year and half over due and they are just now trying to figure out how this will be distributed to the players, I bet it will be quite awhile before they figure out the distribution outside of Europe. “Due course” for them could mean another 2 years since they can’t seem to stick to a timeline.

  • JSD0108

    The earliest that beta can start is July and who knows how long that will take. This game really might not be released until the end of the year…..if ever. FAIL!

  • Chelsea Kenna

    Sad to hear the North America beta might be further off, but happy to hear about progress nonetheless!

  • Puddini

    I am from Argentina and I want to play the beta, but it doesn’t seem like ProSiebenSat.1 Games covers South America. How will I play??

  • Malkin

    Creatures 4/Creatures Online was never going to have an offline mode – from the earliest concepts it was going to be a free-to-play, online-only, game.

    Fishing Cactus have spoken about this before in “The Uncensored Truth About Creatures 4″ http://blog.fishingcactus.com/index.php/2011/08/22/the-uncensored-truth-about-creatures-4/

    and in the article for Joystick.

  • Malkin

    We’ve known that the beta was going to be closed since January: http://www.creatures4-thegame.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=341

    I agree that the new name does give me pause, but we’ve previously been assured that the game has all the technology behind C3 and DS, updated for a three dimensional environment. Not sure how anyone new to Creatures 4/Creatures Online will take the new name, but it’s still a rose.

  • Lennart du Croix

    i guess it’s time for me to make an g+ account xD

  • genesis

    With a proxy or fake IP – that#s how i do it with american stuff, the first time i don#t have to use it!

  • genesis

    but somewhere they said, they may make it avaible as ovline version, IF enough people would spend money on buying the ofline feature (big IF, and it would lose some online features)

  • Malkin

    From what Fishing Cactus has said in The Uncensored Truth and the Joystick article, C4/Creatures Online was not designed to be an offline game, and it was always thought of as a free-to-play, online game. The ‘big IF’ you’re talking about is more likely ‘if the entire CC won the lottery and paid Fishing Cactus vast sums to make an offline version’. It’s pie-in-the-sky.

  • Supernumerary

    I just can’t see the logic to it beyond ‘we’re doing this to push secondary material at user expense’. My nostalgia is in overdrive, admittedly, but after years upon years with fantastically usable offline single-players, all I can think of is the Docking Station servers and that scenario.

    F2P is great and all, but I’d really enjoy the option of pay for the game, have it available in offline mode.

  • http://youngandbrilliant.net ninakix

    Oh, I like the screenshot attached to this blog much better than previous versions: it feels more connected to what the aesthetics of the series was before now. Cool. (:

  • Malkin

    Where did they say that?

  • Malkin

    Aren’t we Asian, these days?

  • Lukekul

    Asia is traditionally a continent that Australia is not considered a part of; usually we’re either classified as Oceania or Australasia. I’m not sure how that works out in terms of video game distributor geography, so maybe we would be considered as a part of that region.

  • CelineSSauve

    Blogs or Forums, you really think I’ll remember with the game so far past due?

  • Lennart du Croix

    is there a date yet gor the google+ event??

  • LetterZ

    How come its says nothing about this on the http://www.prosiebensat1games.com site? shouldnt they update rite away to?

  • FishingCactus

    Not yet. We will plan everything this week. And we will let you know about it soon.

  • FishingCactus

    Well.. I don’t know. But ProsiebenSat1 Games has to deal with thousand things. So, give them time :-)

  • JSD0108

    Wow. Considering that the game is having some serious production delays, do you think it’s wise to continue to answer questions with “I don’t know?” Doesn’t exactly assuage any doubts about this game or any of the companies involved including Fishing Cactus.

  • Yvette_the_Periwinkle

    Well, at least there are honest.

  • JSD0108

    True, but more importantly it shows a lack of planning and inidicates that they aren’t staying involved or staying informed on the other aspects of development.

  • Yvette_the_Periwinkle

    I’m not quite sure that knowing if the game is or isn’t on ProsiebenSat website really is an important part of the development as long as they don’t screw up the game. But let’s see! They promised a HangOut and I’m truly curious about it.

  • JSD0108

    Considering that ProsiebentSat is the portal through which European players will receive the game, then I think it’s extremely important for FC to know the status with ProsiebentSat. Doesn’t do any good to produce a game that isn’t distributed effectively. While, agree that it not being listed on their website at this time is not a huge deal; I do believe that they shouldn’t be answering “I don’t know” to questions when they are this late in development and this far behind schedule. They have already damaged their credibility about there ability to bring a game to market within thei own set timeframe. Answering “I don’t know” isn’t helping their credibility.

  • FishingCactus

    You guys are taking the answer out of context. Right now, we do not know why the game isn’t announced on the Pro7 website, this is not an utterly urgent matter as Creatures has a specific website hosted by Big Ben Interactive and rather active.

    While we are communicating with Pro7 on a regular basis (four times a week sometimes) on various topics related to the game, there are some requirements in terms of marketing assets that must be provided (banners, product presentation). They are in charge of producing those things and we are not directly involved in the inner timings of such productions. So we do not know when it will be announced on Pro7, it depends on a lot of things that are out of our hands.

    As for the delays, we always try to be as honest as possible with the community. Many games are dealing with delays and we opted for a transparent approach with the community and letting them know what we were doing with Creatures. Would you rather stay in the dark and not knowing what’s happening? Would you rather hearing us say “when it will be ready”? As gamers ourselves we usually feel that not knowing about something means that nothing is happening. Our point of view is to provide you with as much information as we can (and sometimes we cannot provide you such info because of legal) so the community knows what is happening and knows that there are still things happening, in the end it is what matters.

    Right now all we can say is that production is following the planning we set in January and so far we met every deadlines we set up with Pro7 and Big Ben Interactive and are planning to do the same wth the upcoming ones.

    Cheers!

  • Malkin

    I think you may be misremembering – we did hope for a very long time that the beta would be open. That the beta is closed is not news – we’ve known this since January.

  • JSD0108

    Couple of things.
    1. So what if many other games are dealing with delays? Be a leader in the industry, not a follower.
    2. Congratulations for the being on time on the current timeline. I guess you hope that the fact that you missed multiple ones before the one set in January will be forgotten.
    3. Finally, you aren’t really being transparent. Transparent is to give actual answers instead of “I don’t know.” If you were truly being transparent, then we would know why this game is over a year and a half late. You guys will release some information, answer related questions for a few days and then go dead quiet for sometimes months at at time until you have to make another announcement about delays all while trying to say you are transparent.

    If you are truly transparent, then answer one question. Assuming you meet the current timeline (the one that was set in January), then what is the date that you plan to release this game? Not the publications spin announcement like “by the end of the year”, but the actual date (month, date, year).

  • Yvette_the_Periwinkle

    You will point all of the mistakes they made, will you? :-)

    I remember they said that the game was estimated for after summer. Considering that they will enter on BETA in July like they said, they should make it for the end of summer. YAY!

  • JSD0108

    They also said at the end of last year that it was going to released in April. Before that they said it would be released near the end of 2012. Before that it was supposed to be released in June 2012. Before that it was supposed to be at the end of 2011. They have demonstrated that they have difficulty sticking to what they say.

    Just to be clear, I fully recognize that none of the criticism I have about them will change anything. Similarly, I don’t believe that any of the supportive comments that many other people have will in any way motivate them to get things done faster or better.

    I make my comments because I am tired of the multiple delays. I am even more tired of their awful attempts at public relation spin to address their multiple delays. I am just making sure that they know that at least one person (I suspect numerous people) are tired of the delays and I’m not buy their PR spin.

  • Mana

    Does a provider for asia cover Australia? Cos us Aussies are here too… scared of being forgotten.

  • Zombie

    since I first hear this game was going to exist I went from omg shit a brick awesomeness then 5 min in learning of the Free to play basis for the game I knew it would never EVER be as good as the previous games as their will be lots of waiting for timers on things that u can pay real money to speed up and we will never have a true mod community as the game is online and items will need to be purchased or mass farmed over long periods of grinding some minigame or playtime to get the points to buy stuff or fork over money for every action u want to speed up. for me the biggest thing about the creatures game series was the build up of addons and downloads made by actual players of the games for the games and that’s just not gana happen with this game model. I will likely get this free for my daughter but as for me this is to far from the spirit of the game. you took awesome ideas sprickled it childhood memories a dash of hope baked it set it on the table and stomped up and down on it right after. thanks for trying and hope u prove me wrong

  • zombie

    their was a post that I read as genesis says that said they may make an a pay for all features version but why ppl think may means will is beyond me