Not a total wreck by any stretch
Exactly one month ago, developer The Pixel Hunt released The Wreck on Switch. The game also arrived on numerous other platforms the same day. We’ve covered the game here a few times, but it seems to have flown under the radar for many gamers out there. This, among other things, led to one of the developers to talk about the situation The Wreck is in.
First thing’s first, let’s explain the game itself. The Wreck is a mature 3D visual novel about sisterhood, motherhood, grief and survival. Players follow failed screenwriter Junon as she attempts to make it through the most pivotal day in her life, navigating difficult conversations and piecing together where things went wrong.
As you can see, there are a number of elements at play in The Wreck that make the barrier for entry high. While visual novels are much more popular nowadays than they ever were, they’re still nowhere near mainstream titles. Along with that, it’s clear The Wreck deals with some very tough and uncomfortable topics. There are players who are more than fine with that kind of subject matter, but many others simply want to play games to have some fun and relax.
Following the lukewarm reception to The Wreck (sales-wise, not review-wise), The Pixel Hunt co-founder Florent Maurin took to Reddit to share some thoughts on how things are going.
After one month, here are our rough numbers: we sold around 1000 copies on Steam, and roughly as many on consoles (The Wreck is available on PS 4, PS 5, the Switch, and Xbox One and Series). It took around ten days for the game’s sales to settle on a couple copies a day, and there’s no obvious ways I can think of to pump them up again (apart from an aggressive discount strategy).
Let me be clear: no matter how much we all fantasize about releasing a game that’s a million seller, those numbers are not by any means a complete disaster. The Wreck isn’t a wreck. The market is pretty rough these days, and I know for a fact that we’re not the only ones in such a situation - some friends even reported absolute horror stories.
But still, it left me… sad.
This is just a small segment of what Maurin wrote on the topic, and for anyone who is deeply interested in games, I highly recommend reading his entire post. It’s a brutally honest and open discussion of the situation, along with all the personal discoveries, successes and pitfalls along the way. It’s not too often we see a developer be this open about their game, and it shines a light on the many, many struggles that can crop up.
If you’re interested in giving the full post a read, you can find it on Reddit.