April 19, 2012 3:00 AM | John Polson
The Splatters, formerly known as Confetti Carnival when it was nominated for an Independent Games Festival Award, was released for Xbox Live Arcade last week.
The arcade title sees players flicking colored balls of paint around tight arenas, with the aim to pull off as many stunts as possible before showering bombs in gloop. It's a game that lends itself to both casual and more hardcore players, with an easy-to-understand premise that hides a score-based, stunt show interior.
With a PC release not due until the Xbox exclusivity has run its course, Israel-based development team SpikySnail Games is concentrating solely on getting the word out to Xbox 360 gamers, which can be difficult given its earthly positioning.
"Getting noticed is a bit harder [than in other countries] as there are no big local media or developers to attract attention," SpikySnail co-founder Niv Fisher told Gamasutra of game development in Israel.
"Also the geographical distance makes us pass on some events that we would definitely attend if it were just a couple of hours away," he continued.
The Israeli video game industry has been steadily growing over the last few years, although Fisher believes that it is still very much in its infancy, as development teams continue to focus on the advancement of technology rather than software.
"We have local events that grow bigger each year as more talented people get into game development," he explained. "I think the biggest hurdle is that there's too much chasing of technology or innovative business models and not enough focus on simply making great games. It probably has to do with the high-tech industry here, which is very successful, but focused on technology and business rather than creativity or content."
Most of the development coming out of the country, he said, is from studios which are focused on mobile and web development, and the tech behind games, rather than games themselves.
How, then, did SpikySnail get plucked from a scene that isn't showing huge advancements in video games? The answer is through persistence and a whole lot of faith.
"We actually approached [Microsoft] directly about two years ago with an early build of the game and didn't pass their greenlight process," admitted Fisher. "The game was still pretty raw and at the time and we had faith in the gameplay we were delivering so we just kept pushing on with development and submitted our game to the IGF and other events."
It was after receiving an IGF nomination for Confetti Carnival and showing the game off on the GDC show floor that SpikySnail finally got the go-ahead.
"Following that show we got an email from Microsoft asking if we are interested in re-submitting," he told us. "It went pretty smoothly from that point on."
Part of this smooth sailing involved changing the name to The Splatters. "We didn't feel the name connected well with what the game is trying to achieve," he explained. "[Though] we liked Confetti Carnival (and oddly enough we did), we thought The Splatters tells a bit more about the game and also conveys the whimsical nature of it."
With the game finally in the hands of consumers, the team is now looking to put itself out there as much as possible. SpikySnail is happy to have Microsoft on board, but its hard-working background ensures it stays very hands-on with the marketing and promotion.
[This article was written by Mike Rose and originally appeared on Gamasutra.]