Guillermo Andrades: “We did not expect TemTem to have this massive feedback”
- Interview of the director of the game inspired by Pokemon which is taking over the world.
TemTem, the last videogame of the spanish studio Crema Studios, is a massive success on PC. Since the launch of the game in january 21, it is the best selling videogame on Steam, the biggest digital store for PC videogames, and it has had rougly reached 40.000 simultaneous players.
The official number of sales are not public, but the director of the distributor No Moro Robots, Mike Rose, TemTem could have sold more than 50.000 copies on its first day. The success of this game inspired by pokemon almost have no precedings in the spanish state, and for this reason, La Vanguardia have interviewed Guillermo Andrades, co-founder of Crema and director of TemTem.
Since the launch, TemTem is the most sold game on Steam. How have you managed this first days of success?
“What we had to do is sleep less. We always have trust that the game was going to work great, but we did not expect this brutal feedback. In the beginning, on what we had to work the most was in stabilizing our servers, because on the launch we had some problems. Before the launch we already did some stress test where we saw a lot of problems that we solved, but now we have some more.”
Do you still work on the increase of capacity of the servers?
“Indeed. The server is stable, in fact this weekend we established our new record. If I remember, we reach 39000 simultaneous users on Steam and Discord, so we had like 40.000 users and the server is still working. Now what we are doing is trying to fix the bugs so players can enjoy the game without problems.”
With all this work, you had no time to rest and enjoy.
“That is true. In fact, I still can’t believe all that has happened. On one side, we are very happy for all the feedback and our community, in general, it’s awesome. But in the other side, all what we can see and the amount of hours we have put in the game has become difficult to handle. We are half way through it yet.”
Do you think that the crisis that is suffering Pokemon and Game Freak, has benefited Temtem, and it’s kind of part of its success?
“I don’t know what to say. The idea of Temtem was before all the controversy Pokemon have now. People have been asking a lot of things that Pokemon won’t give to them because they don’t want, they can’t or some other thing. It may have helped us the situation of Pokemon right now, but I don’t think it is the only reason.”
How did the idea of TemTem started?
“When we finished our last game, Immortal Redneck, we started a phase where we wanted to experiment what we wanted to do. Starting with a series of prototypes. We worked a couple of months in one of them, but in the end we did not like it and wasn’t enough for us. It was canceled.
One of the ideas we always had in mind was to make a tribute to Pokemon making our own version. It all began in some sort of a joke, but in the end it took form and we continued with it.”
You did a campaign on Kickstarter where you collected almost 575.000$. Why did you choose this option?
“When we started this project, even when we had a little knowledge about people wanting a different Pokemon, we were not one hundred percent sure about it, or if they wanted a new IP. People wanted a Pokemon MMO Pokemon, but some sort of different Pokemon, a more mature one, but we don’t know if they want this if they don’t have a Pokemon game.
What we planned, instead of locking ourselves up in a room for one or two years, make the game and give it to the world, was to make a campaign on Kickstarter. It wasn’t for the money (we are at a studio and we had money from our last games) but to see the reception of the public. We started working on the Kickstarter campaign so we made a small prototype of the game mechanics and more. That is what theKickstarter campaign was about and it received a very good feedback.”
Temtem’s got a lot of things that reminds of Pokemon. Are you afraid of Nintendo accusing you of plagiarism?
“That is a question that everybody make to us from the beginning. But we were never afraid because we have never passed the limit where Nintendo could say anything. Even when both games look pretty similar, everything that makes Pokemon unique is different in Temtem. We did not use any registered trademark from Pokemon. Everything is original. The mechanics may be similar, but that is not a thing someone can claim of plagiarism, if so, there would be no video-games otherwise.
Also, there are a lot of games that are copies of other Nintendo franchises and they are still on their stores. And nothing happens. Smash Bros got copies. Mario Kart got copies. Is something very common in our world. What happens with Pokemon is that there is fear because nobody has ever tried to beat them and has always a few assets from Pokemon. That is the moment Nintendo , obviously, had to claims its copyright because its not that is only inspired in Pokemon, but also using an inappropriate appropriation of their content. You are crossing the red line.”
The design of the Temtem is one of the keys to attract the public. How is the process of creation of every creature?
“Usually the people of the art team make some sketches. In the direction or in that same team, we say ‘Hey, we would like to have a fire creature, oriented to defense and be some kind of tank.’ That’s when they, with their unlimited imagination, start pointing out some ideas on the paper and a series of proposals. Based on them we see what we like the most. ‘We like the idea 3 more than the 5’ or ‘I like the head number 5, but with the body of the number 2, then put it upside down.’ Is a job where you integrate yourself a lot, it’s not as easy as saying ‘We have to do this”, making the sketch and that’s the winner. We have to be more open minded.”
Crema is a very small studio, you are less than 20 people. Isn’t a game this big and ambitious for this small team?
“It’s complicated, but we are a well experienced team. The people who work here also is very experienced. We felt capable. Our Lead Programmer got a lot of experience with MMOs and he knew everything that was going to happen and what we were going to need. It’s true, we are a small team, but thanks to the experience of our team we can go forward. With a normal or a new team it would be very difficult.”
The unexpected success is making you work a lot of hours. Are you thinking on expanding the team?
“Sure, we will expand our team a bit, especially now in terms of the users support, because we have a lot of work now with this but we nobody yet for this. On the technical part of the team, I don’t think we will have more people there, we have succeeded with what we have now and we didn’t think of making big changes for the deadlines we have. We want to go slowly and make everything alright, like we know to do. But yes, we will have a bigger team, but not too much.”