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Tino van der Kraan

Fragments of Him drops price by 50% – now available for $9.99 May 28, 2016

By Tino

Hello dear players,

As of today, Fragments of Him will be reduced in price by 50%. That means that you can get it right now on Steam for $9.99 or €9.99 or £6.99. This pricing will also apply to the Xbox One release due soon and the PlayStation 4 release that we intend to release later this year.

We released Fragments of Him on Steam (available here) three weeks ago, and have since then been on a rollercoaster of emotions. As you know, Fragments of Him is a interactive narrative experience that we have meticulously crafted over the last 2,5 years with limited resources and a mountain of passion.

Not long after the release of Fragments of Him on Steam I became aware of what a post-launch depression feels like.

The Emotional Duality and Reality of the Situation

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While players and press are generally positive about Fragments of Him and the press coverage has been more than we ever could have hoped for, the reality is that the sales numbers are incredibly disappointing.

The feeling of people playing through Fragments of Him and writing about what they enjoyed and how they felt is immensely heart-warming and often seems unreal. It really makes us feel like we are on top of the world. The feeling of realising that we have a few months, at best, before we need to close the studio is heart breaking, soul crushing, surreal, and makes me want to not get up any more in the morning.

While we believe that Fragments of Him is similar in pricing and content to narrative experiences such as Gone Home and That Dragon, Cancer, it didn’t reach enough people willing to jump in and make the purchase. Sadly, the truth is that lowering the price is the only realistic chance we have to keep Sassybot open until the end of the year and release Fragments of Him on PlayStation 4.

Despite this blow, we are constantly evaluating our options in bringing Fragments of Him to PlayStation 4. Right now, lowering the price seems to be our best shot at achieving that.

What about people who bought Fragments of Him at full price?

It is with sincere regret and despair that we bring you this news. More so, it is understandable that you feel the price reduction is unfair and believe me when I say I wish it hadn’t have to come to this. To those that have pre-ordered or purchased Fragments of Him, I thank you for being an early adopter and a believer in our work. We are truly sad that this blow in sales mostly affects people that believed in Fragments of Him from the start, as we did.

If you have bought Fragments of Him on Steam before June 1st we intend to give you a Steam key of Fragments of Him that you can give to someone you hold dear. It is the least we can do. Ideally, someone at Valve is awesome enough to help us send you that key. If that doesn’t happen you can also forward us your Steam receipt from the same email you used to purchase Fragments of Him with (so that we know it’s you) and we will send you an extra key as a token of appreciation. Either way, we will keep you posted via this blog and via the Steam community hub.

So what is next?

While the current situation is bleak, we still hold hope for the future. If the Xbox One launch does well, it could mean that we can bring Fragments of Him to PlayStation 4, pay our partners and collaborators their fair share, and perhaps even continue our dream of independently developing games for you to enjoy.

You can help make this happen by

  • Buying Fragments of Him either on Steam now or on Xbox One when it launches on Wednesday next week (June 1st 2016)
  • Leave a review on Steam or Metacritic to share your thoughts about the experience.
  • Or sharing Fragments of Him with your friends on your social media. Everything helps!

With your help we can bring Fragments of Him to PlayStation 4 and keep Sassybot around for long enough to show you what we are working on next. :’)

Tino van der Kraan

Fragments of Him Steam Trading Cards & Update on Xbox Release May 18, 2016

By Tino

Hello everyone!

It has been about 2 weeks since the release of Fragments of Him which is now available on Steam and the Humble store. The reception by press and the public has been varied but is generally really positive.

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Since the release on May 3rd we have patched Fragments of Him to address some of the issues that only revealed itself after launch. For the latest and future patch notes, please visit the Steam community forum or click here.

Collect Steam Cards, Badges, and more!

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If Steam trading cards are your thing, then we have some news for you! As of now you will be able to obtain Steam trading cards by playing Fragments of Him. By playing and trading cards with other people you are able to create a set, which in turn allows you to craft badges. Crafting a badge gives you a badge that you can level up 5 times. You can level up a badge with another set of Fragments of Him trading cards. Each time you craft/level up your badge with Fragments of Him trading cards, you will receive a random reward such as an emoticon or profile background of Fragments of Him. While Fragments of Him isn’t particularly known for playing over and over, we hope that you will appreciate the option to collect and use it to customise your Steam experience.

Update on Xbox One

Good news on the Xbox One front as Fragments of Him has made it through the process known as certification! This means that we can now finally move on to the next stage which is selecting a release date for the Xbox One version. We are currently working with Microsoft to go through the final steps of this process, and will let you know once we have an exact release date.

That is all for now. We are currently working on another patch for a better Fragments of Him experience and the PlayStation 4 version though we can’t announce anything more than that at this point.

Take care and have a nice day!

Elwin Verploegen

Fragments of Him out on May 3rd! May 2, 2016

By Elwin

In case you missed it last week: Fragments of Him is coming out tomorrow (May 3rd)!

You will be able to get it on Steam or the Humble Store tomorrow at 11:00AM CEST (2AM PDT, 5AM EST).

The Xbox One version of Fragments of Him will follow shortly after the Steam release. Sadly, this version has suffered a delay due to a stability issue. We are working on getting these fixed and will post an update as soon as we know more.

If you want to be notified by Steam when the game launches, you should add the game to your Steam Wishlist.

Elwin Verploegen

On Streaming & YouTube April 29, 2016

By Elwin

Fragments of Him

Fragments of Him has been a labour of love for well over 2 years and soon everyone will be able to enjoy the experience we have carefully crafted during this time. Due to the special nature of Fragments of Him we have a favour to ask of our Let’s Play community.

What we ask of everyone who uploads gameplay for the enjoyment of others is a simple request: please do not upload a full playthrough of Fragments of Him without your commentary or creative input. While we believe that Let’s Plays and similar formats add a great amount of value to games as a whole, as Fragments of Him is a narrative drama and we are dependent on the story we have drafted, simply uploading game footage would spoil this experience immensely. We believe that simply uploading the game footage does not benefit the community and is a harmful practice for developers. For a two-man studio this could be the difference between us being able to craft another project for your enjoyment or calling it quits.

We respect that you want to share the games that you love, and we hope that you are excited to share some of your experiences with Fragments of Him. For this reason, we currently have no intention of having any Content IDs on the game or its music, and will not claim (or take down) any of your videos. We respect the work that you put into your videos, all we ask in return is that you respect the work that we have done: please add your own contributions to the videos, don’t publish only a screen capture your play.

A way of sharing creative content with your audience that benefits everyone is by showing and discussing your experience of a portion of Fragments of Him up to a point that you deem is fair.   From concept to consumption, if we don’t work together in bringing games to an audience in a way that supports the creators then we are condemning experiences such as linear narrative games before they are made.

Streaming is a little different: it goes directly to an engaged audience and is a live, interactive medium. We love streaming and hang out on Twitch daily, as such you’re free to stream Fragments of Him to your viewers and we’d love to hear what you (and your viewers) think of the experience.

Put simply, if you want developers to keep making story-based campaigns, or games like Fragments of Him which are very heavily narrative-experience focused, please think carefully before sharing past the mid or late-game content, which for us is from after the first hour or-so.

Once again, we do not want to take down or claim any of your videos and look forward to seeing them, but please make them your video, not only re-sharing our content. Also don’t forget to send them to us, we love seeing what everyone thinks of the game!

Tino van der Kraan

Sassybot at SXSW 2016 – Part 2 March 23, 2016

By Tino

In part 2 of the SXSW blog you can read about the day by day of the Sassybot adventure at SXSW in Austin. In this blog you can get tips & tricks showcasing your game at an exposition, know how Fragments of Him did in the competitions for the SXSW Single Player Gamer’s Voice Awards, and how the trip back home wasn’t as easy as we had hoped.

Day 1

The Gaming Expo that Fragments of Him was part of took place in the Austin Convention Centre. Elwin and I stayed at the Radisson hotel and getting to the convention centre took about 5 minutes. This hotel was much fancier than what we would normally stay in but we were able to make this work by saving on transportation expenses.
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Pro tip: Find accommodation close to your purpose and save on time and transportation expenses.

The Gaming Expo was from Thursday (March 17th) until Saturday (March 19th) and lasted from 12:00 until 20:00. Thursday morning we could set up from 8:00 onwards and was plenty of time for us to set up. Here is what we took with us:

  • 3 showcase laptops + locks
  • 1 banner (2m x 3m)
  • 1 tabletop poster (A5)
  • 400 posters (A2)
  • business cards
  • promotional
    • napkins
    • stickers
    • cards

We are not endorsed by Logitech though we could have been. They have set us up with additional hardware for showcasing. Namely:

  • 2 Headphones
  • 2 Keyboards
  • 2 Computer mice
  • 2 Mouse pads

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When showcasing, our general approach was to ask anyone if we could explain what Fragments of Him was about. In our case nearly everyone was interested in hearing more where people mentioned it was the unique visual style that caught their attention. When deciding on demo content make sure that your game or experience is curated in such a way that it grabs attention, is not too long, not too short, gives a pleasurable or interesting experience, and leaves the person wanting for more. After having played the demo you can explain the person more about the game such as when it will be released, at what price point, and where more information can be found. Finally, we gave people that played the demo a free poster.

Insight: With 2 demo laptops with a 5 to 10 minute demo and 1 laptop running trailers we think that no more than 500 people got to play the demo at 3 days of showcasing at SXSW with 8 hours of showcasing per day.

Pro tip: Before you travel, build your booth according to the booth’s specifications. This will raise issues you can deal with beforehand to be optimally prepared. Also think about how you can make your booth look unique and inviting.

Day 2

The second day had the same 12:00 to 20:00 schedule and makes it apparent that showcasing is definitely a 2 person job. Especially with a public event it is recommended to have an extra person to keep an eye on the valuable things during food or bathroom breaks. Out of the three, this day was definitely easiest considering the visitor number and that we could leave the less valuable things with the booth overnight.

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Events such as SXSW and similar are a great way to build your connections and networks. If you can spare the time it’s definitely worth it to stop by the other booths to get to know the people. These people can likely help you out with information and contacts in the future if you are nice to them. Try and tag along with a group of interesting people for food and drinks in the evening and these connections can be mutually beneficial for the future.

Pro tip: Showcasing or talking at an event usually comes with certain perks and benefits such as free food and drinks which helps drive down expenses.

Day 3

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The last day, Saturday, was easily the busiest of the three. The public showcase was cut short because of the SXSW Gaming Award Show that started at 20:00. It was streamed via Twitch and can be seen here:

Congratulations to all the great games and people that were nominated and especially to the people that rightly earned awards in their respective categories. Fragments of Him was nominated for a Single Player Gamer’s Voice Award. As the title implies, the winner here was determined by the people and the gamers. Votes could be cast during the Gaming Expo up to 2 hours before the show. The winner in our category was Super Hot and judging from the crowd’s response, rightly so.

Pro tip: Promote your attendance and make appointments with press weeks or even months before an event to increase the effectiveness of an event.

Day 4 & 5

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With our time in Austin coming to an end we were itching to get back home. This was easier said than done. Our flight back took us from Austin to Atlanta, Paris, and finally Amsterdam. When we left on Sunday we were informed about Paris’ air control personnel holding a strike, severely hindering all flights passing that port. This caused us about a total of 6 hours in delays.

Roadmap

We are close to getting the game ready for release and have had to move our release window to a month later. Don’t worry, it’s still going to be in 2016. 😉 However, we are not yet ready to pinpoint an exact date considering some of the delay is subject to external approval. We are very excited about getting this story into your hands as soon as we can.