DevBlog #006 – The End of the Road /4

Photo by GDC, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0,

Wow… what a turn of events! After more than one month, we’re finally back to writing our dev blog and there’s a lot to cover. If you didn’t already know, you might have guessed that the GDC didn’t take place in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a pretty nerve-wracking time right before the planned event with a lot of uncertainty and multiple re-organizations of our plans. To avoid any misunderstandings: looking back, of course it was the only responsible thing to not travel to San Francisco. And of course our troubles are nothing compared to the dramatic events taking place right now all over the world. However, the intent of this blog is to let you take part in our development process. We therefore allowed ourselves to only focus on how we did experience this very special situation and how it affected our project.

12th February 2020: Mobile World Congress Cancelled
The first cancellation of a big event we had heard of and it got us thinking on the consequences for GDC. However, we weren’t really concerned since the pandemic was still far from Europe and from the US and we didn’t anticipate the global impact of the virus, yet. Accordingly, the organizers of GDC confirmed shortly after that they still wanted GDC to take place as planned.

28th February 2020: First Meeting Cancellations
As the first large companies started to pull out of GDC, more and more of our planned meetings with publishers got cancelled, since they were no longer attending the event. However, it still seemed that both GDC and GCA would take place and we had lots of other meetings and events to look forward to.

29th February 2020: GDC postponed
Just one day later, we woke up to this bad news and we were frustrated. GDC should have been the perfect event for us to show our game to an international public and connect with publishers to work towards the release of Deep Space Gardening.

2nd March 2020: SwissGames Delegations cancelled
We had been offered our ticket to GDC by SwissGames and were going to attend the event as part of the SwissGames Delegation. Due to the postponed GDC and the COVID-19 situation, SwissGames decided to cancel the delegation. We fully support the decision and especially in retrospective it was the right thing to do, no doubt. But at that moment, we had everything booked and couldn’t cancel our flights. And we wanted to do this trip to San Francisco so badly that we decided to travel to San Francisco anyways and to make the best out of GCA which was still supposed to take place.

9th March 2020: GCA postponed
One week later, GCA was also postponed since such a large event couldn’t be justified anymore regarding the increasing case numbers of CoV infections all around the world. We finally recognized, it was pointless and even irresponsible to travel to San Francisco.

12th March 2020: US travel ban for Europe
Shortly after, Trump announced a travel ban for everyone who wanted to travel to the US from Europe. Although we knew before, it was the right thing to not fly, this felt like the definitive end of our exciting road to what should have been a jump start to our marketing efforts. We proceeded to cancel our bookings. Unfortunately, only our hotel offered a full refund while the airlines still insisted on their strict no-refund policy at that time.

Instead of being in San Francisco presenting our game at GDC, we returned to business as usual, working at our game with at least a few online meetings with publishers in between. It took us some time to get back in the right mood, since we spent the last months preparing for this journey. But we finally got back on track and are now excited to show you in the next couple of posts, what we’ve achieved in the meantime!

We would like to thank ProHelvetia / SwissGames and the organizers of GDC and GCA for their quick action and very direct and transparent communications. We got offered various alternatives and support through this rough times.

Stay healthy, everyone! #stayhome

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