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Dungeon Defenders: Awakened interview: Moving away from free-to-play and more

Chromatic Games CEO Augi Lye speaks to Shacknews about working on Dungeon Defenders: Awakened, crowdfunding, indie development, and leaving the free-to-play model behind.


One of the most pleasant surprises of 2020 was the release of Dungeon Defenders: Awakened. Chromatic Games brought the franchise out of dormancy and opened the door to four-player tower defense-style action. What has it meant to the team to introduce Dungeon Defenders: Awakened to a new audience? Shacknews spoke to Chromatic Games CEO Augi Lye to find out.

"The first question we asked was, 'Who is our fanbase? Who loves our game? Who's willing to love our game or our next game?'" Lye told Shacknews. "The biggest answer to that was, much of our DD1 fans. We still have a huge following with Dungeon Defenders, so we asked ourselves after that, 'Okay, so how can we cater more towards Dungeon Defenders 1?' The first thing was how you monetize the game. One of the things that Dungeon Defenders fans really hated about DD2 was the free-to-play aspects, the free-to-play mechanics, so we immediately [said] 'Alright, well, let's not do that. Our community doesn't want that, so let's not go down that path.' And on top of that, creating a free-to-play is a monumental task. It's more than just a live product. It's a live product/economy/all of the above and the complexities of making a successful free-to-play game are exponentially more difficult than making a successful retail game."

Among the many topics that Lye touches on in this interview includes the transition from Trendy Entertainment to Chromatic Games, returning the focus to indie game development. He also discusses the game's Kickstarter campaign and crowdfunding efforts, going from PC development to bringing the game to consoles, rolling with the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and more.

Dungeon Defenders: Awakened is available now on PC through Steam. Look for it to come to PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch soon. For more interviews like this, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews and GamerHub.TV on YouTube.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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