The developer self-published the mobile version to prevent predatory practices.
Last year, small-scale roguelike game Vampire Survivors became a viral hit, starting in its early access development phase and carrying on well past its full release in October. The simple game proved to be highly addictive without being outright predatory, gaining it an overwhelmingly positive response on Steam. During the 2022 Game Awards, it was announced that the game would be making the jump to mobile devices, and in a rare event, it would be completely free.
In an end-of-year statement, the game’s developer, Luca “poncle” Galante, explained that, following the success of Vampire Survivors, numerous knock-offs appeared in the mobile marketplace, nearly all of them with highly predatory practices like invasive ads and aggressive monetization. In actuality, he had been attempting to get a mobile port published for months to stem this tide, but all of the publishers he contacted wanted these same practices, which he wasn’t satisfied with.
“If you’re like me, then if you wanted VS on mobile you’d have been happy to just pay a couple of bucks for it and call it a day; but the mobile market doesn’t work like that and by making VS a paid app I’d have cut out completely a lot of new players from even trying the game,” poncle explained.
One year after Vampire Survivors' early access launch, Luca "poncle" Galante explains what the shoot-em-up’s success has meant for him… and whether or not Vampire Survivors will ever contain an actual vampire. https://t.co/E9q9RkXZW6 pic.twitter.com/JyQOgFDQL5
— IGN (@IGN) December 29, 2022
“This is why we ended up with a free-for-real approach, where monetization is minimal and is designed to never interrupt your game, always be optional and in your control trough a couple of ‘watch ads’ buttons, and doesn’t have any of that real money sinks that mobile cashgrabs are usually designed around. It’s just the full game, playable offline, in landscape or portrait, with touch controls or with a gamepad.”
Vampire Survivors is available now on both Android and iOS devices.