A knight stands motionless before a brick wall. In his right hand, he brandishes a sword. His left he holds aloft, squeezed into a defiant fist. His features are obscured in shadows under a heavy helm. But his eyes gleam brighter than the blade at his side.
It’s an appropriate enough image for Steam’s Going Rogue: A Festival of Persistence event.
Earlier this year, Steam—a digital distribution platform for games—launched a promotion to spotlight a particular sector of subgenre action games: roguelikes, roguelites, Souls-likes, and Metroidvania. Each has their own quirks and flavors of gameplay, but all four of them typically feature an emphasis on exploration, lightning-fast combat, and punishing difficulty.
They usually attract a passionate, persistent type of gamer.
But when it comes to persistence, few developers rival Windsor’s own Elektri.
“Going Rogue was a week where they allowed games in the roguelike and rougelite genres to have the spotlight on the Steam front page,” Steven Splint, Elektri’s Co-Founder, explains. “It was a great cross-promotional event! We decided to opt in.”
Elektri’s second title, Vagrant Sword, was featured in the platform-wide celebration.
“Traffic picked up considerably during that week.” Steven states. “We had a few purchases. And as a small developer without much money for marketing, it was an honor to have that kind of exposure. All of us at Elektri work full-time jobs, so we don’t have much of an opportunity to flex our marketing muscles. So the opportunity Steam afforded us was truly special.”
And what’s more, Steam is continuing to shine a spotlight on our local game developers.
Steam’s Next Fest is a week-long event, held in October, in which hundreds of free demos were featured and celebrated.
“Valve wanted to shine the spotlight on smaller, more independent developers,” Steven explains. “So we decided to launch the demo of our next game in time for the event.”
Elektri’s newest title is a puzzle game called Hexes.
“All of our previous games were mobile-first,” Steven explains. “We’ve had PC releases, but those were always kind of secondary. Hexes is being developed for the PC in mind. We hope it will have more success on our previous platforms than our other titles.”
With all these recent successes behind them, Elektri remains true to their guiding philosophy.
“Nothing is ever set in stone,” Steven states. “A lot of our plans hinge on how successful our previous project was. We always step back and see if we need to make some sort of pivot. We currently have what’s called a vertical slice—a small sample of the primary gameplay loop—in development for our fourth project.”
Although Elektri can’t reveal much about what they’re cooking up (pun very much intended), Steven does allow us a slight peek behind the scenes.
“It’s going to be similar to a frantic cook party game!” Steven states. “One of the things I’m proud of is how truly different all our games are. It’s important for us to keep expanding our horizons and experiment with different styles of gameplay.”
When asked to give advice to younger developers that may be thinking of embarking on a similar path, Steven gives some sobering, but encouraging advice.
“Don’t expect your first title to be a commercial hit,” Steven stresses. “It won’t. Your first project is always something you’re going to learn from. When I look at my early work, the difference is almost night and day. Whenever we finish a project, we always look back down the line and see things we could have done better. But all that persistence and hard work will pay off at some point.”
Learn more about Elektri at elektri.ca.
Michael Seguin was born with a pen in his hands and too many words floating around his skull. Since then, he’s worked tirelessly to get them out. Unfortunately, more keep taking their place. After university, he began dabbling in marketing and journalism. At the age of 26, he became the first in-house writer at Windsor Life Magazine, an esteemed local publication. As WEtech Alliance’s In-House Storyteller, Michael is dedicated to lending a voice to the tech sector around Windsor and Chatham-Kent.