A Postmortem of Epic Battle Fantasy 4 by Matt Roszak
A Postmortem of
“Epic Battle Fantasy 4”
A look at what EBF4 did right, and a bunch of
stuff that went terribly wrong.
Who I Am
• I'm Matt Roszak, aka kupo707.
• I'm a Flash Game developer,
who mostly works by himself.
• Been animating in Flash for 10 years, making
games for 5 years.
• I've made games in a bunch of different genres.
• Games include Adventure Story, Bullet Heaven,
and the Epic Battle Fantasy series.
Epic Battle Fantasy 4
• A traditional JRPG, similar to
early Final Fantasy, or Golden Sun.
• Took around one year to make.
• Contains 60,000 lines of code,
• Takes 20 hours to play through.
What Went Right
• EBF4 launched without any serious bugs or
• Player reception was very good.
• Premium content sold well and didn't bother
• Made a decent amount of money overall.
Testing & Launch
• Open beta testing ensured that the game was
bug free and balanced.
• Lots of data was collected about what players
• Open development meant lots of player
feedback and hype.
• No major issues with the game itself at launch.
• EBF4 built on the previous games, and fixed
everything that was wrong with them.
• Very few complaints about the game itself, and
most players loved it.
• Was the top rated game on Kongregate and
Newgrounds for a few months.
• Included a pack of Equips and Skills for $7.50.
• Sold 5803 of them, which apparently is a lot for
a single-player game.
• Premium pack itself was done sensitively;
Didn't offer unfair advantages or make the free
game feel incomplete.
What Went Wrong
• Sponsorship deal could have been better.
• Browsers deleted lots of saved games.
• Data mining was a disaster.
• Not sure if translations were worth it.
• Steam Greenlight release was planned badly.
• Picked a performance based deal from
Kongregate, which worked well for previous
• But EBF4 did not distribute very well;
Shrinking market, large filesize, premium
content, and some compatibility issues.
• Had a very high fixed offer that I turned down.
• Luckily sorted out sponsorship deal quite early.
• Tons of users lost saved games due to
browsers and cleaning tools deleting cookies.
• Kongregate doesn't have an API for cloud
saving, like some other sponsors do.
• Problem gradually lowered the game's rating.
• A Kongregate site update even deleted saved
games for a day.
• Used Playtomic for collecting tons of cool data.
• They went out of business shortly after the
game's release; had no backup plan.
• I should have known how unreliable these
services are from previous experience.
• Added a month to development time.
• No way of knowing how many people found
• Distribution was crap, so they probably didn't
help much there.
• Was still an interesting experience.
• EBF4 may have been better off as a Steam
game, rather than a free web game.
• Should have focused on Steam first.
• Didn't really understand how Greenlight works.
Felt that the web release would help get votes.
• Turns out players don't want to pay for a game
that is already mostly available for free. (derp)
• Got 13k votes. Probably needed around 50k.
• Treat your players well and include them in the
• Make backup plans; conditions can change.
• Don't trust outsiders; web browsers, data
tracking services, etc.
• Don't stick to the same strategy just because it
worked well in the past.