A Curious Tale’s game drop woes give Stumbling Cat a platform
5 mins read

A Curious Tale’s game drop woes give Stumbling Cat a platform

She spent 10 years creating her game, and launched it on the perfect day. But when a a major game developer released multiple games by surprise and knocked her off the charts, Renee Gittins took to TikTok and posted a video to vent her frustration that garnered her and her game a lot of attention.

Gittins, 33, is the CEO and Creative Director of Stumbling Cat, an independent game developing company. She spent a decade working on her game, Potions: A Curious Tale and garnered a following online, but when she released the game, she didn’t plan on any set backs.

“I had expected to be at the top of this list called New and Trending on Steam because you can see the games that are coming up which have their release dates listed,” the CEO told USA TODAY.

But, in a video that is unlike the others she’s posted to her TikTok account, Gittins is crying because her launch didn’t go as expected.

“You know why being a game developer sucks?” she asks in the TikTok. “Because you work 10 years on a project and pick a great launch date and get everyone hyped about it and build a bunch of marketing and then EA can drop 11 games right after you do and immediately bump you off of New and Trending.”

She said she was so emotional because EA’s surprise release threw off her whole plan.

“Based on my projections, I should have been on the new and Trending list for about four days, which have gotten me about a couple million views per day, [get the game added] to a couple thousand wish lists and then hundreds to thousands of sales per day,” said Gittins.

The game developer said all the publicity her game would’ve gotten from being on that list is “really big” for an independent developer like her.

“Even though I hit all the markers to be on the New and Trending list, this unannounced game launch pushed my game off and it ruined my numbers,” said Gittins. “I was making a third of the sales I projected and was feeling really, really bad about it.”

“Potions: A Curious Tale is an adventure & crafting game where wit is your greatest weapon and combat is not always the answer,” states its description on Steam.

Gittins said she wanted her game to be a different experience and wanted to create a game that women thoroughly enjoyed.

“It has this very sweet message,” said Gittins. “It’s a coming of age story and one of my goals with it is to empower girls to follow [their] dreams.”

Why was it launched near International Women’s Day?

Gittins wanted it to be released near International Women’s Day because of the empowering message it has for women. She said it was really important to her to celebrate this launch on that date.

But, when she saw how low her numbers were on International Women’s Day itself, she got really emotional.

“I just felt like a day that was supposed for joy and celebration was not for me,” she said. “I was bummed out about that.”

A bad day followed by negativity and hate

Some people who saw the video decided to make a bad situation even worse and send Gittins more hate for venting online.

According to Gittins, she said some people believed she posted the video to “complain about being a woman” while others misinterpreted her message and thought she was saying she was being targeted for being a woman. Which she says isn’t the case at all.

“It started with people being quite negative in the comments saying mean things about me, about the game,” said Gittins. “Then they started fighting with each other, but then it quickly spilled over to other platforms.”

Gittins said people started going to a live stream where she was playing the game on Twitch and started saying “very, very rude” things to her.

But then she says it spread to her game’s server on Discord, an instant messaging app and social platform that is popular in gaming communities, and someone who joined began posting “really gross” pornographic GIFs to the server.

Support in unexpected places

Despite the negativity, the viral video brought her a new wave of support.

“I’ve certainly seen the numbers recovering to more along the lines of what I expected,” said Gittins. “I’ve also seen a wonderful outpouring of support, so many wonderful people have joined the community and been so supportive and sweet.”

People on Twitter sent her numerous positive messages.

“Just bought it to support you,” commented one user on her X account.

“Your game is cute and I plan to buy it,” said another user. “I’m glad it got some support/attention despite the unfortunate timing with EA.”

Gittins’ game is available for purchase on PC via Steam. On X, the game developer said she will start working to make the game available on console, but is waiting for the PC version to stabilize.