Independent Melbourne-based game developer Powerhoof has taken a unique approach in announcing a delay to a forthcoming game, using an animated gif to make the break the news.
Their entertaining approach caught the attention of international tech site Re/code, which asked: “Why aren’t product delays always this fun?”
The two-man design studio was set to release a playable demo of its first game, a competitive multiplayer dungeon game called Crawl, on July 17. Unfortunately, as launch day approached, the duo was hit with an unexpected tax-related delay.
Co-founder Barney Cumming explained on the Powerhoof’s official blog that the issue could take days or even weeks to overcome.
“It was actually an IRS issue,” Cumming told StartupSmart. “We’re a partnership and there were some tax issues with that for some stores in the US. So at the start of the month, we incorporated as a company.
“We thought we had all the forms filled out, but there’s a database in the US that needs to be updated. And it turns out it can take up to 30 days to update.”
“Everything was on track until pretty much the last step, where we got hit with an unexpected bit of red tape that we were told ‘may take up to 30 days’ to resolve. We tried to find a way around it, but there’s nothing we can do.”
With their hands tied, they took a creative approach and announced the delay with an animated gif depicting their battle with the taxman:
Cumming says the gif was deliberately designed as a fun way to break an unpleasant announcement.
As for the game itself, its design is based on the 8-bit classic computer game Gauntlet.
“It’s all about getting mates together in front of the TV – or the computer – and crawling through the dungeon. One person plays the hero, while everyone else tries to kill the hero, and if they’re successful, you swap roles,” Cumming says.
“Who knows – depending on how long the delay is, we could even make IRS Man a villain in the game!”