Goat Simulator famously wasn’t intended as a commercial product. According to lead developer Armin Ibrisagic, the sandbox’s entire origin story is a series of jokes turned reality.
In a blog post on Gamasutra, Ibrisagic said that Coffee Stains Studios’ post-Sanctum 2 game jam was fill of “super-complex and deep RPG”s and “super-artistic story-based adventure”s his peers had always dreamed of making.
“It was actually really hard to get people on board the project,” he said.
“As the game design became more and more defined, the score system was brought in, which incidentally also made the game idea exponentially more funny, people started actually considering the project for real. They were finally turning into goats.
“Some day in January, goats were in the majority. We reached the point where the studio was like ‘OKAY FINE, LETS DO THE GOAT THING!’”
One week later, Ibrisagic was able to upload the first “alpha” footage to YouTube, noting that it was not the developer’s next commercial product.
“The game was no more alpha than it was a map in Unreal Engine 3 with a goat and some props you can run into. However, the internet did what it does best and exploded,” he said.
“After a day or two we reached more views on the Goat Simulator video than we had in all our other trailers we’ve produced over the last few years, combined.”
Players and journalists began calling for the project to be developed into a real game – and something well beyond the scope of Coffee Stain’s intentions.
“Earlier, we had thought that we could put up a download of Goat Simulator on our website in case we felt like we proud of the finished product. However, seeing as people were already asking for some pretty big features and expecting a game the size of Skyrim with goats, when it in fact was four houses and a goat on a map in UDK, we felt that wasn’t an option anymore,” Ibrisagic said.
“People were asking for mod support, goat customization, open world exploring, missions, AI for humans that would run away from you. Dozens of sites had already crowned us Game of the Year 2014.”
Coffee Stain devoted more staff on the project including Sanctum 2′s level designers, wrote a development plan, and started adding in more content. Valve was immediately enthusiastic about the project – as noted in the second trailer – and Coffee Stain announced an April 1 release date for Goat Simulator earlier this week.
“I’d like to say the exact same thing I said when originally pitching the idea: It could turn out great, it could also turn out terrible, but in either case, it’ll be really, really interesting,” Ibrisagic concluded.
You can pre-order Goat Simulator – or just learn more – on its website. It’s currently a PC exclusive, although Cofee Stain is investigating Linux and Mac ports.