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Don't Starve dev discusses the power of community word of mouth

Don't Starve is the indie survival game from Mark of the Ninja and Shank team Klei Entertainment. It's a title that has become notorious among gamers with next to nothing in the way of marketing. It is very quickly becoming a word of mouth success, and Klei founder Jamie Chen has shed light on the phenomenon in a new interview.

The game is currently in open beta and sees a band of mismatched individuals forced to hunt, eat, make fire and survive in a harsh world full of hazards and creatures. There are no goals or quests as such, just survival against the game's world. In this regard it's similar to DayZ, but Don't Starve has a unique identity, helped along by its charming art style.

Speaking with GI.biz, Chen explained that the game - which you can check out on the Chrome Store now - was conceived as part of an internal studio game jam, and was never intended to take off in the way that it has. However, word of mouth has seen it grow in popularity.

"We had our other games, Mark Of The Ninja and that kind of thing," Chen told the site, "and those projects are about 18 months long. For Don't Starve we had this idea, and it started as a game jam, we built it over two days and we really enjoyed the idea. And that was back in 2010, the end of 2010.

"So fast forward a couple of years and and we've got the opportunity and the timeframe to build this game. But we weren't sure how exactly it was going to turn out, so we decided that we're going to get it out as soon as we can and get people playing as soon as we can."

Elsewhere Chen added, "Don't Starve is the easiest game to sell I've ever had. People look at the game and they're interested. They want to know more about it. They look at the art and animation and say what is that?

"Our biggest success has been to let the community tell other people, that has worked out fantastically for us. And we enjoy that, because we get to focus on the game and focus on the community, and that community helps us spread the word."

We'll be keeping a close eye on this one as it develops, but no over to you. What do you make of the game and the manner in which it has gained popularity? Let us know below.

About the Author

Dave Cook avatar

Dave Cook


Living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Writing a game called Jettison and a book called Seventh Circle. Loves spicy food.

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