There's a very good chance that House House's Untitled Goose Game is already the most successful game to ever come from a tossed-off joke in Slack. In a new interview, House House developer Nico Disseldorp talks about how a not-so-serious suggestion became an overnight hit game, and how wild the last few weeks of goose memes and celebrity recognition has been for the team.
Speaking with Vox's Allegra Frank, Disseldorp expands on a story House House previously shared about Untitled Goose Game's origins. In 2016, after shipping their first game, Push Me Pull You, the team began brainstorming ideas for a follow-up. Then, in the middle of "serious discussion about these ideas that had some substance to them," designer Stuart Gillespie-Cook jokingly suggested House House make a game about a goose. Disseldorp adds context that the viral screenshots of House House's Slack conversation lack—the team really tried other ideas, but kept coming back to the goose.
People think game development means you get to play games all day, but they're wrong - it means you talk about geese pic.twitter.com/I8XvTWy7b1— Michael McMaster (@mjmcmaster) August 11, 2016
"We were prototyping some other things and not making as much progress as we thought," Disseldorp says. Eventually, the one idea House House swore they "weren't going to do" became the most attractive option. "We didn't really have a heap of a plan," explains Disseldorp. "We just had a premise of, you'll be a goose. And you'll be the kind of goose that people seem to be afraid of."
Disseldorp also shares some thoughts on why Untitled Goose Game found a broad audience so fast. Citing the ease of dropping Untitled Goose Game's characters into established memes like the kid-with-a-knife Vine, Disseldorp says he suspects that "it's very easy to look at a screenshot of this game and immediately gauge what this conflict is." From there it was a short path from Twitter virality to the attention of celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, which then further fueled interest in the game. "I could never have seen these last few weeks coming," says Disseldorp.
Memes, shout-outs from the likes of Blink 182, and bizarre goose suit controller aside, you don't have to gauge Untitled Goose Game's success purely by its cultural footprint. House House told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation it sold more than 100,000 copies of Untitled Goose Game by October 1. Today, Untitled Goose Game is still the #1 top selling game on the Nintendo Switch eShop ahead of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, which came out on the same day.
You can read the the full interview with Disseldorp at Vox.