On setting up a business – a quick update.

It’s been a little over a week since our last post and I know you must be wondering if we have finally returned to our planet… the time for that has not yet come, but this past two weeks have certainly made me feel a bit alien.

As you know, Blacksmith was only the beginning of our story. After having finished our first game, we want to grow. We want to make more and better games. And preferably, we want to make a living out of it.

So in order to achieve this spectacular goals, we decided to set up our company. Enter “Fire Cycle Games”. Here’s a quick run over the bad, the good and the aftermath of this journey, so far.

The Bad

Now, neither Otis nor myself have ever set up a company. My family is plagued with entrepeneurs but I don’t have a business background. I do have a strong will and a big head though, so I thought “bah, how difficult can it be, really?”

Well… it’s not difficult. It really is not. In theory the steps are simple and the whole process is quite straightforward. But this theory is applied in a very bureaucratic environment with the talent to make you feel you like you stumbled and fell into a Kafka shaped hole.

The information is available but is sometimes spelled out in a way that feels intentionally obscure. Some lawyers and accountants can charge you in gold coins and gems, or entirely ignore you from start. Be patient. It’s their loss.

Being a video game company certainly does not help: Try explaining to the guy in the bank what a Steam is, and why you need to sustain development of a product for 12 months before seen a dime. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well.

The Good

Ok, we have complained. We have released all the frustration. Is everything really that horrible when it comes to setting up a company?

Well, no. Actually, there’s a side to it that is quite addictive and I can totally see why some people get hooked to the experience and fund more than one company, or invest in others.

Throughout the way I have met a lot of beautiful, amazing people willing to help, to sit down with me and explain how taxes work, how often I have to pay them, how to hire an employee and what legal form to adopt.

Yes, there is a lot of paperwork and legal jargon that you will have to get familiar with, and yes, you will have to spend a lot of hours away from the keyboard and in front of other humans.

So, at this point you’re probably thinking “If they’re working in their next title anyway, regardless of what happens with the company… why bother at all? Wouldn’t it be easier to just continue as they are?”

Aftermath

Well, yes. In a way. But the real answer to that question is “Hell no!”.

You see, we made a game. It is not “Stardew Valley” or “Super Meat Boy”, but we made a beautiful game about being a Blacksmith and, whilst we’re aware of its flaws, we’re also quite proud of it.

Which means we can’t go back to having a day job and giving this project only a little percentage of our time. Like I said before, we want to do better. And we want to do more. Hire some weirdos like us. Have pizza Fridays.

And we can’t do it from our confort zone.

I’m not saying you should quit your job and set up a company right now… but Apple would not exist if Wozniak and Jobs had not left that garage. And that’s just a fact, we’re a very long way from Apple. But maybe you’re not!

There is no aftermath or conclusion yet, as we still have not finished the process. There will be more difficulties and crazy things happening, and we’ll share them all here… but we also want to hear from you!

Have you ever set up a company? How was the experience? Would you do it again? Do you have any advice? Let us know in the comment section below!

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