Since launching on Steam Early Access in May 2017, metroidvania roguelike Dead Cells has sold 730,000 copies. That’s a strong performance for any indie, let alone one that’s yet to get its full release, and significantly beyond the expectations of developers Motion Twin.
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“We’ve sold 730,000 copies so far,” says communications manager Steve Filby in an interview with PC Games Insider. “When we released, I was pretty confident we’d be able to break even and sell about 20,000 or 30,000 units in the first month. I knew that if we got to that point and that we had positive reviews, we’d sell quite well in the long run. I didn’t expect us to break even in the first week”
Filby also suggests the game owes its success to streamers in building a community around the game, whether by speedrunning it or discussing strategy with viewers. “Dead Cells takes anywhere between 25 to 40 hours but some people can finish it in ten now,” he says. “We’re working with Twitch on integrations that we can do to make it more watchable.”
Dead Cells is available on Steam Early Access here, priced $19.99/ £16.99. It’s a combination of roguelikes, such as Rogue Legacy or Binding of Isaac, and metroidvanias, with Dark Souls a clear influence. The team’s experience on Early Access has been positive, with Filby even using the word “amazing”. Dead Cells has received plenty of updates in its first year, with one blog post from February suggesting Motion Twin are close to version 1.0.