About us 2018-11-23T23:21:59+00:00
About Us

An indie games label exploring the possibility space of what narrative games can be. We seek out and partner with pioneering game developers working on unusual games with narrative at their core.

We are passionate about the vast and untapped potential of games as a medium. It is our mission to seek out and support the developers and artists pushing at the boundaries of games and to travel with them on their journey into uncharted territory, helping bring their creations into the world and connecting them with players looking for something different.

Founded in 2011, you may know us from the hacking game that uses real unix commands (Hacknet), the surveillance thriller series that puts you in the shoes of Big Brother (Orwell), the sad game about an elderly goat farmer (The Stillness of the Wind) or perhaps the dystopian steampunk mini-golf adventure game (Vertiginous Golf).

Join us on a journey into a world of surprising games and unusual stories.

Meet the Team

Chris Wright

Managing Director

The founder of Fellow Traveller, Chris has more than 20 years experience in marketing and studio management in the UK and Australia. Their role is to envision the future of the company, support the team, establish core values and goals, and be involved in the gritty, day-to-day reality of running a business.

Chris also works with the company’s scout to find interesting projects, secure investment, provide dev teams with advice and support and sign new games to the label.

Marla Fitzsimmons

Marketing Manager

With significant experience in marketing in the UK, Europe and Australia, Marla works with developers to create the ultimate marketing strategy; one which will support a game’s development cycle and build an active audience for launch - and beyond.

Marla believes their primary role is to think like a player; to know where to find them and how to engage with them.

Stephen Heller

Production Coordinator

A freelance writer for well-known games media, it was an interview with Hotline Miami’s David Wedin in 2011 that ignited a passion for indie games in Steve.

As production coordinator, Steve meets with developers to create a manageable timeline, and then works with the marketing team and the devs to hit important development milestones. Steve manages the Fellow Traveller community and was a narrative designer on Orwell and Hacknet.

Stephen Gray

Business Manager

Steve joined the company with multi-sector business experience at listed and private companies operating in Australia and internationally. They have a brief that embraces finance, legal, HR and strategic issues.

Steve helps the team and game developers by making sure finance and legal issues are taken care of and improving business practices so that we can support even more indie developers.

Fiona Murray

Finance Manager

Fiona moved into games as the first employee of the company and is responsible for collating sales reports, calculating and paying royalties, and administrative management.

Fiona sees their role as removing many of the arduous administrative and bookkeeping tasks that often take precious time away from devs being able to focus on making games.

Felix Kramer

Scout

Felix entered the independent scene in 2012 doing PR and Marketing for small studios and now works as a freelance indie games producer and bizdev specialist, collaborating most recently with studios such as Polytron (FEZ), NightSchool (OXENFREE), and Andrew Shouldice (TUNIC).

For Felix, scouting isn’t just looking for games that work now, it’s knowing the industry and understanding what’s coming next.

George Collins

PR

George walked into the realm of PR on the agency side having spent a number of years within the property industry. In previous roles he's represented publisher 505 Games who primarily publish indie titles along with more top tier titles such as No Man's Sky, Remedy's Control and Dead by Daylight.

For George, PR isn't just about getting the word out - it's about the story, the community and understanding 'why'.

Suzanne Wallace

Brand Manager

Assisted by a breadth of experience in community management, marketing and publicity, and brand management, Suzanne’s primary goal is to bridge the gap between players and developers, facilitating a conversation and community around exciting, innovative games.

Suzanne strategizes with developers to forge the best path through the games space, navigating around hurdles, seizing opportunities, and reaching out in creative ways to attain and keep the interest of players.

History

Fellow Traveller was originally launched in 2013 under the name of Surprise Attack Games but the label was conceived two years earlier. Our founder, Chris Wright, was working at THQ as the Director of Marketing for two Australian studios – BlueTongue and THQ Studio Australia. Unfortunately THQ was struggling and at the start of what would sadly become a death spiral. They decided to close both studios and around 200 people lost their jobs, including Chris.

Chris had an idea he couldn’t let go of – if developers around the world were leaving the AAA world behind to strike out on their own to create small, nimble and independent studios, could someone in publishing do the same thing and create a small, independent publisher? Inspired by the independent record labels he had grown up listening to, Chris decided to create a new kind of indie games label: one that would be independent in spirit, would be closely connected to the developers it worked with and would remain small, intimate and champion the same principles that independent developers held dear.

Starting small, and beginning by working with indie developers as a marketing consultant at first, Chris launched Surprise Attack and quickly became a significant player in the Australian independent development scene. He worked with more than 100 indie studios over the next couple of years, learning a lot about indie games, indie developers and how to work with them.

Along the way, Chris attracted like-minded people to join the team, including Travis Plane, a colleague of Chris’ at THQ, who left the global brand team at THQ in LA to return to Australia and join the company as a partner shortly afterwards.

In July 2013, at the first PAX Australia convention, we launched Surprise Attack Games with a trio of games signed to the label. Later that year, we released our first game on Steam – Particulars – and became one of the first tenants in The Arcade, the game-development co-working hub in Melbourne.

Things were definitely tough in the early years. Bootstrapping the label rather than raising capital from investors brought a lot of challenges but it also meant that we have been able to keep our independence. We also truly understand what it’s like for indie developers working on shoestring budgets, with only their passion to keep them motivated. We did it tough and learnt to stretch every dollar and find creative solutions.

Our first success was Screencheat, a split screen shooter where everyone is invisible and you have to screencheat in order to find and shoot the other players. Discovering the game at a global game jam play party, we worked with the developers, Samurai Punk, to launch a full version on Steam in October 2014 and eventually bringing it to Xbox One and PS4 in early 2016.

With a diverse set of games on the label we always had a taste for weird and unusual concepts, publishing the dystopian steampunk mini golf adventure game Vertiginous Golf as well as moody platformer series, Oscura and intense co-op arcade platform shooter Super Mutant Alien Assault. But it was the terminal-based murder mystery hacking game Hacknet, that was a real turning point for the label in August 2015.

Developed by solo dev, Matt Trobbianni, Hacknet was a strange game that effectively gamified unix and was unlike anything else. The hacking game space was very limited. Everyone knew Uplink and the Hacker series but barely anyone was making hacking games. This was a time before Steam Spy or steam user reviews or any real way of knowing whether games were successful or not. The morning of the launch we finally found out just how deep the hacking niche went and quickly got on to Matt to suggest he might want to consider quitting his day job.

Hacknet taught us many things. Firstly, we realised that a huge amount of the value of a publisher is the partnership with the developer, especially for small teams. Our team worked incredibly closely with Matt, helping with whatever he needed such as extra writing and editing as well as developing the marketing pitch for the game, the trailer and marketing asset creative and all the store management, PR etc as well as a huge amount of work after launch on the product strategy and business development. We decided this was the way we wanted to work with all our developers in the future and we would keep our product slate small enough to be able to keep this level of intimacy on every project.

Hacknet also gave us the capital to start investing small amounts into development. The first project we funded was Orwell, from German developers Osmotic Studios. We fell in love with this surveillance thriller from the moment we played the first build Osmotic sent us. Around this time we has decided as a team that the type of games we really loved the most were those that were exploring the potential of narrative in the medium. This would be the flavour of the label and what we wanted to be known for. Orwell was a perfect fit. It launched in late 2016 to commercial and critical success, receiving nominations for prestigious awards such as the IGF, The Game Awards, and SXSW.

With growing momentum and building a reputation for interesting narrative games we reached a difficult decision. With the decline of kickstarter for video game projects, more and more indie devs were needing investment from a publisher. We had some success and some spare capital but we were still very much an indie label and weren’t able to fund the games that were wanting to sign with us. Meanwhile, the indie publishing space was getting crowded and plenty of the new labels around us had significant investment behind them. We needed to find a way to be able to fund more games but didn’t want to give up our independence or be forced into funding games on terms that we didn’t feel were fair to developers.

Our solution was to develop and launch a sister company, The Treasure Hunters FanClub, that would allow other people to invest alongside us into the games we were publishing. We gathered a group of successful developers that wanted to invest in indie games and made the whole process easy for them whilst providing friendly terms to the developers. This meant we would keep full independence as a label whilst providing the funding our developers needed and also solve a lot of the problems in investing into indie game projects for the investors. Since its launch in October 2017, Treasure Hunters FanClub has invested into six games and members of the club include Phil Fish (Fez), Alx Preston (Hyper Light Drifter), Andy Sum (Crossy Road), Morgan Jaffit (Hand of Fate) and Scott Reismanis (IndieDB, ModDB and mod.io).

In 2018 we made the decision to rebrand the label to Fellow Traveller Games to better reflect our motivation of working in very close partnership with developers and our mission to explore the uncharted space of what narrative games can be. Today we are incredibly proud that developers from all over the world trust us to be a partner travelling with them on their journey and we hope to bring players fascinating and unusual games telling surprising stories for many years to come.

WHAT WE DO FOR DEVELOPERS

We work very closely with our developers and essentially plug into their team as a full marketing and business team.

As the publishing label on a game we take on responsibility for tasks including the business development, distribution, store and platform management, PR, marketing assets like trailers, events, social media, legal and accounting admin, age ratings and customer support.

More importantly, we are a partner on their journey and are as invested in the success of the game as they are. We provide honest feedback and guidance, a helping hand on anything they may need, we share our connections, our knowledge and experience.

OUR PHILOSOPHY

⚫  Working on interesting games with passionate and interesting people is our primary objective. Making money is the means to continue doing that, not the sole end.

⚫  We don’t create dependencies—the developers we partner with should learn about marketing and publishing by working with us, not become reliant on having to work with us as a publisher.

⚫  We aim to be as transparent as possible with developers at all times. We act as if we are part of the developer’s team, not an outside company they have to report to.

⚫  As a publishing company, we will always seek to reinvent the way we work with developers to produce the best results.

⚫  We lift up the developer and put the spotlight on them, not us. Our developers should be able to leverage our brand and community, rather than us building our brand on the back of our developers.

We have a three stage process

Position

Develop the messaging and positioning of the game to maximise its ability to cut through the crowd and get noticed. This informs both the marketing and the development of the game.

Promote

Spread the word about the game through PR, social media, events, store presence, streaming, YouTubers and more.

Manage

Once the game has launched, we work with the developers on support and content, securing great sales promotions, bundles and other activity that drives revenue beyond the launch.

What we’re looking for

Fellow Traveller is on a mission to explore the potential of narrative games. We’re interested in games on any platform (in fact we like games to have multi-platform potential) but we’re only interested in games that have innovative or original thinking and narrative components at their core. New ideas, unusual concepts and games from people outside of the traditional development scene are very much welcome.

We are happy to chat at any stage of development and we’ve signed games from 48hour game jam prototypes as well as games that are just a few months away from launching. We do like to be able to play some sort of build before we sign but we can certainly start conversations before that point.

If you’re looking for funding then we do have the ability to invest in development through our sister company, The Treasure Hunters FanClub, who have very indie-friendly terms around that.

How to pitch to us

If you want to tell us about your game and find out if we can help please email our team with a pitch. Your email should include:

  • Who you are and what you’ve done before
  • Game overview with 1-2 paragraphs of elevator pitch, the platforms you’re aiming for, what state the game is in now and when you think the game would launch.
  • Links to the game website, videos and a playable build if you have one.
  • What you are looking for e.g. funding, marketing support etc.

Please note that we can’t respond to every email we get. If you don’t get a reply it’s most likely because you’ve pitched us something that just doesn’t fit with the type of games we work on such as a free to play mobile arcade game.

Tell us about your game and find out if we can help

Contact us