Indie Game Developer Interview: Gutenberg Neto

For this week’s Indie Game Developer Interview, we’ve none other than Gutenberg Neto, creator of The Fish Dies in the End for the iPhone. There’s a reason for that quirky title, in which he reveals in the interview along with a surprisingly philosophical view on piracy (for a game dev). He’s also the only game developer that I know who carries is studying for a Masters Degree in Computer Science, and that’s pretty cool. So without further ado:

Nine Over Ten 9/10: Tell us more about yourselves and how you started developing mobile games

Gutenberg Neto: For me it all started a few months ago once I finished my Computer Science B.Sc. degree and I knew that I had about 3 “free” months until the beginning of my M.Sc. studies. Since I wanted to develop a game for a long time, I decided to use my temporary free time to try and fulfill this wish.

The main decision I had to make was in which platform I would develop the game. I’ve been a PC gamer for my entire life and I already had C# knowledge, so XNA initially seemed like a very good choice. After some deliberation, I actually chose the iOS for a variety of reasons:

  1. I already wanted to learn Objective-C for a while and this opportunity was perfect
  2. In the past few years I found myself spending increasingly more time playing on the iPhone and iPad, even more than on the PC and
  3. It just seemed to be the platform where the kind of game I was thinking of making would fit better.

9/10: What was the idea behind The Fish Dies in the End?

GB: At the beginning of the process I forced myself to write a design document for a game that was feasible to complete in the time frame I had. I wanted a game that was simple to play but still offered enough challenge to make it compelling to the more experienced players. The game has extremely simple controls (the fish is controllable with one touch) and it gets progressively harder as the score increases.

After deciding on the gameplay, I set out to choose the overall tone of the game. The sea backdrop was chosen so that the game could have some kind of SpongeBob feel, with some pretty funny characters which would contrast with the absurd idea of the cute happy little fish that would keep swimming to certain death.

9/10: How has the response been so far for The Fish Dies in the End on the iTunes App Store?

GB: It’s been really good! The average rating on the App Store is 4.5 stars with many positive reviews from users in several different countries. The game has also been positively reviewed in many sites, including NineOverTen. I recently released the first update for the game which added quite a lot of content and the feedback that I received from the players so far has been even more positive.

Even better than the reviews is the fact that I got lots of feedback from the players. Many of the suggestions I received were incorporated into the update and the knowledge gained from this feedback will surely help me to make even better games on the future.

9/10: Could you share with us a little on what you’ll be working on next?

GB: I’m still working on The Fish Dies in the End and I have plans to release more updates for the game. Aside from that, I recently partnered with an artist and we started working on concepts to decide what will be our next game. There’s nothing ready for announcement yet though.

9/10: Lastly what are your views on iOS games piracy and how has that affected you, and your fellow developers?

GB: It’s undeniable that piracy is rampant on the iOS. With the analytics tools available for developers it’s easy to see the total number of people using an application and compare it with the total sales numbers. In regards to my game, there are many more people playing the game than the total copies sold. I’ve seen developers reporting a 90% piracy rate and that’s very close to my experience.

That said, I try not to worry too much about that. The sad fact is that there’s nothing really we can do about it. I also don’t think that 1 pirated copy = 1 lost sale and if pirating the game is the only way that someone has to play it, so be it. Of course, It would be great if everyone bought the game but we can’t have everything we want so we have to be cool with that.


The Fish Dies in the End is available on the iTunes App Store for just USD 0.99. Check out Nine Over Ten 9/10’s review of the game over here:

To check out more of our Indie Game Developer Interviews, head over here:

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  1. Iris Winter July 22, 2011

    Excellent article and brilliant interview. I just started a site on Casual Game design ( would you mind if I refer to this article? ( Of course link it)

  2. tokyo_nights July 22, 2011

    Sure I don’t mind at all.