Undertale was one of the biggest surprise hits last year, and this caught its creator off guard.
Toby Fox wrote about the reaction to his indie role-playing game on his blog almost one year after its release (it came out on September 15, 2015). Undertale won over fans and critics with its quirky humor and for giving players the ability to play the game without killing anything. But that success wasn’t all good for Fox.
“Not only did I not expect this level of popularity, but initially, I was afraid of it,” Fox explained. “I didn’t want Undertale to become tiring for people, or become spoiled before anyone even got a chance to play it. Early on — this was probably excessive — I even tried to contact certain Let’s Players to tell them not to make any content about it. But the game became very popular. Unavoidable, even. At the height of its popularity, ‘not liking the game’ felt like a cardinal sin to many fans online. In reaction to these circumstances, others began actively hate the game, creating an endless whirlwind of discourse… .”
Fox noted that all of the attention stressed him out. Right when it seemed like Undertale’s immense popularity was fading, an awards show or new fan video would bring it back into the spotlight. Fox also felt guilty that he felt anything but happiness about Undertale’s success. In fact, he stresses that Undertale’s popularity has done a lot of good things.
“People told me the game helped them through a difficult part of their life,” Fox wrote. “Others told me that the game had made them laugh, or cry, or say ‘I want to be kinder.’ Many young kids told me they wanted to create games or music because of it. And, on a personal level, because of its popularity, I have been able to help myself and many people in my life.”
Fox ended his entry with an expression of gratitude, thanking fans for supporting a game that he thought would only have a niche audience.
Register for GamesBeat's upcoming event: Driving Game Growth & Into the Metaverse