About Us

Surprise Attack Games is an independent games label based in Australia. It works with amazing creators to bring remarkable, weird and unique games to discerning players worldwide.

You may know us from the hacking game that uses real unix commands (Hacknet), the weekly episodic thriller that puts you in the shoes of Big Brother (Orwell), the multiplayer split-screen shooter where everyone is invisible (Screencheat), or the dystopian steampunk mini-golf adventure game (Vertiginous Golf).

Launched in July 2013, the label supports independent developers by providing a full publishing team, bringing expertise and resources to their games while leaving creative control in the developers hands. Surprise Attack Games doesn’t own any share of the IP and the developer always has the final say.

Our team is exclusively staffed by gamers and lead by industry veterans. We left the AAA world behind because we love the explosion of creativity in the independent scene and the freedom that comes with being small and creative.

We work on all kinds of games for all major platforms but the core criteria is that they must bring something new or different to the table. We want to surprise players.

Meet the Team
Chris Wright
Managing Director
My primary role at Surprise Attack is to guide the ship and support the team, getting involved in almost every area of the label, including setting the big picture goals, ethos and…

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Fiona Murray
Finance Manager
Also known as the Royalty Fairy, I collate sales reports from all the online stores we work with, report to developers on these and…

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Steve Heller
Producer and Community Manager
The timeline master! As Production Coordinator I meet with developers to create a manageable timeline, and then work with the Surprise Attack Games marketing team to make sure that their…

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Drew Taylor
Communications Manager
My job is about messages. Written messages, visual messages, social media messages, and more. I translate the heart and vision our developers have for their games into words and images that capture people’s interest and …

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Marla Fitzsimmons
Marketing Manager
My role is all about the players! I work with developers to create the ultimate marketing strategy which will capture the hearts of gamers. It’s my primary role to think like the player; know where to find them…

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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…

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History

Surprise Attack Games was officially launched in 2013 but was actually conceived two years earlier. The company’s founder, Chris Wright, was working at THQ as the Director of Marketing for two Australian studios – BlueTongue and THQ Studio Australia. This was a time of great change in the industry and unfortunately THQ was struggling. 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 publisher: one that would be independent in spirit, heavily connected to the development scene around it and would remain small, intimate and champion the same principles that independent developers embodied.

Starting small, and beginning by working with indie developers as a marketing consultant at first, Surprise Attack quickly became a significant player in the Australian independent development scene and 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 a large amount of funding from investors brought a lot of challenges but it has also meant that we’ve 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.

In the last three years we’ve launched more than 14 games from developers in eight different countries. We’ve released games on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, PS4, the App Store and Google Play and grown to a team of five full time staff. In 2016 we started to provide funding to developers as well as taking on all the publishing duties and costs. We continually seek to improve how indie-friendly we are and expand the services we can offer to the teams we work with.

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.

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.

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

We’re interested in games on any platform (in fact we like games to have multi-platform potential) but we’re primarily focused on PC and console games and we are interested in games that have innovative or original thinking. New ideas and unusual concepts 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 up and 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 here 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