Few games have garnered such near-universal critical acclaim in recent memory as Undertale. The charming indie RPG took the world by storm when it released a year ago for PC on Steam, and since then, fans have shown no sign of forgetting it, much to the detriment of creator Toby Fox's stress levels.
Today, Fox opened up about what the game's huge success has meant for him personally via the official Undertale Tumblr account, and it's a rare look behind-the-scenes at how a cultural phenomenon can change the life of its creator almost overnight.
"Surprisingly, there are many people who like this type of game," Fox writes. "Though I did work hard, there's definitely a lot of luck involved in having a game become this popular. So, it wouldn't surprise me if I never made a game as successful again. That's fine with me though.
"Not only did I not expect this level of popularity, but initially, I was afraid of it. 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."
All of the love (and the hate created as a result) directed toward the game all came back to Fox. However, while one might have expected Fox to feel nothing but happy about all his hard work paying off, it actually just made his life far more stressful.
"Like a thunderclap to a small dog, all of this attention stressed me out," he writes. "And every time it seemed to die down, something revived it, such as the GameFAQs contest, the award shows, bizarre theory videos, and so on. At times, I wished I had a way to quell the attention. I felt a strange powerlessness (and guilt, for feeling stressed when the success of the game SHOULD be something I'm nothing but ecstatic about).
Despite the stress that went along with it, Fox says that, ultimately, he thinks it's a good thing the game reached so many people. Numerous fans have told him how the game has made their lives better, and Fox says the game's success made it so he could better help himself and those around him in his own life.
Still, after one year and hundreds of glowing reviews, Fox still has the same opinion of Undertale as he did when it first released.
"It's about an 8/10, niche RPG game," he writes. "If you like the characters and the humor, you'll probably like it, and forgive it for its flaws. If you don't, you'll probably hate it."