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Behind the Scenes: Creating the viral hit Baby in Yellow

Team Terrible’s CEO Greg Lee shares a closer look at the game's development and what they have coming up next
Behind the Scenes: Creating the viral hit Baby in Yellow
  • Scottish games studio Team Terrible has boomed after it's success with horror hit Baby in Yellow enabling the team to work full time and cross-platform
  • After noticing mobile copycat's of the games initial Windows release, the team decided to officially bring the game to mobile and has since released the title on Steam
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In 2020, Scottish games studio Team Terrible saw its Baby in Yellow go viral with content creators and streamers. These players instantly took to the game for its unique blend of horror and comedy. Since the game's initial success, the team has been able to dedicate its time entirely to the game's continued development with a release on mobile and, recently, Steam.

We spoke with one of Team Terrible’s founders and CEO, Greg Lee, to learn more about the viral success hit. We discussed the game's initial development process and the challenges the team had to overcome, in addition to developing for various platforms and working on the highly anticipated final chapter of Baby in Yellow. Can you tell us a little about Team Terrible in general and how things got started?

Greg Lee: Team Terrible is an independent studio of ex-Triple-A game developers based in Scotland. Our first IP, The Baby in Yellow, went viral in late 2020 and currently boasts around 200 million downloads.

Initially, we started as a duo myself and Aaron Baumbach creating game jams and passion projects just for fun. Now, we can dedicate ourselves fully to our ideas.

The team has developed other games, but Baby in Yellow is the biggest success to date. What do you think makes it so special?

I think The Baby in Yellow really stands out due to its unique blend of everyday, relatable tasks and bizarre Lovecraftian horror. That contrast, combined with the game's comedic elements, really resonated with streamers and content creators, igniting the game's virality.

One of the most original parts of the game is the twist we've added to the typical horror scenario – the baby is both the character you need to care for and the monster you're trying to escape from. This duality makes the baby a bit of a ticking time bomb; you never know what will happen next!

“The success of the game has provided us with the security we need to continue doing what we love.”
Greg Lee

What impact has the game's success had on the team overall? Has it allowed you to develop full-time?

Yes, the entire team is now working full-time on The Baby in Yellow, and the game's success has been an incredible journey for everyone involved!

It's a very surreal feeling to see something we created connect with so many people, and it’s an immense source of pride for us. The success of the game has provided us with the security we need to continue doing what we love. We can’t wait to see where this adventure leads us next.

How long has the development process of Baby in Yellow been? And how many people have had a hand in its creation?

The Baby in Yellow started as a game jam project in 2020. We ported it to mobile in early 2021, and by the end of that year, we had quit our jobs to work on it full-time.

We've been fortunate enough to have some really skilled and experienced devs join the team since then, pushing the quality bar higher with every update.

Everyone contributes their unique ideas and skills, and the game wouldn’t be where it is today without the incredible contributions of the entire team.

“Being self-published meant we had to quickly learn many new aspects of game development.”
Greg Lee

What were some of the biggest challenges regarding the games development? And how did you tackle those challenges?

Being self-published meant we had to quickly learn many new aspects of game development, including the mobile port, console development, localisation, and all the logistics of running a small studio. It’s been quite a learning curve, and even though it’s been tough at times, it’s been a lot of fun learning new skills and shipping our own product.

On the flip side, what has been your favourite thing about working on the game?

I love that we have the opportunity to develop our own concepts and that every team member can contribute their own ideas. It's not often you get this level of creative freedom and the chance to share it with people globally.

After each release, we all enjoy sharing videos from content creators, comments from YouTube, and fan messages on our Discord. Seeing the wider community engage so actively with something we've poured so much time and effort into is an incredible feeling.

After the success on Windows, what was it like bringing the game to mobile, and how do you feel the platform helped to push your success to the next level?

Initially, our success on Windows was largely driven by content creators. However, we then noticed dozens of mobile clones of the game, some boasting hundreds of thousands of downloads. It was an obvious decision to bring the game to mobile platforms to reach that audience.

This shift had several ripple effects on the game's development, and we had to drop a few mechanics that didn't work as well on mobile to maintain the quality we wanted. Handling bugs and testing became one of our biggest challenges on this new platform, leading us to hire QA to assist with the array of devices we were now supporting.

“Cross-platform is increasingly becoming the norm, which is fantastic for players and consumers”
Greg Lee

There's also just been a release on Steam, how important do you see cross-platform development becoming?

Cross-platform is increasingly becoming the norm, which is fantastic for players and consumers. Far fewer gamers are excluded simply because they don't have the right hardware or device to play their favourite games.

While I can't speak for everyone, I personally am willing to purchase a game on multiple platforms, especially if it's a title I'm really passionate about. This is particularly true when I'm travelling and prefer a portable version of the game I’m playing at home!

The game is in early access on Steam, so do you have plans for new content? Is there anything you can tell us about that?

Before the Steam version is ready for a full release, we have several quality of life improvements in mind. These include things like a UI overhaul, PC-specific settings, controller support, Steam Deck compatibility, etc.

Additionally, I want to wrap up the main story with an insane final chapter! Things have been left on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I want to make sure we end the game strongly.

Finally, is there anything else we should know about the game or what we can expect from Team Terrible in 2024?

The final update is the next major milestone, and it will be our main focus because we're committed to making it something special. We're still in the initial stages and juggling a lot of ideas, so I can't say exactly what the final product will look like. However, one thing I'm certain of is that we're going to have a blast creating it!