Grimrock is a damn cool game. Damn good looking. Damn “old” core mechanics (Dungeon Master 1987). And it sells like hotcakes.
Because they put together a dedicated 4-man team who is passionate about this sort of game. The game isn’t stuck in the 20+ year old mechanics, but offers various new twists and makes the genre take a big leap forward. Not too big though, as it seems that everybody buying the game is saying “how they loved this type of games back then…” – for nostalgic reasons too.
I’m 110% confident no publisher would ever have taken this type of game. Because “it’s old stuff, nobody plays those anymore”.
Grimrock sold already more than what development costs were, so they are doing already pretty good.
Smells like the success formula:
“good old mechanic” + “add your own passion” + “boil with some new ingredients” = tasty gaming meal is prepared.