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Strike Suit Zero: Kickstarter Chat #1

David Lynch

Features


Strike Suit Zero is among the first games to use Kickstarter and see a full release, but what do Born Ready Games think of crowd funding?

Published on Jan 23, 2013

Gaming has quickly found itself to be Kickstarter’s most popular category by quite some margin.

We have already seen it impact the gaming community and as more and more developers look to crowd funding as a viable means of financing their games, removing the publisher entirely, its success seems assured.

But, what do the studios working with Kickstarter think of the process? In the first of a series of interview, we ask the studios turning to Kickstarter and crowd funding what means to gaming and why it’s proving to be such a success…

Strike Suit Zero

Born Ready Games' community manager Jamin Smith talks us through Strike Suit Zero's Kickstarter process...

What stage is your game at?

Smith: We’re on the home straight now, ironing out bugs and applying the finishing touches. Kickstarter has allowed us to keep the game in development for a few extra months, so we’re really taking advantage of that extra time to make Strike Suit Zero as good as it can possibly be.

Our Strike Suit Zero review is already up and ready to read.

Would your game exist if it wasn’t on Kickstarter?

Smith: It would more than likely still exist, but it wouldn’t be the game we all envisioned it being. It wouldn’t be as good, is the truth of the matter. That said, we would have pursued other avenues of funding had Kickstarter not been an option.

Have you made or anticipated any changes to the original pitch? If so, how did the community react?

Smith: As we used Kickstarter to finish Strike Suit Zero, our pitch didn’t change at all. We were able to present our game – and our vision for the game – more or less as it is today, which meant that our backers knew exactly what they were buying into. This was a big help for us, I think.

Will Kickstarter grow or diminish in importance during 2013?

Smith: Crowd-funding as a whole can only get bigger. People are invested in it as a platform now. They check it. They browse for new products that might appeal to their tastes. Many of our backers have backed 10-20 other games; they’re comfortable with the Kickstarter procedure and enjoy being part of these communities.

This can only grow.

Studios such as ourselves are learning how the platform works too, finding new and exciting ways to interact with that audience, and involve them in the very act of bringing the game to fruition. This simply wasn’t possible before Kickstarter. So yes, it can only get bigger.

Are you concerned the next generation of consoles will distract from Kickstarter?

Smith: The industry is in such a fragmented state right now that there’s almost certainly space for both. People go to Kickstarter to fund all manner of projects; the next-gen consoles won’t detract from this at all, just offer another kind of experience.

How has Kickstarter funding changed the development process?

Smith: It means the second monitors of all the devs in our studio were permanently glued to Kickstarter for a month! Kickstarter gives a voice to our community, and they’re very vocal. We’d look very closely at what was being said (we ran a beta exclusively for our Kickstarter backers), and use this information to improve the game.

The biggest change it has on development - speaking generally now - is transparency. Studios now have to be incredible open with what they’re developing, letting the community share a seat on the developmental ride. People won’t hand money over on faith alone, and so you have to show them who you are, how you’re using their money, and involve them wherever possible.

This is a huge difference from traditional development. 

How did you work out your original goal total?

Smith: We worked out how much work still needed to be done, worked out how long we’d need to do it, and then worked out much it would cost to keep the game in development for that extra time.

How does the pressure of working to a crowd compare to working for a publisher?

Smith: The crowd pull no punches, which is great. You get honest reactions which you can then apply directly to making the game better. They’re placing faith in our game with their wallets, so we take any comments to heart – it’s all for the good of the game.

That said, the reaction to Strike Suit Zero has been fantastic, and more than anything else, it was a great confidence boost to a new studio. The space combat genre has been dormant for a little while – we couldn’t be 100% sure what the reaction to the game was going to be.

To see so many people raving about the game is incredibly encouraging for us.

Would you use Kickstarter again?

Smith: Absolutely.

Kickstarter Chat Series

#2 Carmageddon: Reincarnation

#3 Sir, You Are Being Hunted

#4 Star Citizen

#5 Shadowrun Returns

#6 Wasteland 2

#7 Project Eternity

 

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