Over the weekend you may have seen a feature that we posted considering the increasing relevance of Kickstarter. The crowdfunding website has exploded in popularity in the past year, with many projects subsequently emerging that'll make their way to Wii U and/or 3DS. We spoke to two developers who've utilised the site to make their games happen, gaining their perspective.
We'd now also like to share the views of Sean Velasco from Yacht Club Games, the studio of former WayForward Technology employees that 's bringing Shovel Knight to both the Wii U and 3DS eShop platforms. As we couldn't incorporate these views into the original feature, below you can see Sean's opinions on the platform that brought his studio such success, in the form of a mini interview.
NL: What prompted you to go the Kickstarter route?
Sean Velasco: Two reasons, actually. We needed to fund development, but didn't want to be beholden to a publisher. We want to own our products and decide how we develop and market them. With Kickstarter, we are in control. Which brings the second point: community interaction! We wanted to develop a healthy following of fans that we could integrate into our design process. With Yacht Club Games, we want to share our process and get feedback early, helping us craft the best game possible.
NL: What do you make of the Kickstarter industry and growth of new projects?
SV: It's completely awesome! Ideas that had no other outlet can now go to Kickstarter or other crowdfunding sites, and get made. It's hard to see this as anything but a good thing. Ideally, this will also show other sectors of the industry that there's a demand for these indie types of titles, and we'll see them respond in kind. We're already seeing loosening of restrictions from both Sony and Nintendo.
NL: Do you feel there's merit to criticisms of the concept, such as the risk of funded projects not being delivered?
SV: Absolutely. There is a chance that devs aren't going to deliver on their promises, especially those who haven't worked professionally. Games are a risky business and it's easy to let budget and scope spiral out of control. Once you are burned and lose your money, you will probably be less likely to back another project. I'm worried that there's a Kickstarter bubble, and it's going to burst as soon as projects go bad. However, devs have their reputations on the line, so I doubt many people are scammers.
NL: From your perspective, is Kickstarter a valuable alternative to standard development funding and publication routes, or is it a replacement?
SV: Well, we're certainly using it as a replacement for funding, but we'll likely need to pair with a publisher to get the game to foreign territories. That's a great role for a publisher; basically, they take care of the parts of game development that a smaller dev can't: foreign markets and localization, marketing, and physical distribution. It's all about flexibility!
We'd like to thank Sean Velasco for his time.