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Out of the frying pan: Dizzy takes to Kickstarter Exclusive
Out of the frying pan:  Dizzy  takes to Kickstarter
November 23, 2012 | By Mike Rose

November 23, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Exclusive

After seeing what DNA Interactive could do with the Dizzy license last year, the franchise's original co-creators Philip and Andrew Oliver are bringing the egg out of retirement, twenty years after their previous game.

A Kickstarter for a new Dizzy game on iOS and PC, Dizzy Returns, has launched today and the brothers have their Blitz Games studio on board to create the next chapter in the franchise -- if they can fund it.

"We're very aware that we're dealing with the stuff of childhood here, and in some cases people's earliest memories of playing computer games," Andrew Oliver tells us. "Our ultimate aim is to stay true to the sprit and magic of the old series, whilst bringing Dizzy bang up-to-date using all the technology and resources at our disposal now."

The industry veteran is extremely keen to make sure that the new game respects everything that Dizzy was about, while also pleasing new gamers.

"It's not just technology that's advanced in the 20 odd years since the last new Dizzy game, the way we play games has clearly evolved too," he adds. "We want to design a gaming experience that's relevant to gamers today and the way they play - providing gameplay that lends itself to both short and long session play sessions, for example, as well as making the most of the platforms that we'll be tackling - particularly the touch-screen space on iOS."

Having a crack at crowd-funding

But why now? Why does Oliver believe now is the right time to bring Dizzy back from the dead?

"We're now more connected to the gamers and our fans than we've ever been before and Kickstarter has shown that those fans want to grow that connection into something that allows them to really contribute to shaping their future entertainment experiences," he explains.

"It's also proven that people are willing to put their hands in their pockets and actually contribute financially too and this, in our opinion, is just part of the evolution of the changing business models we've seen since the start of digital distribution and the mobile gaming space."

Dizzy is something that the duo has wanted to revisit for a very long time, but it has never really seemed possible before now -- Kickstarter has changed that, he tells us.

But isn't 350,000 ($558,215) rather too much to ask for what is seemingly a rather simple game? Do the brothers expect to easily breeze past that total?

"We want to create the biggest and best Dizzy game ever, and deliver the best possible gaming experience for players," notes Oliver. "That vision does comes at a cost though. We have an enormous amount of experience of making games so we're being realistic about the budget that we need to really do these ideas justice."

He admits, "If we don't hit our target then it'll be disappointing certainly, but we feel it's much better to make sure that we're asking for the right amount of funding - this isn't just about creating a successful Kickstarter campaign, it's about creating a successful game. There'd be no point asking for half the money if we didn't think that that would be enough to deliver the experience that the fans, and we, are after."

Those interested in backing the project can do so on its official Kickstarter page.

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"But isn't 350,000 ($558,215) rather too much to ask for what is seemingly a rather simple game?"

Its weird to hear people say things like this, especially from a publication that is supposed to be familiar with this industry.

350000 pays for 3.5 skilled professionals for a year (including rent, insurance etc). These are not college kids working from their mothers basement, these are people with a proven track record and obvious skill who will probably hire 5+ contractors to get the game finished.

Ian Fisch
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By your math, each member of the team costs $200,000/year. To make a 2d platformer? Boy am I getting screwed by my employer.

K Gadd
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Ian: You don't know very much about finances, taxes, or running a company, do you?

The cost of employing someone is DRAMATICALLY higher than their salary. Try running a real company sometime, or just spend a bit reading up on the tax code and small business regulations.

In particular, a few expenses worth thinking about (for the US, since I don't live in Europe): Unemployment, Disability, Medicare, Social Security, Health Insurance. All of these costs are associated with employing someone, and most of them are paid by your employer and never show up on your pay stubs. Employers also pay a portion of your taxes in advance (withholding), which you might not be aware of if you haven't done your own taxes by hand.

Also, depending on whether you employ 'high-risk' individuals, the cost-per-employee of a company health program in the US can exceed $1000 per employee per month. This is because group health plans aren't allowed to reject individual employees so they instead charge absurdly high rates for 'uninsurable' employees.

My understanding is that many similar programs exist for employers in Europe, and they cost even more per-employee than they do in the US.

In summary: Running a company is expensive. Hiring people is expensive.

Being uninformed on the internet, in comparison, is extremely cheap.

Ian Fisch
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It's all about the numbers.

I understand that there are costs associated with an employee beyond simply paying his salary. I know because I have two employees.

I'm saying that those costs don't add up to DOUBLE an employee's salary, as Mr. A S seems to suggest.

Emppu Nurminen
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Kevin, have you ever run a company? Every time you are starting a new one, you should realize that even real investors aren't shoving their moneys at you, if you want to do it with "comfortable" wage, no matter how veteran you are in the business. Actually, it's quite opposite, it's just a sign your lack of commitment to handle the risks that comes with running a company. How the heck you should expect the opposite of Kickstart-projects?
If Kickstarter is good at anything, it's damn good at slapping people's faces with the unrealistic expectations. I'm not saying hiring people is cheap business, but it's a dick move to expect people to grant the wage you are comfortable with, not the wage you actually need to get by with doing the project. Moneys are for making the project, not for running the company and this is really the core problem, what people should realize with Kickstarter projects.

Ian Fisch
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I'm not enthusiastic about the opportunity to play a 4th rate puzzle-platformer on a touch device. That's just my personal opinion.

Josh Rough
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Harsh words from somebody that has yet to accomplish even a small fraction of what the Olivers have managed in more than 20+ years. I've worked with these gentleman and although some criticism of the quality of their games is fair, they deserve a hell of a lot more respect than you're giving them.

Perhaps instead of tossing out 4th rate criticisms on Gamasutra's comments section, you should put your time and energy into making actual games - hopefully good ones - and earn some credibility to help weight your opinions. Because as best I can tell, you're somebody that's never done anything worth note, yet here you are tearing down a couple of guys that have done quite a lot more than you.

Ian Fisch
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So according to you, all movie critics should keep their mouths shut about michael bay movies, and only videogame journalists who themselves have made a hit game have any right to score a game lower than an 8.0.

I'm sure these are nice guys, and I haven't insulted them personally. I was never a fan of the Dizzy games. I think half of a million dollars is a lot to ask to recreate a 2d puzzle platformer.

They're going to reap the profits from this remake if/when it's released, so why should they expect kickstarter backers to take on ALL of the risk?

Josh Rough
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You're not a critic, are you? You're a so-called game designer, slamming others for their lack of perceived merit, when you yourself have accomplished what, exactly? My response is entirely appropriate.

Terry Matthes
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I actually found the game fun when I was a kid. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Lex Allen
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I love the game even now, but it's impossible to beat without a game genie since it really is too hard and the extra lives were too stingy.

Zack Wood
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I loved Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy on NES and played it over and over. Something about the world and characters, and exploring the Yolk Folk Village... it was magical. I never beat it, though.

Per Micael Nyberg
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As a Scandinavian, growing up with C64 and Amiga, I have very fond memories of the Dizzy games. Seeing the Oliver's willing to rejuvenate the old egg again makes me very happy. Many argues that 2D games was at their best on 8-bit/16-bit consoles but those are only claims made by folks that never was fully immersed in the home computing-era of yore. We live in an amazing time when crowd funding now is appealing and feasible avenue for veteran game devs to come out of the woodwork for.

As a developer myself I can assure you that the sum they are asking for is well within reason. Making games is a costly process. It might not seem that way looking at some games on smart phones and tablets, hearing great success stories of people making games from their parents garage (just as in the old home computer-era). But just as in the old days development got a whole lot serious in a hurry. Depth, sustainable business models, production value, competition and marketing. The bar is moving up even on these, for the moment, 'simpler' platforms.

Robert Boyd
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After a few days, they're only at 4% total funding so it doesn't look like this one is happening.