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Why were you so doubtful?
I guess because of all this risk. It's new IP...I'm not Tim Schafer, we hadn't pitched Broken Age yet. Those were the big ones. All of the really big, successful Kickstarters have been from well-known game designers who are pulling their older franchises out from the 90s -- the Wasteland 2s, the Torments...
So I just wasn't sure if the support would be there for it. I was just really nervous about it. I just really tried to get in on the Tim Schafer "Plan A" philosophy, is what I call it.
Ok, what's that?
[Laughs] I don't know if I want to talk about this too much. But I feel like he's really good at putting almost all of his energy towards "Plan A." Plan A is the one that you want to have happen. So if you spend your time worrying about Plans B, C, D, E, F, G, all the way down to "ZZ," it's just taking energy and bandwidth from Plan A.
This is more my own philosophy and observation of him, because I'm a big time warrior, and I'll go down the lists of all those scenarios. He was just so confident that Massive Chalice would work. "It'll work, don't worry about."
What did that mean for you, as a designer who's in the studio, having Tim validate your idea in that way?
It was amazing, just having his support, having him saying, "No, it'll totally work -- you're the guy for this." He even crafted that whole [Kickstarter] video. He really wanted it to be like a Steven Seagal flick, like Under Siege -- this "There's one man for the job" kind of stuff.
Taking him out of retirement.
[Laughs] Yeah, for me it was just so flattering and humbling and inspiring, that he would just be like, "Yeah, you can totally do this. You are the guy for the job. People will show up."
I was really on the fence, then he pitched me the video. It was very loose in his mind [but after hearing it], I just thought that we have to do this.
Early concept art, Massive Chalice.
So the Kickstarter has already hit the target. What are you doing right now?
We were really freaking out about focusing on the campaign. We had a pipedream, that we'd be able to work on the design while we're running the campaign. But there's so much feedback and chatter.
Mostly it's awesome, because it's people who are excited about the game. But now we're just full-time running the campaign with a few people at the studio right now, focusing on that for now.
Mentally, I was still in freak-out mode up until we were well beyond the $725,000 mark. I was still freaking out! Then around $850,000, $900,000, I just remember having this moment where I woke up, and it was just like, "I don't have to pitch video games anymore! I get to make video games again! I get to focus on making a fucking video game!" That is what I get to do now, once this thing closes. We hit the goal, we put the campaign together, it worked, we got our funding! And now we're actually going to start making this video game.
It was just a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, getting my second project off the ground. It's been a while since Iron Brigade came out -- the initial game came out two years ago, basically. And we did DLC and the PC version, so we worked on it for another six to eight months or something. But there's been nothing since then that I've really been working on -- just a lot of prototypes, pitches and all this other stuff. But now it's just about making the game.
I'm so, soooo fucking excited!
Do you have pieces of advice for people who are wanting to pitch a game on Kickstarter?
Get to know Tim Schafer really well [laughs]. So yes, have Tim Schafer write the script, and then have 2 Player Productions film it and edit it, and then you'll be great, that's it!
No, I guess that all Kickstarters are different. Our approach was to get people excited about getting in on the ground floor, getting them excited about the core concept, that it's all about [being involved in] this pre-production phase. Other games will have alpha footage or beta footage, and [developers] will just need money for the final push. So it's cool that it can support all kinds of different approaches. The rules are still being written.
So, do the research, examine the ones that were successful, and examine the ones that were not successful -- think about why they weren't successful.
Really, I just totally support anyone who has the gusto to launch a Kickstarter. It's nerve-wracking. What all Kickstarters have in common is that they all start at zero dollars. You don't know what's going to happen. So many factors are out of your control.