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Crackdown 2 studio among devs hoping for funding via Square Enix Collective Exclusive

 Crackdown 2  studio among devs hoping for funding via Square Enix Collective
January 27, 2014 | By Mike Rose

January 27, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing, Exclusive

Crackdown 2 studio Ruffian Games is today one of three studios that has announced a new title, through which it will utilize the Square Enix Collective curated publishing platform.

The Square Enix Collective platform will allow game designers to post ideas for games, which can then be judged by the Collective community, made up of players signed up to the platform. If the community decides that an idea is great, Square Enix will then utilize a partnership with crowdfunding website Indiegogo to help get the game idea funded and development underway, and provide distribution services once the game is ready to ship.

To make sure that everything is in order for the launch later this year, Square Enix is running a pilot program for Collective, and has signed on three indie studios to the cause: Ruffian Games, Kitfox Games, and Tuque Games.

Game of Glens from Dundee-based company Ruffian Games is the first title that the Collective community will get to vote on. It's a resource management title that revolves around a clan of Scotsmen competing in highland games, and see players building physical structures and firing projectiles at each other.

GoG 1.jpgGame of Glens

Meanwhile, Shattered Planet studio Kitfox Games is looking to test out Collective reactions to its new title Moon Hunters, while Tuque Games wants to know how the community feels about World War Machine.

This pilot round of projects will run for 28 days, at which point the community will have decided which of the three projects, if any, they want to go through to the crowdfunding stage.

Notably, Ruffian is utilizing Collective to diversify its income, while both Kitfox and Tuque are signed on to Collective in a bid to establish themselves. Square Enix is hoping that this will show how diverse the platform can be for developers.

Tanya X Short, designer at Kitfox Games, explained, "We see Collective as an opportunity to get Moon Hunters more coverage than we can get on our lonesome, and really connect with potential fans that otherwise wouldn't hear us."

And Tuque Games' Jeff Hattem added that, "The initiative gives players a voice to let Square Enix know which games they want to see get made and the power to influence the raw, early-stage development process... I'm both excited and terrified to see how players will react and what they have in store for game devs like us."

What is Game of Glens?

But what of Ruffian Games and its new title? First off, it's worth noting that Game of Glens isn't actually entirely new. It was originally called Tribal Towers, and Ruffian showed it off plenty at the start of 2013.

However, as Ruffian producer James Cope explains to Gamasutra, the team wasn't completely convinced with how it was looking, and a big change was necessary.

GoG 2.jpg"We were always really happy with the core gameplay mechanics in Tribal Towers, we ran a limited alpha test in summer 2013 to gauge the opinion of people that weren't close to the game and we got some really great feedback," he says. "As it turned out, that feedback just emphasized some of our privately held concerns; there were some issues with game complexity and we just didn't think the visual style was strong enough."

Following this alpha, the studio put the game on hold for a few months while it focused on another project -- this gave the team some time to re-imagine the base concept behind Tribal Towers.

"As part of that re-imagining process, Game of Glens was born out of some concept art that we really liked," notes Cope. "The bearded Scottish clansmen are immediately appealing and suggestive of fun. Being a Scottish Studio, and given our Ruffian nature, it felt right to embrace our slightly stereotyped heritage in a light-hearted manner."

At this point, everything slotted into place for the studio: "We'd sort of painted ourselves into a corner with Tribal Towers, but re-imagining it as Game of Glens has opened loads of new creative opportunities," adds the producer.

The core design focus for Game of Glens is gathering, building and fighting. "Anyone with kids sees how building towers and knocking them down comes so naturally to people," Cope says. "It forms a really tight central mechanic that we can build a lot of strategy around. We have a 1 vs 1 multiplayer prototype just now, and even with only one set of weapons and only one map, we keep finding new strategies and really tense gameplay emerge from simple set of mechanics."

GoG 3.jpgGame of Glens is still a long way off, as the Square Enix Collective participation might suggest. This is simply the first step towards crowd-funding the concept, and gives the studio, which has not tried crowd-funding yet, a bit of a springboard.

"Initially it's for PC, but we’d love to see more platforms follow as we've already got various control schemes prototyped that work across different types of controllers," Cope notes. "Finding the right funding for Game of Glens has been the biggest struggle, it’s not a game that fits into any existing genres or play styles so it’s a difficult sell in a traditional sense."

"But it's a game we really believe in because we already have a lot of fun playing it, we know it's something unique and different which has a great appeal in itself. So Collective is great way for us to get the idea of this game across to an audience and it’ll hopefully start us on a path to getting it released."

You can find details on how to back each game in the Collective pilot on the official website.

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