Recently, game developers have been tapping into microfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo to fund games that may not appeal to publishers. This creates a unique opportunity for fans to directly influence the games they want to play. Jane Jensen of Pinkerton Road Studio has done exactly that, giving her fans the chance to get a new game with his distinct touch. We were able to ask a few questions about the project so without further ado we present Jane Jensen.
NGN: What made you decide that Kickstarter was the best way to get your game developed? Why not approach a 3rd party publisher?
JJ: A publisher would probably not be interested in an original adventure game like Moebius, and if they did fund it completely they would expect to get the IP (intellectual property) rights, which we are not willing to give up.
NGN: Do you believe it would be viable to completely cut out publishers with gamer funded projects from Kickstarter?
JJ: I don’t think it will work for all developers and all projects. I think it will suit some devs/designers and not others. Also, it’s not about cutting out the publisher entirely. Once the game is close to final, we will likely use a publisher to get maximum distribution. But when you can come to a publisher with a game already done and polished, you can negotiate a much better deal, you can retain more of a percentage and the IP rights.
NGN: Do you feel more accountable towards individuals funding your game than you would a corporate publisher? How do you plan to meet your fans expectations?
JJ: I wouldn’t say *more* accountable, but we definitely need to keep our CSG members happy. There is no way you can please everyone, but you can listen to what the vast majority say. We’ll put out professional and fun communications and updates and do the best job we possibly can on the games, getting feedback along the way from the CSG members and responding to it in a way we feel is appropriate but doesn’t compromise the vision. We’ll see how this first year goes! Really, I think this is so new no one knows entirely what to expect. It’s uncharted territory.
NGN: How do you plan to keep the backers involved in the development process? How much say will they have in the final product?
JJ: We will do some player insights testing on concepts and also do alpha and beta testing with our CSG members. Like any beta testing, we’ll get a lot of feedback and we’ll need to filter that — what makes sense, what is a reoccurring thread in the feedback vs just one or two adamant opinions. Except we’ll be doing more of that, I would say, all along the process.
NGN: What is your vision for Moebius and what can gamers expect from this title?
JJ: In Moebius, the main character is Malachi Rector, a man who is part scholar and part adventurer. He tracks down rare antiquities around the world and writes dossiers on their history. He has an eye, almost a 6th sense, for history. He’s hired by a billionaire to investigate and write reports on a series of events. As Rector investigates he starts to realize that the events are not what they seem to be on the surface, but have deeper ties to history. The locations will be modern day, exotic locations around the globe and the storyline is mystery/thriller. We’ll have a “causal adventure” path for those who just want to experience the game without a lot of frustration (it will have hints and objectives) and a “classic adventure” path which will be more like old-school adventure games in challenge (but without things like dying without an auto-restore or pixel hunting).
NGN: We would like to give you the floor, what would you like to say to our audience about this project?
JJ: If you enjoy dramatic story-based adventure games with old-school charm, I think you will love our games this year — Moebius and “Mystery Game X”. They will be longer games and a bit more challenging than more modern adventures, with outstanding art and modern pacing. Besides the games themselves, our backers will get monthly video updates on the progress of the games from our studio, early sketches and other very unusual behind the scenes materials.
We hope you enjoyed our interview, and we’d like to thank Jane Jensen for sitting down with us and answering our questions. If you want to learn more about this project of more about anything mentioned in this interview go to Pinkerton Road Studio’s website here.