Kickstarting a game can be a long, sometimes arduous journey for developers. To get a sense of how, the team behind Kickstarter project Eiyuden Chronicle recently sat down with another high-profile crowd-funded developer and former colleague to learn more about it.
Koji Igarashi set records with his Kickstarter for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a Castlevania spiritual successor that launched last year. Rabbit & Bear Studios, the team behind the increasingly successful Kickstarter for Suikoden successor Eiyuden Chronicle sat down with Igarashi as part of its latest update, to talk about the ups and downs of crowdfunded development.
Bloodstained had a rocky development process, with several years put into building the game. It launched without features that were later patched in and promised modes that had to eventually be cut. Even though the final result was solid, Igarashi acknowledges it wasn't as smooth as he'd hoped.
"Whenever we creators finish a product, we're always proud of what we've done, but we still feel like we could have done more," said Igarashi. "With Bloodstained, there were a lot of things I wanted to do that I ended up having to cut, as well as several points where I was unable to keep my promises to backers. I still feel very sorry about those things, but I'm still very satisfied that we were able to release the game in its current form."
The short interview is a surprisingly honest, candid reflection on the struggles of Kickstarter development. Nadia and I discussed this in a recent Blood God, but with Kickstarters as large as Eiyuden Chronicles, the promises and milestones can start to add up over time. 109 characters sounds great as a stretch goal, but at some point you have to actually make 109 characters.
As Igarashi notes, games can fluidly change throughout development, as the creators behind them discover some mechanics simply don't click, or something just needs to be changed. He says if he could change one thing about that process, he'd give creators a one-time right to break a big promise.
"When we work on a game, we often feel that we know what will be fun from the start, but as we work on it, there may be times we realize we were mistaken about something," said Igarashi. "I think it would be better if one time we were able to apologize and make a big change that's needed."
Bloodstained at least turned out alright, and even spawned a successful spinoff series too. Despite the regrets, things seemed to work well for Igarashi. As for Rabbit & Bear, the studio's Kickstarter for Eiyuden Chronicle is near the home stretch. The studio will be hosting a closing stream tomorrow, starting at 8 a.m. ET on its Twitch channel, to celebrate. The Suikoden successor was funded within hours, but fans have continued to support the campaign and clear even more milestones.