The Kickstarter's initial Switch port was scrapped, after outcry that the stretch goal was far too expensive (at a whopping $4.95 million). Later, the Kickstarter buckled in terms of actual funding. With only 10 days to go, the project is only partially funded. And all along, the crowdfunding campaign was missing one essential ingredient to its recipe: gameplay footage.
All Kickstarter backers had to go by were (albeit charming) key art, a small taste of music, and a promise for what's to come in the action-rhythm game. Only now, with again only 10 days remaining of its low-funded Kickstarter, has the team revealed a snippet of a gameplay prototype.
The footage is short, barely over a minute long. It shows the rappin' rabbit hero pit against a giant snake named Mamushi Chinpira. The game isn't as straightforward as most rhythm games. Instead, you choose the rabbit's next verse, each tied to a specific perk that might exploit the snake's weakness. The prototype is very rough, even featuring lyrics and rapping from noted "non-rapper" Keiichi Yano himself.
With this gameplay teaser released so late in the campaign itself and the end of the Kickstarter rolling straight into E3 week, it's growing increasingly doubtful that the game will reach its end goal. At this point in time, it's raised only $175,571 of its $1,090,173 goal. It's a shame too, because the world could use some more cartoonish action-rhythm games from the likes of masterminds Masaya Matsuura and Keiichi Yano. Maybe this is a sign of Kickstarter doubtfulness and fatigue after failures in the past. Or maybe a gameplay prototype from the jump would have helped.
If the Kickstarter fails though, it might not be the end of Project Rap Rabbit. At BitSummit 2017, we caught up with Yano to talk the new collaboration, and its worries. "We're not thinking about the 'fail' scenario yet, though I understand that some people are disappointed about where we're at currently," said Yano. "I'm sure, yeah, in an ideal world we'd be in a better situation. But there are still a lot of things about the game we haven't exposed yet, and I think a lot of people are saying, 'Well, there's no demo.' And that was one of those things... we just couldn't get it ready in time for the beginning of the Kickstarter campaign, which was probably our bad. But I think when people see it, the proof will be in the pudding, and they'll get it."