Three months ago, Square Enix took a step into new territory with the announcement of its crowd-funded, indie-centric Collective program. The idea was that developers would pitch their ideas on the Collective website, start a funding drive on IndieGoGo if fans liked the idea, and then the finished product would be published by Square Enix. At the time, the most newsworthy part of the service was that the publisher was allowing each developer to pitch game ideas using older Square Enix IP, like Gex, Fear Effect, or Anachronox.
It seems Square Enix' old IP wasn't even interesting to indies, as the inaugural members of the Collective have all brought their original ideas to the table. Today, Square Enix announced the first developers in the program: Ruffian Games, Kitfox Games, and Tuque Games. Crackdown fans will recognize Ruffian Games as the developer of Crackdown 2, but the other two developers are brand-new.
Ruffian's contribution is Game of Glens, a cartoony Scottish-themed mini-game collection that currently has the lowest approval rating on the Collective. Kitfox Games has pitched Moon Hunters, an open-world, top-down adventure game featuring four-player co-op and procedurally-generated levels. Finally, Tuque Games is the current Collective leader with World War Machine, an action-RPG that places you in the cockpit of a highly-customized AI machine.
"There are lots of really talented small teams around the world with great game ideas. For those teams, getting visibility, momentum, funding and distribution can be very tricky and that's where we hope Collective can help," says Collective project lead Phil Elliott. "It's up to the teams how much or little help they want from Square Enix and it's our opportunity to help some fantastic games become a reality and uncover the development stars of the future."
"We're not funding games directly. Normally in the publisher developer relationship the publisher brings the money and the developer brings the expertise. We are creating a platform and we're inviting developers to make use of that platform," Elliott told GamesIndustry International. "Revenue isn't the primary driver for us, launching Collective, we think it it's important for the industry that there are good pipelines for new talent and creativity to come through."
The pitch drive for this pilot phase begins today and will run for 28 days in total. Any survivors then move on to IndieGoGo to begin raising funding.