A fictional web drama that takes a more serious look at the world of video game development.
HELP US RAISE SOME HELL
What is Development Hell?
Colloquially, "development hell" refers to a project (such as a game or a film) that is stuck in the development stage, with no end in sight; but as far as this Kickstarter is concerned, the phrase means "a dramatic web series about videogame development made by gamers, for gamers."
The year is 2004, and the gaming industry is evolving from a closeted niche marketplace to a cultural phenomenon with its own fascinating identity and personality. Sweeping changes are coming from every direction, sending excited whispers rippling through the collective psyche, like Janet Jackson's "fumble" at the Super Bowl earlier that year, or that invite-only online club called Facebook. These rumors contained names both new and old that promised a mysterious but exciting future for gamers: Xenon. Revolution. PlayStation 3. DS. Half-Life 2. Halo 2. Acclaim was on the brink of closing its doors, Valve had just launched some questionable new gaming platform -- Steam -- and Midway was buying up developers left and right. Even the long-overdue resurrection of the Doom franchise had gamers foaming at the mouth.
This is world of Development Hell. The Lost Cartographers, a young, up-and-coming video game development studio from Seattle, Washington, is looking to finish its third title. The Cartographers have seen moderate success with their first two titles, The Adventures of Sirli Hagster (2001) and The Wanderer (2003), but this next project is their most ambitious yet. Completing anything as complex and intricate as a video game is already far from easy, but when the studio begins to suffer from internal disagreements, a tarnished reputation, and the looming threat of bankruptcy, it can be easy to lose all hope. If you'd like some more info on the series, whether it's to view the pilot episode in full HD or just to get some extra insight into the world of our show, please feel free to visit our website!
Why Video Games?
Considering how many cookie-cutter series there are about criminal investigation, adorably dysfunctional families, the drama of young misfits living together on a certain shoreline, and hospitals comprised of uncannily attractive medical teams, isn’t it about time we had one about a video game development studio?
We think so, and we’re hoping you’ll agree Development Hell can fill that weird yet strangely familiar cartridge-shaped slot in your life. We feel there are already a number of talented people and groups that tap into game industry and culture for comedy, and while we dig those shows, we don’t want to retread the works of others; we’d like to mine it for a more dramatic take that hasn’t been done before. We want to do something new. Hence: Development Hell.
Now, we’re not instilling a “NO LAUGHING AND/OR GIGGLING” policy or anything like that. We like to laugh and/or giggle, too, and we actually hope you will laugh and/or giggle during moments of our show. That just isn’t our primary objective.
The most notable but overlooked aspect about this industry is its humanity, and this is what we most want to convey in our show. Gamers love to follow the industry because we can identify with the endearingly eccentric visionaries that have changed the landscape over the years -- Gabe Newell, David Jaffe, Goichi Suda, Markus "Notch" Persson, Cliff Bleszinski , Tim Schafer, Ken Levine, Ed Boon -- we could go on and on. These and countless others are etched into the hearts of millions of gamers worldwide, and they are remembered not only as names, but as people. Whether you love them or love to hate them, these personalities resonate with fans because we've grown to know them over the years through their work as well as their presence online, at expos, or even in personal correspondence. It's their stories that we want to synthesize and emulate, as a tribute to those who made this limitless medium what it is today.
But there's plenty of documentaries about game development already!
We know that there have been many excellent documentaries made that follow a game studio's journey to make the next big title, and there's good reason for this: the field of video game development is competitive, volatile, risky and unpredictable. But many of these "making of" exhibits, like the ones included in the special edition releases of big name titles, don't show the whole picture. As the products of marketing departments, these insights have been plucked of their tension and sanitized by publishers in order to maintain a pristine image for the public. We want to see what's behind the veil. Additionally, we get the creative edge of being able to wholly sculpt the characters, relationships, story arcs and conflicts that appear in our world, which we think is really cool. Honestly, we’re a little perplexed that no one’s tried to capture the excitement of it all in a dramatic fashion like this in the past.
We want to make a web series called Development Hell. The writing will be dramatic and funny and involve video game development. It will also be fictional and may or may not contain metaphors that your old English teachers would totally dig. The show will also probably reference things you enjoy and that will also be cool. If you help fund us we’ll give you some nice stuff in return.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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For your interest and generosity, you get a digital "Thank You" card and our eternal, borderline-fanatical affection.Estimated delivery:
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For those who remember how to play with power, you'll receive a DRM-free download of Drew Agler's excellent soundtrack for the series (which you can sample in our project video!). We'll also display your name on the DevHell website so everyone will know what a great supporter you are! (Plus previous reward tier)Estimated delivery:
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For being such a Super Supporter of the show's Genesis, you'll be able to digitally download the series in HD, plus we'll send you 3 limited edition Development Hell buttons! (Plus all previous reward tiers, international shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
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You'll get Development Hell, the series, collected on DVD, in a full-size printed DVD case. A must-have for all of those who still enjoy physical copies of their property! (Plus all previous reward tiers, international shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
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Upgrade to the Special Edition DVD of Development Hell. This includes a behind-the-scenes making-of featurette, bloopers, and commentary, and will come in "The Adventures of Sirli Hagster"-design Digipak packaging! (Plus all previous reward tiers, international shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
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Prove what an Ultra fan you are: you'll receive a '64-bit Associate Producer' credit in every episode of season one (and the website) as well as two Kickstarter exclusives: a Development Hell t-shirt and 27"x40" poster of The Wanderer, neither of which will be printed again! (Plus all previous reward tiers, international shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
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7 backers Limited (393 left of 400)
This one has us really excited: we call it "The Cube." It's a super-limited edition box set that includes the special edition DVD and a blu-ray, the full-resolution soundtrack on CD, a professionally published, full-color 40-page book containing production artwork and DevHell companion writings (such as the Marty Weisman interviews), a certificate of authenticity printed from a hand-cut woodblock on a used script page that's signed and numbered by the creators, plus get upgraded to a '128-bit Producer' credit in every episode (and the website). Sounds cool right? We think so too, but... we decided that for your outstanding patronage, you deserve more. So if we sell over 200 of these, we'll throw in Drew Agler's excellent soundtrack pressed in 150 grams of colorful vinyl, never to be pressed again! (Plus all previous reward tiers, international shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
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4 backers Limited (16 left of 20)
Feel like picking our brains? For $256, you get an hour-long Skype call with the creators of Development Hell! (Plus all previous reward tiers -- yes, including the Cube! International shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
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Think you can take us? If you can round up the scratch, you get an evening of online gaming (you pick the game!) with the DevHell creators on Steam, XBL, or PSN. (Plus all previous reward tiers, international shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
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Wow, you must really want this show! How's this for an idea -- you come to Lafayette and have a walk-on role in an episode, then hang out with the development team for the rest of the day when we're done filming. (Plus reward tiers 1-9, travel expenses and international shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
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You become part of the show! We work your name, likeness, catch phrase, or any other aspect of you into the show's lore -- forever! Please notice that eligibility for this will be at the creators' discretion -- we need to approve the idea before it gets the green-light for production! (Plus reward tiers 1-9, international shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
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Welcome to the next level! You get to be the co-director for an episode and hang out with the development team. Come visit Lafayette for a weekend, help us direct an episode, and we'll make sure to show you a good time! (Plus reward tiers 1-9, travel expenses and international shipping not included.)Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)