A month ago, we were all pretty nervous. After almost two years of struggle, we faced a do-or-die situation. There was no other chance to get financing for our game than doing a crowd-funding campaign. No publisher was willing to risk their money on a weird, historical game for a “niche” audience. No investor was going to step in without proof that their investment was going to pay off.
It wasn’t all hopeless; we had research that proved that the ideas of our game were resonating with gamers. But other voices were skeptical – “Kickstarter’s popularity is waning.” “The Olympics will sap our coverage.” “We’re not true indies – Kickstarter isn’t for people like us…”
I was very nervous. I had done my homework. I had studied all the unsuccessful campaigns that asked for more than US$500,000, and I knew a lot about the campaigns for projects similar to ours that managed to raise way over one million dollars. Those that didn’t had done something wrong, or their games just weren’t good enough. But was our game good enough?
And what about the press? Were they going to like it? Hadn’t they seen things much better behind closed doors? Some unannounced, next-gen, big-budget RPG we could never compete with? Were they going to be interested in a weird game from a little studio from some small country far, far away?
Then there were our fellow citizens in the Czech Republic – the most skeptical and sarcastic nation on the planet: “You are crazy! Who is going to be interested in history! In OUR history! Nobody cares about us!”
Hell, we even had problems finding a PR agency to represent us. We tried to hire several two months before the campaign, but everyone basically ignored us. Everyone told us that they don’t do Kickstarters – that press doesn’t cover Kickstarter projects anymore. Luckily, we met Corey Wade from US agency Sandbox Strategies, who believed in the project and quickly brought in Claudia Kuehl and Patrick Schroder from DELASOCIAL to focus on Germany. They got us in front of the press and thankfully the journalists responded positively and posted thoughtful previews of the game early in the Kickstarter campaign.
It took us a whole weekend to shoot the Kickstarter video with me telling the story. It was a last minute recording, and we did it in English knowing that, if my accent was too thick, it could have a terrible impact. I’m not a native speaker - how could our video compete with their awesome work?
That’s what was in our minds when we pressed that green PUBLISH button on our Kickstarter page one month ago…
The day we launched our campaign, I woke up in the morning to find we were the lead article on the front page of GameSpot, with our artwork all over the screen. Wow. And there was so much more to come. The response from gamers was even better. Better than we could ever wish for. It became clear that there are quite a few people out there who have similar tastes in games to our own.
The main “reason” we were rejected by all the publishers turned out to be totally false. Not only do people not need fantasy or magic or dragons to enjoy a game, they desperately want games without them! Along the way, we were fortunate to receive support and promotion for the game from such personas as Chris Roberts, Brian Fargo, Sven Vincke, and others. It’s really been one helluva ride.
We have raised almost 400% of our original goal. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is among the 30 most-funded Kickstarter projects of all time and in the top 15 of videogame projects. We have 35 thousand backers, with an average pledge of US$52. Our YouTube channel has more than a million views.
Simply said: You are awesome! Thank You!
So, what’s next? Now we have to make the game! We feel a lot of responsibility and obligation to deliver on our vision after so many people put so much of their trust into our project. It’s going to be hard to satisfy all those expectations, but we will do all we can not to disappoint you.
I will finally have time to sit down with the designers and start writing the quests and storyline. Next month, we will be joined by twelve new colleagues (some of them quite experienced senior developers from the recently disbanded 2K Czech studio in Prague). In just a few months, we plan to grow to more than 50 people, so we can make the big game we first dreamed of.
Of course, we will continue to openly blog about development, as we have in the past. Since we don’t need to hide anything anymore, it should be even more interesting. You can follow our blog here.
We will also continue to raise money on our own webpage, where you will be able to get most of the same, terrific rewards and early access to the game, if for whatever reason you didn’t or couldn’t pledge in the past month. Our shop will accept PayPal and Amazon Payments, as many of you asked. We will continue to add new stretch goals as we can.
As promised, we will release an Alpha version in about six months to all those who pledged Baron-level support and higher, and we’ll be carefully looking at your feedback on our forums, which are open to all of our backers. By mid-2015, we should release the Beta, followed by the final version of Act I.
So, on behalf of the whole team, thank you again for your generous support and enthusiasm. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we are going to have a little celebration!
Dan Vávra Creative Director, Warhorse Studios