Getting to the Other Side (a message from the producer)
Games are difficult to create.
They are a careful balance of thousands of small decisions, each overlapping to create a whole, each becoming transparent, and hopefully, it just works.
Our team is small. From the beginning, when we launched our project in the same company as Mighty No. 9 and Shantae: Half Genie Hero, we were the underdogs. And we liked it that way, because it motivated us to do our best, and leaving nothing back as we stepped up to make the game we had been dreaming about for decades.
And we’re doing just that.
But you've likely noticed our absence on the forums and the lengthening time between posts here on Kickstarter. I don’t believe any project like this ever launches with the goal of being silent. In fact, communicating with the people who share your dream and are willing to back it, is the very heart of projects like this. We feel the same absence as you do.
There are real human elements to shipping a project of this size. If you spend your days overcoming obstacles and making progress for the much anticipated final product, but don’t get the word out or share what you’ve done with the community at large, you feel behind. If you spend the day reaching out, answering the many questions that come in from fans around the globe, and as a result you can’t get as much raw programming in, you feel behind. Some days you learn about the limits of the human energy system. Other days you are on fire.
Most of the time, we’ve erred on the side of development, and I hope you’ll understand. We are not yet a full scale game studio, we’re a grass roots team absolutely dedicated to our game. It’s really us answering emails, negotiating with manufacturers, speaking to the media. And in the morning, noon, and moonlight hours, building it together.
That last few months have not been easy. We have had unexpected injuries and challenges, lost budget to foreign exchange, to say nothing of the volume of work we’ve taken on in our effort to build an expansive, fulfilling chapter in River City history. Here are a few lessons I've learned personally:
Fulfillment is a process, not an event
I had this idea that we would order shirts and posters in one grand gesture. Then, it became clear that “please answer your survey” is not a siren call to action. While the majority of backers answered their surveys on time, with a lockdown date at the end of February, we still only have roughly 30% of our backers in a state where we can order their rewards. So, we’ve decided to go ahead with fulfillment on a rolling basis and get started now, and we’re submitting our first shirt batch for production. While we may be shipping small batches of rewards for the foreseeable future, we don’t want this process to hold anyone up who has taken the time to fully answer their survey.
I’m all kinds of excited about the boxed reproduction game reward. I’m happy to say that the design is near final and we should be in production this month.
You have to walk before you can run
I admit, I likely spent too much time in the last while trying to raise additional capital to reach our console goals. So many fans have written to express their desire to see the game on Xbox, PlayStation, WiiU, and 3DS, and as a gamer I feel these are important goals. We didn't raise the development funds needed to deal with the additional complexity of console development during Kickstarter, so I made countless pitches, to publishers, angel investors, anyone who might appreciate the potential of bringing RCRU to the couch. At this stage, I believe the best course of action is to focus those efforts back on development, make a solid game on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and then look to the future. I’m optimistic that sales on PCs will unlock these goals for everyone, and we can begin anew on a multi-console edition of the game in the future.
Stay calm, it’s common
I don’t think there are more assuring words to hear from other game developers, especially when dealing with scheduling overage and the many challenges of making a large, ambitious game like ours come together. I have been blessed to meet many developers, commiserated, learned, and ultimately came away with new tools to get the job done. One developer that our team really looks up to, said something to us even before we reached the finish line on Kickstarter. “Take your time on this one”, he said, “and do it the right way.”
While we are constantly mindful of the time, that’s our plan. A Kickstarter project is a marathon, not a sprint, for the creators, and the backers. We’re not perfect and we’ve made some mistakes that have cost us time, and you may have felt in the dark recently. That's on me.
We will share with you some photos of your reward production as soon as we get them, and look forward to seeing everyone at the finish line. We'll also set up a "Reddit AMA" in early June so you can ask us any questions you have about our progress to date.