This project's funding goal was not reached on October 16, 2013.
About this project
- Using existing and proven technology helps us deliver the game to market FASTER.
- We should be able to deliver the PC and mobile products in late 2014. Provided we reach our funding goal.
- It will substantially reduce our development risk.
- The visual art style of Mutant Football League will be completely different than Football Heroes (MFL will be much grittier).
- The game mechanics of Football Heroes is designed for casual fun. The AI in MFL game will be closer to Madden than Football Heroes.
This video of gameplay from Football Heroes is only a stepping stone of where we want to take the game (it’s our first step). The Art Direction for MUTANT FOOTBALL LEAGUE WILL LOOK VERY DIFFERENT FROM FOOTBALL HEROES. It will be a much grittier art style.
"Sega Genesis fans no doubt remember EA’s cult classic Mutant League Football, a title that blends well-crafted football game with macabre monsters, booby-trapped fields, a satirical sense of humor, and comic violence. Released in 1993, the game offered an oddball take on the sport that drew in both fans of Madden and gamers who generally didn’t play sports titles." - Written by: Matt Helgeson
The October 2013 issue features an interview with Michael Mendheim
Join Gameinformer's, Andrew Reiner, Matt Helgeson, Kim Wallace, Ben Reeves and Jason Oestreicher in the Replay studio to watch them play a game of the original Mutant League Football.
An all-star team of talent has been assembled to breathe new life into one of the video game industry’s most beloved, and downright brutal, sports-hybrid genres. Michael Mendheim, the original creator and lead designer of the original Mutant League Football & Hockey, is driving the effort to resurrect this classic gaming genre with a brand new game, entitled Mutant Football League™. With fan support, and a successful Kickstarter campaign, Mendheim is planning to release his Mutant Football League game on PC / Steam, Xbox LIVE, PSN, as well as on iOS and Android tablets.
My name is Michael Mendheim and I was the creator and lead designer for the original game, which I pitched to studio executives at Electronic Arts in late 1991. The game was released in 1993 and went on to become a #1 hit and was nominated for best sports game of the year by Jeff Gerstmann, Electronic Games and Gamepro magazines.
Mutant League also spawned a syndicated television series, a comic, a toy line and a sequel called, Mutant League Hockey. Then the game was suddenly cancelled and Mutant League was no more.
We want to create a new and very different game that pays homage to the original game.
Mutants take the field to battle it out in the most violent game ever played in this hilarious and brutal parody of professional Football. Mutant Football League pays homage to the classic Sega Genesis game by building a great playing action football game with deep strategy, creature customization, over-the-top violence and of course laugh-out-loud gross out humor.
Mutant Football League can be played as a single or multiplayer game online or off. You can choose which Mutant Football League team you wants to play as from a variety of teams with different characters, play styles, strengths and weaknesses. Once you decide you can either jump right into the savagery of the sport or you can customize the game to your own individual tastes (quarter lengths, brutality level, play modes, etc). You can also create your own team, your team colors, name and logo. You can pick the players on your team (species types and positions they play), give your players names, adjust their ratings and select your coach. Once teams and options are chosen, the carnage can begin.
The game is viewed from a Tecmo style camera angle to capture the look and feel of a real televised NFL Football game. The camera will dynamically zoom in or out based on the on field action. You’ll be able to see all the action down the entire field or get up close to the bloody smears that used to be your team mate.
You can either play a single exhibition game without worrying all the “extras” or you can enter into a Season Story Mode or Playoffs in a quest to ultimately win the Mutant Mayhem Bowl and bring home the beloved Monster Cup to your screaming fans.
Teams and Characters:
Mutant Football League will put you into an action packed sports game and will introduce you to some of the wildest, most bloodthirsty superstar players to ever strap on shoulder spikes. Races include: Mutants, Monsters, The Undead, Battlebots, Enforcers, and more!
There will be at least 30 vicious teams to choose from (some of these teams will be unlockable). The teams are split into two conferences: The Mutant Conference and the Monster Conference.
Offense and Defense:
The game is played with eight (8) players on each side. A forfeit happens when one team cannot field a team of at least four (4) players or if they run out of Quarterbacks. Here’s how positions break down on the field:
The Offense must be able to put at least 2 blockers, 1 QB, at least 1 Runner (or Receiver) on the field. If it cannot meet this requirement it will forfeit.
The Defense must be able to field at least 4 players of any combination.
Playing Fields :
The game is on a standard football field – yet no two fields are the same. Each field will be “personalized” with obstacles and hazards to suit the playing style of the home team. Certain fields will have sidelines that are free and clear for cowardly receivers to run out of, others will be stacked high with barbed wire making running out of bounds to stop the clock impossible.
The object of the game is simple – either score more points than the opposition by the time the final war horn sounds or kill as many opposing players as you can so they forfeit! But remember, you still need to keep your own team and superstar players intact because you’ll have to forfeit if you can’t field a team of at least four Players.
You can score in a variety of ways – from the standard “old-world” touchdown, to the rare and spectacular “ClusterF#$@!!!” play (which can be worth a total of fifteen points), to one of the many bizarre interpretations of the classic “field goal” like my personal favorite – “drawing and quartering” – with a screaming fan spectator strung up between the posts.
Dirty Tricks and Death:
You will also need to decide when to use the Dirty Trick Play, which will often inflict death and injuries on the opposition. Each player will have a Health Bar that appears underneath him when highlighted. As they take heavy hits, the combatants will start to tire. A player’s Health Bar starts out full red and as his health is diminished, the red health will empty out to reveal black. When a player’s health bar is almost completely black, he will be a prime candidate to get injured, lose an arm, or even get killed. If the health bar turns completely black, it’s lights out for that player – he’s deader than the free world economy. It is important to always keep a full roster so that players who are tired and beat up can be sat on the bench, where they can start to recharge their devastated health levels. Managing your stars and reserves is the key to being successful in the Mutant Football League. It’s where the intellectual chess game is played and managing your resources well is what separates great strategic players from the rest of the crowd. When a player gets killed his body will remain on the field as a testament to his abilities until it rots away (usually a few plays later). While a body is on the field it is considered an obstacle (like a rock) and player need to avoid it or they will trip and fall over it.
Experience and RPG Elements
As the players on the team gain more experience they earn points and these points can be used to upgrade players. Before or after each game you can upgrade individual ratings of your players so that they are better, faster, and stronger.
Rules of Engagement :
There are very few rules in the League and very few penalties given during a game. In fact, a team can often get more penalties for doing nothing if there is a dishonest referee than it can from slaughtering an entire team. Fights will often break out during games and will last until only one player is standing. Remember – punching, stomping, chopping, blowing up, or vivisecting a player will not get you ejected in this league – but it could earn you an MVP along with a lifetime contract. It’s up to you to lead your team through a season of sacrifices (only some of which are for personal enjoyment) toward the ultimate championship game of the most vicious sport in the galaxy – The Mutant Mayhem Bowl! If you live, you will be drinking type O Negative from the Monster Cup and celebrating with the remains of your compatriots. If you don’t, you’ll still be there next season – as a permanent part of the astroturf! Oh and last thing, if you have a problem with the ref you can still kill him.
Help us design the game you want to play!!!
You can help us decide what kind of creatures, teams, weapons, fields, and obstacles will be in the final product. That’s right, be part of the design team! There will be a private online design community set up for the backers to discuss the project with the development team. You can let us know your thoughts and feelings about the project and even vote on key design and marketing decisions such as weapon types, team & player names, dirty trick plays and the visual look of the characters.
Our plan is to deliver you a fun and hilarious game in 14 to 18 months or die trying (seriously - we will do our best to get the game out on time but what's most important is to deliver you a great playing football game).
Because this game was loved and still is to this day and the fans deserve it. Because no game publisher will take a risk on the idea after ten years of trying. The only way this game is going to get made is if YOU HELP US MAKE IT HAPPEN!
In return we’ll put together an incredible team and give this project everything we have to deliver you a great playing football game with deep strategy, buckets of blood and plenty of off-the-wall moments that will make this game one of the most fun and memorable experiences you will ever have playing a sports video game. This is my promise to you... Now get out there and help us win one for the ripper!
This is the talent who are on board now. If this game becomes a reality because of your generosity, there will be more incredible talent joining us. Stay tuned and watch who gets unveiled in the coming days.
Michael Mendheim will be Directing & Producing the project. He will personally oversee all aspects of game design.
Dave Devries will be working with Robomodo to define the visual art direction of the game including characters and stadiums.
Robomodo will be helping to define the games art direction as well as create and produce art and visual effects assets for the game.
Dave Elliott will be working with us to create and define the Mutant Football League universe and it's characters.
Jay Lender will be co-writing the story of the game as well as helping shape the universe. Jay is also the guy making sure the game is going to make you laugh with tongue through-the-cheek gross out humor.
Micah Wright will be co-writing the story and helping us drive game & character design. When Jay's joke's get stale, Micah takes over and keeps everything fresh (just kidding Jay).
Detailed overview of all Mutant Football League Reward Packages.
We're just going to focus on hitting the main goal. We absolutely want to put the game across all next gen systems.
Risks and challenges
The project team behind this project has extensive experience in videogame design & development producing a magnitude of unique titles across different hardware platforms including, XBox 360, Playstation3, iOS and Android. We've learned from both our successes and failures on what to do and not to do. Going into this development, it is critically important to keep the product extremely focused and not implement too many different features. Our strategy is to deliver a fun and humorous game and then to gradually build on the engine and add more features it over time. Developing a Football game engine is very difficult and takes a lot of time. The core development leads have already developed numerous sports titles and understand the challenges they will face. As Creative Director and Producer of the project, Michael is hard at work building a small team of developers who have a wealth of experience engineering football and sports games and is in negotiations with several different companies concerning licensing an existing sports engine. Deals will be put in place and moved on, if our funding goals are reached. There is simply no better way to reduce development risk than to build the game on an existing and proven Football game engine.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We will not stop trying to get this game to market. Once this campaign is over, we will regroup and figure out a plan (with all of you) to move things forward and try again. One way or another we will find a way to make this happen.
When will this happen?
We are not sure yet but it won’t take another 20 years. Hopefully at some point early next year.
What about Quality?
Concerning Quality… If you care about a product with all your heart you're going to make it the best product possible within the constraints you've been given. That being said, there are some ways to reduce the overall cost of the product. This doesn’t equate to lowering quality standards but it may mean to initially work with less costly talent, or deliver the product on less platforms or reduce overall game scope, which is fine. The most important thing is at least have the chance to build the game, and then when we can bring a fun game to market, that delivers on expectations. When that happens we will experience success, which will allow us to do more with the brand.
We just need a chance…
Right now, we just want to have the opportunity to step up to the plate and take a swing at the ball but we're sitting on the bench without opportunity to do so. Our main goal is to get to the plate. To do that there will need to be some compromise. This could be anything from reducing the number of platforms or features, to working with more cost efficient talent. We'll figure out what's makes the most sense for the product as we move forward. Everyone, who wants to be a part of this, will be. We'll work together to create a reasonable plan that the majority can get behind and support. Will we be able to deliver everything to everyone right of the gate? Absolutely not, but if the game is successful on one or two platforms, it allows us to make it successful across more platforms and gradually build the brand over time.
Thank you for your support! It means the world to me. We’ll make this project happen somehow. If you haven’t already, please take the MFL Survey and sign up on our e-mail mailing list so I can get back in touch with you and make you part of the process moving forward. You can do all of this here:
Because we want to deliver to you what we promise and we can’t possibly do that for any less.
The worst thing we can imagine is having a successful Kickstarter campaign and then coming back to you 9-10 months later and telling you we are sorry because we don’t have enough money to deliver you the final product. This is currently happening with many products that have been funded through Kickstarter. We’re not going to do that to you or ourselves. If we can’t raise the funding needed to pay for our cost to develop this product, then we simply won’t build it. And that’s okay with us.
• The 750k Price is what it will cost to deliver the product skus.
• We will be completely transparent in costs and show you an overview of our internal budget so
you can see where money is being spent. We share this information with you throughout the
development cycle as well.
• We have no publishers or outside investors right now. The Kickstarter backers – all of you along
with Mendheim’s contributions are funding the entire project from start to finish.
• We will be open to outside investment opportunities should someone want to invest in the
property (we would be crazy not to). With more money we can make a game with higher
production values and the earlier we can start development on next generation systems.
• Also, please remember hiring good talent comes at a price. You get what you pay for.
Before we get into the actual budgeting of our project let’s first look at what it really costs to make a videogame. There are a lot of nice people with a lot of opinions out there on the Kickstarter message boards making statements on development costs, yet these people have never developed a project so they simply do not know what they are talking about. Let’s have a quick look at the average cost of making a video game.
For a Triple AAA title such as Madden 25, GTA4, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, etc., the cost can be anywhere from 80 to 250 million. Yes, that’s correct, you read right.
COST TO DEVELOP A TRIPLE AAA GAME (CURRENT GEN CONSOLES)
GTA5 cost were around 250 million dollars.
Madden alone pays over 50 million dollars in just licensing fees (not including cost of development of marketing). Madden budget undisclosed but estimated costs in excess of 180 million not including marketing, which generally is anywhere from 25% to 40% of development costs.
COST TO DEVELOP AN AVERAGE GAME (CURRENT GEN CONSOLES)
Anywhere from 20-40 Million
AVERAGE COST OF AN XBOX LIVE / PSN GAME
250k to 1 Million plus
AVERAGE COST TO DEVELOP A MOBILE GAME
10k to 250K
WHAT NO NEXT GEN PLATFORMS – WHAT’S THE DEAL???
Just because other developers are promising you that they can deliver you a game on PC, XBox One and PS4 for under 250K doesn't make it true. The reason we don’t have next generation platform games on our Kickstarter Campaign is because it’s going to cost about 1.5 to 2 million per SKU at a minimum to develop these games and that’s just a guess (that’s not building from scratch, that’s porting our existing code over to these systems and upgrading the artwork and adding more 3D). Without seeing the dev systems and actually cutting our teeth on the technology, the cost is really an unknown at this point.
Now let’s move onto what the Mutant Football League budget is.
750K is the pledge we’re asking for.
MUTANT FOOTBALL BUDGET.
The costs below is deducted from the 750K
75K About 10% to Amazon (credit card fees 3% to 5%) & Kickstarter fees (KS takes 5%).
112K About 15% for cost of rewards, shipping fulfillment.
187K Kickstarter Cost Total
Development Costs (for 1 year):
325K Full time Salaries 5 people average salary 65k per year (3 Engineers, 1 Technical artist, 1
designer) – averages to 1.2 people per sku (Mendheim will design & produce but he is off the
books. He’s not taking a salary and not included in headcount).
105k Contractors (art production which includes UI, Animation, fields, characters, cards, visual effects
and objects, writing, concept art).
70k Business Expenses (rent, legal, licensing, utilities, equipment).
35K Audio (SFX, VO and Music).
15k Testing (averages 3k per sku).
550K Dev Total
Deliver 5 skus: Mobile: Ios, Android, PC, PSN and Xbox Live. Average cost per sku: 110K.
737K Total cost of Kickstarter and Development (not including marketing expenses or server costs).
13K Reserve fund.
Dev Plan Overview:
- We’ll have everyone working on mobile first. We’ll be using Run Games tech. We want to get
the mobile versions out as fast as possible so we can start generating revenue.
- iOS / Android Mobile Platforms - Summer 2014.
- Next we will move over to PC version – which will be up and running because Run Games studio
will have been working on this tech already for 9 months at this point.
- We figure 2 to 3 months to port code base.
- PC / Steam - Fall 2014
- PSN XBox Live – Winter 2015
- Start development on Next Generation Systems.
Additional Thoughts on Budget and Dev Strategy:
Our budget breaks down to about 110k per sku. Most seasoned producers in the industry would not feel very warm and fuzzy with these budgets. In fact most would say, this project is under budgeted and does not have enough resource.
Generally, they would be correct but Michael Mendheim used to be an Executive Producer at the 3DO Company and he would release projects under incredibly short deadlines and with very tight budgets. People who worked with him at 3DO like Kudo Tsunoda, Paul Grace or Richard Hicks can tell you battle stories of impossible deadlines and budgets that were achieved. Sometimes they were at the cost of quality, sometimes they were not. It all depended on the situation and the game. We can promise you quality will not be compromised for Mutant Football League.
Licensing the tech behind Football Heroes reduces our development risk tenfold. With this tech we can already gauge fun factor and have complex systems like online play up and running as soon as we start. The awesome talent we’ve brought to the table are working at reduced rates because they are receiving % of the property. They are staked to make it successful. Mendheim is not working for salary and will fund up to 100K if necessary to get the project completed (this would cover hiring a couple additional people if need be). Licensing existing technology from Run Games, which already has thousands upon thousands of man hours, invested in their own tech gives us our competitive edge.
We know how to make good games efficiently and smartly. We’ve learned to squeeze every single penny to maximum effect; how to get the biggest bang for our development buck in everything we do such as, creating game assets so they can be used and shared across multiple platforms without much rework (you would be astonished at how much money is pissed away on reworking problems that didn’t get properly solved the first time around). Also, we know what we’re building because we’ve built it before.
We won’t build any features that are unique to only one platform – every feature we develop, will benefit every sku. We’ll keep the game design modest and attainable. We won’t record actor VO until we are at alpha and know exactly what we need. We’ll deliver the minimum required to deliver the maximum entertainment experience. We’ll stick to our plan and any delays in the production schedule will be because the game needs more polishing and tuning (to increase fun factor), not because we’re adding last minute, features commonly known as “feature creep”.
Again, the budgets we have are extremely tight but by licensing existing technology we have reduced our risk considerably. By working with great talent and experienced developers we insure we can make a fun game, delivered on time (or a reasonable amount of delay) for 750K.
We've been making games for over 25 years; Robomodo has an astonishing track record at developing hit games too. We can handle this.
Your giving away exclusive DLC animations and weapons at higher tiers, won't this unbalance the game?
The animations we are giving away in the reward tiers do not make a character better or more lethal than another character in the game. Each characters strength / power / speed, etc is determined by character attribute ratings, not their animations. These animations are visual eye candy and nothing more. They allow your star characters to perform a visually different celebration, taunts or death, etc than other players.
Having player characters that have a few different animations (and voice overs) adds to creating different personalities between teams and players. It makes things different and unique, especially in multiplayer games. If memory would allow (which it doesn't) we would want to implement unique animation sets and voice-over for every star athlete in the game.
People are getting the wrong impression about the rewards tiers like the $150 reward tier that gives an "EXCLUSIVE DEFENSIVE or OFFENSIVE PLAY" to backers of that tier. Here's how it would work:
We want the teams to be different just like they are in every decent football game ever made. In the NFL there are teams who like to run (Minnesota & Green Bay), others are passing teams (Denver), there are QB read option teams (like Seattle & 49ers), West Coast Offense (Chicago), all these teams have different playbooks with DIFFERENT PLAYS for both offense and defense. The Chicago Bears use a different playbook than the Miami Dolphins. On Defense some teams play a 3-4, others a 4-3, nickel, dime, etc. within these formations there are a multitude of coverage’s: Cover 2, cover 3, prevent, bump and run, man to man, etc.
NFL Teams don't use the same plays. Nor will our teams. Each team will have different playbooks and unique plays (they will also share plays as well). For the EXCLUSIVE DEFENSIVE PLAY, We're giving away a unique all-out blitz play. An all-blitz play is an all-out blitz regardless of what D you're in. The counter to that play is a quick hot read pass to the receiver who has single coverage. That's how you defend against an all-out blitz. Sometimes a delayed running draw up the middle works well too but it has to be perfectly timed. The blitz we're giving away will be disguised until the ball is snapped. Then we’ll drop some impending audio with some cool graphics (strobe a laughing Devil on the screen or something) and then let the play unfold. The visual and audio mess with the Player on offense (as it should) but does nothing to hurt the integrity of the game at all. It adds an element of surprise and danger and most importantly it's fun and not something you will find in any other game on this planet!!!
Everyone else who hasn’t paid for the “EXCLUSIVE DEFENSIVE PLAY” will have a different all-out blitz WITH THE EXACT SAME FUNCTION, the formation will be different and instead of displaying a laughing Devil symbol across the screen, they might get a skull image.
The Backers who paid extra – get something extra special. It doesn't give them an unfair advantage but it lets everyone know they really helped back the project and it’s a special thanks to them.
Hopefully, this clears some things up.
The Xbox version that we are doing is a port of Mobile / Tablet version, which will be good game for XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade).
The plan is to build the PC/Steam and Linux version with superior graphics so that we can then implement for the Xbox One version, which will be a technological leap from original XBox / Mobile game versions which will have 2D characters. For XBox One we are planning to go full 3D for everything, including new graphics, etc. This is why there is a significant price jump.
However, if you guys want a straight port of the Mobile & XBox game for PC - WE WILL DO THAT. I didn't think there would be much interest but I guess there is. So, YES - for $15.00 we'll throw in the PC/Steam straight port along with XBox and mobile systems.
HELL NO!!! Not a chance. That would ruin the fundamental integrity of the game. If this game gets funded, the long term plan would be to have online tournaments, where teams can play against each other for the championship. Mutant Football League is about skill and treachery not who has the most money. No one will be able to purchase their way to success. None of the rewards being given away will unbalance the game or give one player an unfair advantage over another player.
I’m not a quitter and think it sends a bad message. While it is true things are looking exceptionally bleak and certainly the odds are not with us, we’re going to go the distance together regardless of how insurmountable things may seem. I’m not going to give up on the project and you’re not going to give up on it – we’re going to keep fighting for it, pitching it and doing whatever it takes to make this happen. As long as there is still a minute to go we’re going to keep trying.
I’m not delusional and know what the reality is but I also have faith and belief, I've personally experienced a few miracles in my day and would certainly welcome another (like maybe right about now, Lord). And if it doesn't happen and we don’t get our funding, well that’s okay too. I learned a lot, met some interesting people and even made some new friends.
- (30 days)