How Kickstarter Opened Up Consoles To A Chinese Developer

For game designer Loup Zhou, working on video games had always been a passion that he grew up with one that he couldn't escape. Originally from Beijing, Zhou, grew up playing video games on PC and console. Zhou says he remembers playing on the original Nintendo Entertainment System.

"I brought an original Famicom from a "wealthy" neighbour who had an actual legitimate system for about $16," said Zhou. "That was a lot of money back then, but I had enough. I always felt cheated, though, because everyone told me that when you turned on the fabled red and white machine, there was the opening music of "xiao ba wang 小霸王" and my machine never did that."

Despite not owning a piece of classic Chinese gaming hardware, Zhou developed a love for video games which led to him studying computer science. After learning how to code and program, Zhou ended up working for Ankama Games in France.

However, after a short time in the gaming industry, Zhou felt burnt out and he subsequently left gaming. Zhou says the problem wasn't the gaming industry itself, but the expectations that he had for the job. Moving on from gaming, Zhou left France and went to Canada.

But the game creation bug was still in Zhou. Using his off time, Zhou started working on a game that he got started on when he was still a graduate student. He got in touch with digital artist Mu Fei, and with the help of another programmer and a musician, they started work on their first game Crystalides.

Unfortunately Crystalides didn't make it past beta and the game was shelved. Zhou eventually decided to go full-time into making games, so he returned to Beijing, where he and Mu funded Onipunks Studio.

Taking from their shelved project, Onipunks decided to turn the core gameplay of Crystalides, a type of roguelike tactical role-playing game that looks similar to Megaman Battle Network, and focus on making it into a game on itself. The duo realised that they also needed more publicity, so they took their new game, C-Wars, to Kickstarter.

C-Wars cleared funding on Kickstarter on May 12, 2013. The project passed its goal of $US30,000 and hit $US95,574. Zhou said that with the money, they were able to attain licenses for the 3DS, WiiU and PlayStation Vita.

How Kickstarter Opened Up Consoles to a Chinese Developer

As a team from China, Zhou said Onipunks didn't have any problems when they launched their Kickstarter. He says that everything's going well — even though development is a bit behind — adding that the team is 100 per cent dedicated to pushing out the game both for their own satisfaction and to fulfil the trust that the Kickstarter backers placed on the team.

"The responsibility of getting console licenses put a lot of pressure on us, it makes us even more detail oriented," said Zhou. "We want to make sure that everything ships at 100 per cent... it's our obligation to our backers. If there are even minor errors or bugs, then we'd might as well just pack our bags and never make games again."

Even with the addition of console ports pushing everything behind, Zhou says he's ecstatic for the chance to realise a childhood dream. Zhou's favourite console growing up was the PlayStation and now, several years later, he's now making a game on PlayStation.


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