Convincing players to stump up seven figures for your indie project is a tough ask as is, but it's become part and parcel of launching a crowdfunding campaign. If you want people to directly fund your project, you have to take them through the journey of development.
Mike Zaimont was the lead designer and one of the directors on the 2D fighter Skullgirls. He's started up a new project that's asking for US$1.5 million. That's a lot of money, but the way he started justifying the figure might catch a few off guard.
Zaimont started his defence of Lab Zero Games' US$1.5 million target over the weekend during a stream where he began outlining the cost of development. It's a lot more expensive — still — than gamers expect.
But what most people probably weren't expecting was a comparison with poverty. But using the official base line for poverty in the United States, that's exactly where Zaimont took the argument — and he put forward a pretty strong case, starting off with the development of Super Metroid.
He goes on to debunk the belief that Indivisible has already secured a publisher, although he also adds that 505 Games has contributed US$2.5 million towards the development (with the rest coming from crowdfunding).
If Indivisible gets off the ground, 505 Games would become the game's eventual publisher. So technically it's probably not right to say that the game doesn't have a publisher. But unless the campaign is successful, 505 Games won't pitch in a dime.
Having to go all-in on an Indiegogo campaign isn't where you'd like to be, and Zaimont is pretty clear that there isn't a second bullet in the chamber. There won't be another re-release on Steam through Greenlight or Early Access — if the money doesn't arrive within the next 27 days, Lab Zero's Super Metroid and Valkyrie Profile-inspired RPG won't be happening.
They've already raised US$336,749 at the time of writing, which isn't bad but also not enough to get them over the line. The Indiegogo page has a link to a playable prototype if RPGs are your thing.