Shadowrun Returns developer Harebrained Schemes won big on Kickstarter, amassing $1,836,447 in crowd-funding. Based on its positive experience the studio is planning on using Kickstarter again.
The game is out July 25 and Harebrained Schemes executive producer Mitch Gitelman confirmed to GI.biz his desire to return to crowd-funding, and pondered what Kickstarter means from an innovation standpoint.
“The real question for me is, ‘Is Kickstarter a viable place where you can come with a new IP or an out-there idea and find an audience for that?,’” he said. “What I’m looking at with Kickstarter is whether we can really innovate in this space. Can we use that as a bully pulpit, and to cut through the noise enough to find an audience to support it?
“But now that Kickstarter is so big, it’s almost like the iOS marketplace, so you have to market your Kickstarter and now you have to do even more work to get noticed. It’s an evolving animal, and I hope it works out because I really like the idea of allowing gamers to voice their support in a way that allows indies to follow their passion.”
Gitelman added that the process of developing a game with a publisher and independently on Kickstarter is largely the same in practical terms, but championed the platform’s transparency.
“It’s one thing to make a game for a publisher where it’s very secret until you finally announce it X amount of weeks or months before ship when you want to get the rolling thunder of marketing going.
“It’s another thing to make a game in a fishbowl where everybody can see everything you’re doing. And a lot of what I see on other Kickstarters are production difficulties or issues that happen on almost every game, except nobody knows it because it’s not so much in the public eye. I think there’s an element where you don’t really want to know how the sausage is made; you just want to know it tastes good.”
He added that listening to suggestions from players helped mould the game into what it is today, “Truthfully, our backers have been great. … I think what’s happened is we set the tone pretty early in our Kickstarter. It was a fairly conscious decision on my part. We’ll listen to feedback and then we’ll make intelligent decisions, but we don’t solicit it.”
But Gitelman added that the team had to be careful to avoid direct debate with fans, “We haven’t engaged the fans directly because we’re not about to have a debate or an argument with our supporters.
“Let them debate each other and then we’ll just make intelligent decisions on things they can’t possibly know, production difficulties, costs, manpower, all that kind of stuff.”
In the end the game is looking rather superb based on early gameplay footage released so far. What do you make of the Shadowrun Returns,? Let us know below.