Remember Square Enix Collective, the publisher’s odd community-centric crowdfunding pre-approval thingamebob? It’s actually produced a thing!
Black The Fall is an action game from Romanian developer Sand Sailor Studio. It’s currently seeking £25,000 in crowdfunding via Kickstarter, and was Steam Greenlight approved ahead of its Steam Early Access launch. Take a look at the video above and hit the link for more details.
What makes this project interesting – besides its own merits, of course – is that it arrived on Kickstarter through the impetus of Square Collective.
Square Collective is a strange beastie; it’s a forum for developers to pitch ideas to the publisher’s fanbase. Square Enix then throws its support behind the projects the community shows interest in, but not by actually funding them – it helps indies through the crowdfunding process, and helps distribute the finished game. Developers keep the majority of sales revenue, and Sqaure Enix reinvests profits in the Collective platform.
The scheme was announced almost a full year ago, and absolutely nothing has come from it until now. The partnership Square Enix established with Indiegogo remains silent, and as you’ve noticed, Black the Fall is funding through Kickstarter. It looks like the platform is very much alive, though, and the Black the Fall pitch page includes a section on its involvement.
“We are a small team and we need all the help we can get. Collective was a great way to test our project before taking it to crowdfunding. We were very happy to see that our game was well received and was voted by the Square Enix community,” Sand Sailor Studio said.
“Square Enix is not giving us any financial aid. They help us by providing feedback and reach out to our players. It’s a great way for us, a small team with no marketing budget, to let you know about this project we’re so passionate about. Square Enix does not take any rights to our game’s IP, and while we do give them a small percentage of funds raised in exchange for their help in driving awareness, we are not tied to working with them beyond this campaign if we choose not to.”
“Sand Sailor is a small team that is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate about the game they are making with a strong sense of the art direction, story and gameplay experiences they want to deliver,” Square Enix said.
“Square Enix Collective is very happy to support the team’s crowdfunding campaign and we believe that they have the skills and capabilities required to make the game they’re describing in this pitch.”
There are 13 projects showcased over on the Square Collective website, of which Black the Fall is the oldest. Perhaps we’ll see more from the Collective soon.
UPDATE: We received an update from Phil Elliot, head of the Collective initiative, informing us that the scheme has actually already borne fruit elsewhere.
“BTF isn’t the first project we helped through crowdfunding though. It’s actually our third; the first was a game called World War Machine, which was on Indiegogo,” he wrote.
“It didn’t work out great, and the team didn’t hit their target, which was a big disappointment to us all – and off the back of that we changed a bunch of things about the platform/process to try and improve.
“Happily we followed that up with Moon Hunters on Kickstarter, which was around 400% funded and finished last Friday.”
Elliot also shared a few thoughts on the Collective, crowdfunding, and Square Enix’s role as facilitator to indie developers:
“We really want to help small teams to self-publish, in a way that doesn’t involve us interfering with their creative control, means they keep their IP, etc. And we also think that crowdfunding is a good thing – despite some of the bad headlines, if there’s a way we can help with consumer confidence by using our experience/reputation, we’d like to try,” he said.