Ryan Payton, a former video game designer at Microsoft who worked as a narrative designer on Halo 4, is the latest Seattle area gaming veteran to turn to Kickstarter to help get his newest project off the ground. The game, dubbed Republique, debuted on the community-oriented fundraising platform this week and has already attracted more than 1,000 backers who’ve pledged $46,395.
The entire game will cost about $1 million to create, so Payton and his team have a long way to go. But if they reach the $500,000 goal by May 11, Payton said that they will receive additional investment from some undisclosed investment partners in the Seattle area.
That’s a new one on me, where a funding round is contingent on how the viral funding campaign goes on Kickstarter. Anyone else heard of that occurring? But the new funding platform, along with the passage of the JOBS Act, is dramatically changing the business of angel and VC fundraising as we know it.
The action game, being developed for touch-based devices such as the iPhone and iPad, is built around a young woman by the name of Hope who is “trapped within a shadowy totalitarian state” inspired by the novel 1984. (You can see the trailer describing the game — as well as the Kickstarter pitch from Payton — below).
“From the very beginning, we set out to design a game and write a story specifically for mobile devices because last year I decided I was going to stop complaining about the lack of real games on mobile, and start making one,” explains Payton in his Kickstarter pitch. Over the past three months, Payton said they’ve been in “beast mode” as they worked long hours to get as much of the game developed before they brought it to the community.
Payton’s Kickstarter pitch follows the enormously successful campaign of video game veteran Jordan Weisman who last week initiated an effort to bring back the classic game Shadowrun. Within 28 hours, Weisman had raised a whopping $400,000, and as of today the tally stands at more than $825,000 from more than 19,000 contributors.
Kickstarter is proving to be a very successful funding vehicle for startups, and it doesn’t come with a lot of the baggage associated with more traditional angel or venture capital rounds. (Namely dilution of the founders’ equity stakes).
In addition to the promotion of the iOS game, Payton and his team have created what they call a Republique Journal, a physical book that can help game players make their way through the game.
“Digital platforms like Steam and the App Store are great, but there’s something lacking with digital products,” writes Payton. “I miss the physical connection (and smell!) of game boxes, strategy guides, and maps. This is why I’m excited to announce the RÉPUBLIQUE JOURNAL, the physical half to the game experience.”
A replica of the book Hope finds in the game, it features hand-drawn maps, writings from undercover dissenters, newspaper clippings and a translation guide to the graffiti found in the game.
The new game is being developed by Payton’s Seattle upstart, Camouflaj, with assistance from the production company Logan.