The Good Life to try crowdfunding again on Kickstarter

The Good Life

Maybe it was overly optimistic, but I was sure that surreal shape-shifting, debt-repaying, murder-sleuthing adventure The Good Life would have been funded within a week or two of its announcement. Deadly Premonition and D4 director Suehiro ‘Swery65’ Hidetaka is a bit of a wild-card admittedly, but he’s never less than interesting.

Sadly, ‘interesting’ isn’t enough of a hook to raise $1.5m, and so the Fig campaign has officially failed, falling short of $700k after 40 days of funding. It’s not the end yet, though, as plans are being drawn up to try once again on Kickstarter.

It was set to be a quite ambitious project; a collaboration between Swery’s own White Owls team, with development support from Japanese studio G-Rounding and Republique team Camouflaj. As the campaign drew on, they tried revealing more and more of the game’s concept, along with promising a parallel version where the townsfolk transform into dogs at night instead of cats. Sadly, not even doubling up on the number of pets represented was enough.

Detailing the failure of the Fig campaign in an extended chain of tweets starting here, Swery points to a variety of reasons why he believes the crowdfunding effort fell through, not limited to but including early leaks giving a misleading impression of the game, further compounded by the studio not making the true scope and nature of the game clear, leaving many under the impression that it was to be a small-scale game with exclusively 2D art.

Beyond his reasons given, crowdfunding for games has become a struggle lately for many studios, especially on the newer platform, Fig. Even Julian Gollop’s X-Com’y Phoenix Point barely scraped past its first of many stretch goals. Despite some astounding games being crowdfunded in recent years, Kickstarter fatigue seems to be a real thing. This, compounded with Swery’s scattershot reputation (as charming as Deadly Premonition is, it was a technical train-wreck) were likely contributing factors.

I’d love to see The Good Life succeed eventually. The life-sim and debt-repayment concepts might strike a little close to home for some, but if Animal Crossing can get away with making paying off a mortgage into a compelling game, then there’s clearly got to be some appeal to it. The additional layers of nocturnal shape-shifting and murder mystery, paired with the almost papercraft-esque low-poly art gave the whole thing a unique flavour that tickled my fancies in new and unusual ways.

The Kickstarter will apparently have a lower funding goal due to as-yet-unnamed partners chipping in on development costs, but has no set starting date yet. We’ll be sure to keep you posted once the new campaign goes live.

25 Comments

  1. Seafoam says:

    Glad to see that my hopes for a new Swery haven’t been officially dashed! I was feeling melancholy about it so this is good news.

    But still it might all come down to the creators eccentricities, but hoping to raise a million for a strange game, from a creator whose last game has been compared to “The Room”, a cult classic “so bad its good”?
    (Though, I honestly think Deadly Premonition is a fantastic game unironically, even with it’s silliness)

    I also hope they tone the graphics a bit, make it a bit more shadeless, would look better and more cartoony instead of some blender assets. But that’s just my opinion.

    • Seafoam says:

      I mean, I got myself thinking about this so I’ll just demonstrate my point.
      ( link to sketchfab.com )
      Heres a sketchfab link to a lovely piece with some Low Poly Revolver Ocelots, if you press 1 or 2 on your keyboard it switches between shaded and shadeless.

      See how much the look changes with no shading! The game would look more like the it’s lovely cover art if they just toned it down, not fully but even just a little bit would do! It might even turn off less potential backers but what do I know.

      I practice 3d modelling and I love the shadeless method over all else so I just get overtly passionate about this that’s all.

    • malkav11 says:

      Deadly Premonition isn’t Swery’s most recent game, just the one that took people by storm.

    • April March says:

      I think comparing The Room to Deadly Premonition is a big error. The Room is just a series of fails in the art of movie-making and every related art. Deadly Premonition is a game that goes very, very right in a few areas, very very wrong in others, and averages out to mediocre at best. You’ll find people earnestly defending Deadly Premonition, not the room. If people were to give Tommy Wiseau money for a new project their feeling would be “let’s see what sort of crap he comes up with now”, while for Swery, well, it might be that for some people, but for many it is “let’s see what he can do now that he has a better grasp of what he wants to do and can work more comfortably.”

      • Seafoam says:

        I would not compare deadly premonition to the Room, but lots of people and gaming magazines have done so in the past. Which ought to be bad when you try to crowdfund such an amount.
        I seriously hope the best for Swery, he is creative and unconventional, always what any industry needs.

  2. Crafter says:

    I have never played a Swery game (I plan to though, I got deadly premonition on a bundle) so I only had the video to go by. The camouflaj guys don’t fill me with confidence but it was not too awful either.

    I did not back the game but I followed the campaign closely, I wish to see the game realised, it does look very interesting !

  3. poliovaccine says:

    This was the one where people in the town become cats after dark, right? If so then damn, too bad, cus that looked really cool – here’s hoping they get that second wind theyre trying for. Shame I don’t have a spare $700K.

    I still mourn the Kickstarter death of Tangiers, a stealth horror game based on Naked Lunch… but alas, that idea was clearly too good for this world, and anyway it’d be so far up my alley that I’m forced to wonder if I didnt just dream the whole thing.

    Losing this second Kickstarter would really be a shame though because I feel like Swery’s always shown more potential than results, and the whole idea behind the immersive cat town seemed like it could be a chance for him to really flex his strengths and be at his best, to make that one “good solid game” that disparate parts of his other games suggest he’s capable of in theory. I put more hope on it than D4, anyway – I mean I found that one totally uninteresting, and I went into it fresh off some Deadly Premonition nostalgia, I should have been primed and lubed.

    • April March says:

      I thought Tangiers had failed because the creator couldn’t make it work and put it in indefinite hiatus, and it was never even crowdfunded. Am I crazy?

      • poliovaccine says:

        You might not be crazy, no, I could easily be mistaking it in my memory with some other disappointment. Which obviously means the Mandela Effect is at it again, because I am infallible.

      • Just Endless says:

        No, I definitely funded Tangiers. I had forgotten about that until exactly now, however.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    I was honestly disappointed (but not surprised) that it isn’t a game of the BBC comedy series. It was one of my favourite shows when I was young. I always wanted Richard Briers to be my dad. :D

    • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

      I am so glad I’m not the only one who saw the name of the game and thought the same thing. I don’t know why, but I’d love a silly little Good Life game. Even if I knew it as The Good Neighbors as a kid, as that’s what they called it on TV in the US.

  5. AngoraFish says:

    Can’t comment on the game or campaign itself, but seriously, they said they needed $1.5M to make the game. Now they’re going to try again and say they only need, perhaps, $600k. Am I the only one who can see a problem here?

  6. Goatcheese says:

    Even Julian Gollop’s X-Com’y Phoenix Point barely scraped past its first of many stretch goals.

    Phoenix Point funded at 153% of it’s goal at $765,948. It’s previous KS finished at $210,854.

    Seems like the author is trying to distort fact to make their point…

    • Erinduck says:

      Seems like you didn’t read what the author said, which was that it barely made it past its first stretch goal, which is true. The next stretch goal was like $100,000 away, iirc.

      • Goatcheese says:

        I read it fine. Did you? The conclusion he’s drawing with that fact is this:

        crowdfunding for games has become a struggle lately for many studios

        The stretch goals for that project we’re very widely spread apart. Raising over 50%, or $250,000 your goal is not struggling. Nor is raising more than 3 times what you raised on your previous campaign…

        • April March says:

          It depends on where you dropped your anchor. In the days after Double Fine Adventure kicked out Kickstarter’s doors any half-baked idea by anyone with a smidgen of fame would get three times its goal. It’s become harder and harder since then. I can see why someone would refer to it as ‘struggling’, even if I myself would not call it so.

          I’m still angry The Black Glove wasn’t crowdfunded, though.

  7. racccoon says:

    Why would you give 700k let alone 20k freely for a company that asks for a whopping 1.5m when they can produce the game themselves without any help or funding at all! I think its quiet shameful for these game devs that have all the resources & skills already & still wanting hand outs all the time.
    Just produce the dam thing on your own merit!
    Don’t call it the good life if you put out a begging bowl.

    • mechavolt says:

      Crowd-sourcing for video games has become the new pre-ordering. Why take a risk making a new game, not knowing if you’ll sell enough to recoup your costs?

    • syndrome says:

      C’mon, who wouldn’t want to make a relatively easy and stupid game by outsourcing it, and then — regardless of its market success and various upfront deals — have a meager, but steady, monthly salary of €1500 per month, FOR THE NEXT FIFTY YEARS?!!

      So called safety net.

      50x12x1,500=900,000

      The rest is divided by KS, US Govt, and an aspiring Ukrainian studio.

      Who could ever find out??
      US Govt is happy for taking an extra tax from all of you, KS for taking their 30% for doing absolutely nothing, and the Ukrainian studio for being given a chance to do something for 6-figures-kind-of-MONEY and truly employ its true potential.

      They had 0 chance at getting 1.5M at any rate, even though that’s where the talent, passion, and know-how truly is.

      You know what? Win-win-win-win. Backers would suck, tho. Good thing it failed.

    • Hans says:

      What exactly do you think happens to the money you spend on regular, non-crowdfunded games, you little idiot?

  8. baekhesten says:

    So, I don’t trust my barely functional memory, but I feel like the first time I saw this, the only option available was investing–with a minimum of $100. I was super excited for the game, but disappointed because I couldn’t afford that much, so I couldn’t contribute. Much, much later I happened across it again and saw options much more like a Kickstarter system, where I could essentially pre-order the game for a much more reasonable cost. But up until that point, I had been ignoring all the ads for it because I knew I couldn’t afford the minimum. I don’t know if the Kickstarter-like option was added later, or if I was just in the wrong site view or whatever, but I have to wonder how many other people had that same problem? If I hadn’t happened across it a couple of days before it ended, I wouldn’t have known I actually had the option to fund it.

    I’m glad this is going to try again on Kickstarter. I feel like for the market they’re trying to hit, it’s a much better bet.

    • malkav11 says:

      I think Fig gives investors an early shot at the game before they open the door to crowdfunders, but I’m not 100% sure.

      Anyway, it definitely has that investor/crowdfunding split and that’s their big distinguishing point. That and their site actually accomodates some elements of crowdfunding culture (addons, in particular) that have sprung up despite Kickstarter’s site not supporting them.

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