Deadly Premonition director’s The Good Life returns to crowdfunding

The Good Life

Part of the reason I’m not a betting man is because I’m terrible at predicting odds. I figured The Good Life was a sure thing when it last surfaced: A unique premise from the quirky director of a cult hit game, with a satisfying chunky art style, a solid (or so I thought) pitch video and the most important thing of all for instant internet success: Kitties. Tons of the fuzzy little friends.

When the original funding drive on Fig tanked, I felt let down. Thankfully, Suehiro ‘Swery65’ Hidetaka and his crew aren’t so easily dissuaded, and they’ve officially re-launched their attempt to fund The Good Life: Now with extra dogs.

If you missed its first crowdfunding drive, then you missed out on a beautiful concept: The Good Life is a life sim/murder mystery adventure set in an idyllic English village. Playing as Naomi, an American photo-journalist deep in debt, you’ve got to balance solving the crime (a grisly, seemingly ritualistic murder of a young woman) with paying your way through photography or odd jobs. Oh, and everyone in the town magically transforms into cats (and now dogs, in this new and revised edition) at night. Because that’s normal.

Plus, it’s from the director of Deadly Premonition, which – technical jank aside – was a game absolutely bubbling with genuinely clever ideas and oddly on-point writing.

This time, the project page is much clearer about what’s being offered, and is also asking for less money up-front, explaining that there are third-party investors interested in the project, but their involvement with the game hinges on whether Swery and his team can raise a base-line amount of funding for the game. In order to appeal to a wider audience, the townsfolk now turn into a mixture of cats and dogs (each with their own unique abilities) by night, and your initial transformation will allow you to pick which of the two to start as, although it sounds like the ability to switch may become a key gameplay element.

Oddly, this time round they’ve chosen to run the Kickstarter for the game direct from Japan, meaning that they’ve got a target funding goal of just under 5 million Yen. That sounds like a lot, but it works out to roughly £450,000, which is a very small budget for any halfway ambitious game, and probably a drop in the ocean compared to what they’ve already spent on this project, considering that there’s two Japanese studios involved, plus a relatively well-known director.

You can read a lot more about the project on the Kickstarter page here, which includes breakdowns of exactly what the core gameplay loop involves, as well as plenty more animated GIFs giving an extended peek at the game. The basic ‘get a copy of the game when it’s done’ tier of funding is priced at 3000 Yen, which is almost exactly £20, although at the time of writing there are still some Early Bird packs available for a little less. While I’m a little sad to see the project demystified like this, it should hopefully lead to the game being produced, which is all I could really ask for at this point.

27 Comments

  1. Babymech says:

    The internet is tired of cats always stomping around, making too much noise and driving us crazy.

  2. balinor says:

    It really does sound like a fascinating concept for a game, unfortunately Inxile has killed any interest I ever had in kickstarter so I’ll pass until/if it gets released.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Of all the negative examples, Inxile seem an odd pick? They’re two for two on successful, well reviewed crowdfunded RPGs now, and I’ve heard good things about The Bard’s Tale 4.

      • balinor says:

        Wasteland 2 wasn’t a terrible game although it did have it’s problems, to me it never actually felt like a continuation of Wasteland.

        Bard’s Tale is stuck trying to appeal to a modern audience and everyone I have spoken to playing the alpha have commented that it is not a Bard’s Tale game. Now it may turn out to be a great dungeon crawler, but I paid for a new BT game, not a new modern dungeon crawler.

        Inxile are pretty crap at communication I think and they just haven’t done a good job with the two projects I have backed, as such, I wont back any more.

        • Someoldguy says:

          I was ok with Wasteland 2, but you’re right it felt more like Fallout Tactics 2 than a continuation of Wasteland.

          The article that popped up today about Bard’s Tale is ringing all sorts of alarm bells for me, too. A more casual experience with tones of Hearthstone? What? I accept they couldn’t possibly reproduce a text interface where fighting 99 berserkers, 99 berserkers, 99 berserkers and 99 berserkers was a thing and took about 5 minutes for a single turn to play out, but still. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what I planned on backing. We’ll just have to see what changes between Backer’s Alpha and shipping. link to arstechnica.com

  3. megazver says:

    The ‘original Kickstarter’ was on Fig, not Kickstarter.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Somehow, I had it as Fig in my notes here but just kept writing Kickstarter. My brain is having One Of those Days

  4. Someoldguy says:

    I guess I’m not the target audience for this. I’ve had no problem playing female protagonists in games like Tomb Raider, Life is Strange and The Sims, including taking photographs in the last two. I’m also a bit of a sucker for daily economic management. Yet this title just leaves me cold in the way it is presented.

    – The art style is too pastel and the characters, including the player, too polygonal. Leading to:
    – There’s nothing in those screenshots that makes me think “That’s beautiful. I want to capture that image in a photo”.
    – That’s supposed to be an UK town? Maybe if you know very little about the UK and have set your game in the 1930’s. Perhaps the town coming from an alternative 1930 where roads are paved like that and there are hardly any vehicles is the big mystery? But then the clothing is anachronistic.
    – You all turn into cats and dogs? Um. Okaaaay.
    – Circle-strafing sheep?

    It may turn out to be a cracker of a game, but the way it looks now, I just can’t back it.

  5. indigozeal says:

    Backed! I miss the option the old campaign had to pledge a little more for extra sheep in my yard, though.

  6. Thulsa Hex says:

    It was a little depressing watching the way this went the first time, not least because Swery’s twitter mentions were full of “fans” claiming that they wanted to back the game but couldn’t, “morally,” because Tim Schafer is a “crook.” Swery responded to a few of those comments in good faith, which had me wondering how aware he was/is of all that crap. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Japanese dev comment on industry toxicity, so I sometimes wonder how much of that stuff leaks over to their side of the world.

    Anyway, I’d love to see this succeed. Deadly Premonition is a delightful (if seriously-janky) curiosity. I loved the oddball small-town Pacific Northwest vibe, and hope they manage something similar with this English setting!

    • Thulsa Hex says:

      I feel I should add that a lot of the comments I’m referring to were deliberately sanitised, and Swery’s response was along the lines of “Oh, I didn’t know Fig was controversial.” He wasn’t wading into overtly toxic stuff, afaik. It just seemed like he wasn’t aware that some of the “advice” he was getting was coming from a questionable place.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        Oh god, I’d forgotten about that particular detail.

        There’s still a subset of Angry Internet People who get especially bent out of shape if you crack jokes about sock-puppets.

    • Crafter says:

      The internet is a sad sad place :/

      I hope this project succeeds though but WTH is this Shafer boycott :/

      • MattM says:

        SpaceBase DF-9 really burned a lot of people, they seemed to take in a lot of money in early access orders, burn through it quickly, put the project on one man dev team life support then once public interest had moved on a bit they slapped a 1.0 on something that was more like a late alpha/early beta and moved on. I’m not against buying their games but I’m not gonna put money down in a kickstarter for DF.

        • Crafter says:

          I paid for SSDF9 too, ages ago.

          They needed an influx of new buyers to keep developing the game but did not have it. IMO the issue was that what they had already; unlike something like the rimworld prototype; was just a chore simulator and not a game.

          They apologized, gave away keys to some of their other games in compensation and turned the page. These people should do the same, especially for something that is only vaguely associated with DF-9.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        The real reason is Schafer (unlike most of the games industry) dared to speak out against the GG cyberstalkers and they never got over it.

  7. caff says:

    Backed. I hope this succeeds, I think it could have a genuinely interesting slant.

    Now let’s see how those people who “claimed” to be potential backers where Fig was concerned put their money where there mouth is… fingers crossed.

  8. Bull0 says:

    Am I the only one disappointed this isn’t about dropping out of the rat race and starting a farm with 70s Felicity Kendal?

  9. Mungrul says:

    Seems a little weird I know, but one of the reasons I didn’t back it originally was that a lot of the character archetypes were US ones, which was jarring with the English village setting.
    I’m tentatively backing it this time; it doesn’t seem quite so culturally confused now.

  10. literarylottie says:

    Worth noting that the cost of the game for backers has decreased by a third. I gave the original campaign on Fig a miss because they were asking $35 for the game alone – no extras – which given the minimal amount of information available, seemed steep (most games I back fall into the $15-20 range). I think $24 is a much more reasonable entry level price; hopefully enough other folks agree.

    (While admittedly my main exposure to small English villages comes from Midsomer Murders, naming one “Rainy Woods” feels…a bit off.)

    • malkav11 says:

      I could swear there were also meaningful gameplay exclusives at higher tiers, which don’t appear to be present in this campaign. (You can get a couple of cosmetic outfits but meh.)

  11. Seafoam says:

    Backed, I really hope the game succeeds this time. Last time I wanted to back but couldn’t because of fig.

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