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.