Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We believe they deserve a wider audience with the Joystiq Indie Pitch: This week, Whole Hog Games' Jake Federico talks fundraising for Full Bore, a platformer about friendship and, well, boars.
Our game, Full Bore, follows the story of a young boar named Frederick as he gets caught up in the troubles of the Full Bore Mining Company.
You can try the demo of Full Bore here, or visit the website to see a trailer, preview the soundtrack and see more screenshots.
The game is an open world, where players explore the old tunnels of the Full Bore Mining Company in search of ancient secrets, treasure and things better left undisturbed. The mechanics of the game are created by the interaction between Frederick and the various blocks that make up the world.
The challenge of the game ramps up as block types are introduced and the player must figure out how to combine their unique behaviors to traverse the world. Exploration in Full Bore is driven by knowledge, instead of arbitrary goals and item collection.
We are running a Kickstarter for Full Bore. If all goes well, we will be releasing in March.
What will you do if your Kickstarter doesn't succeed? How about if it does?
If our Kickstarter isn't successful, Full Bore will have to become our side project. All three of us would have to get full time jobs and work on the game part-time. We would finish it eventually, but there's no way we would be able to make our goal of a March release without severely compromising the quality of the game. We love Full Bore, but it could take years without some outside help.
If funding succeeds, two team members will work non-stop to complete the game in time for March. Last member will work a day job to help pay for food.
Do you think $12,500 is a low, average or high amount to ask for, for an indie game?
Certainly $12,500 is a low amount in context of game development budgets in general. For an indie project, $10,000 -$20,000 seems like a common goal. We are asking for the amount of money that we need to finish the game. There will be no profit, every dime will be used to make the game. We hope to make our living with conventional sales once the game is completed and released. Hopefully we can make a big enough splash to fund our next game.
What inspired you to make Full Bore?
We wanted to make games free from clutter. Mass-market games often aim to create complete experiences by providing many things to do, frequently at the expense of depth in their core mechanics. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but this trend had us itching to make a focused game that still had an interesting world.
When we set out to make Full Bore we wanted to make a highly focused arcade game, but as development progressed we gradually opened up more of the world for the player to explore. We wound up with an open world where both the environment and the challenges of the game are built out of the same blocks. In this way we were able to have an open-world game, but maintain focus on a single, well-explored mechanic.
There is also the irrational adoration of boars.
Why a boar?
Full Bore was conceived in reverse. We started with the name of our studio, Whole Hog Games, and jokingly thought that Full Bore would make a great title for a game about, naturally, boars that bore. The three of us kept talking about this world of digging boars underground, fell in love with the concept, and decided Full Bore was the game we should be making.
The coolest part of Full Bore is the seamless blending of world and puzzle. Rather than incorporate block puzzles into the world, the whole world is made of puzzle blocks. This unification means that passages and treasure can be hidden almost anywhere, and it takes a keen eye and a solid understanding of the game mechanics to uncover everything there is to find.
Why develop independently, rather than work for an established company?
Making a creative work is a personal thing. When you get a group of people together who care deeply about the project there is a lot of conflict. You have to be good friends, or you end up disliking the whole team. Personal investment in a project and creative conflict are what make a game unique. This kind of intimate process doesn't happen in the industry at large. It's what gives indie games their special flavor, and it is an amazing, though trying, ride for the people making the game.
We're not anti-corporate either; Casey spent almost three years working for legendary Japanese developer ARC System Works. He left them on good terms – we even hosted one of their new hires for cultural exchange earlier this year.
Yes. The time is right for passionate individuals to create the games they care about. Computers are powerful enough to do interesting things without costly tech. Social networks make getting the word out and distributing a game practical on a small budget. The reach of the internet makes it possible to be successful even if your game is niche.
Sell Full Bore in one sentence:
Full Bore is an exploration puzzle game, where curiosity and logic drive the player through a story about the trials of growing up as an impoverished digging boar.
More games! You can expect to see us continue working on our ideal of making tightly focused games. We have a bunch of ideas, but Full Bore is our baby – we want to love and nurture it into a great game before we think too much about what is next.
Full Bore needs $7,000 to reach its Kickstarter goal of $12,500, with 23 days to go. If you didn't get bored and you made it this far, maybe consider checking out the backer rewards.
If you'd like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email jess [at] joystiq [dawt] com, subject line "The Joystiq Indie Pitch." Still haven't had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.