Playtonic look to Kickstarter to engage Project Ukulele’s supporters
Playtonic Games held a developer session today at EGX Rezzed, taking the opportunity to further discuss the direction behind their “spiritual successor” to Banjo-Kazooie.
It will be similarly fronted by two starring animal characters, who can continually expand their abilities to explore more of the world surrounding them. Promising less linearity, players will also be challenged to uncover collectibles – with ‘Pagies’ having so far been revealed.
While sharing the first work-in-progress screenshots of Project Ukulele’s world, creative director Gavin Price revealed the indie studio’s intention to partly crowdfund the project through Kickstarter in May 2015.
“We honestly weren’t expecting as big a reaction as we got,” Price discussed with Eurogamer. “We’ve had tons and tons of emails – a massive fan response. But it’s good – we want that pressure, we’re really happy with that reception.
“Up until a few weeks ago [Kickstarter] wasn’t really on our radar, but since we’ve had such a massive response from people – we’re thinking that the game has to become a lot bigger, a lot broader, we want to do a lot more with it now to make people happy.”
The game’s final title still remains under wraps, mainly as it will follow the same trend as Banjo-Kazooie in being comprised of the starring characters.
“We’re still sending stupid ideas to each other, and thinking about how much to push the fact that this is a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie,” Price added. “We’re coming up with different puns… we’ll get there in the end. Apparently the name Halo 5 is taken.”
The decision to pursue Kickstarter will help garner feedback as to which platforms to support as well as any physical editions and collector items – potentially even amiibo.
“We’re almost starting a pre-Kickstarter Kickstarter campaign,” Price explained. “We don’t want to force tiers and stretch goals on fans, we’d love to hear if people would like to voice characters, if people want to have early access to the game, perhaps – and this is just a pipe dream – if we can have a boxed N64 copy of the game to really play off the game’s nostalgic feel. So it’s about finding out what people want from us from the Kickstarter campaign and then creating it with that in mind.
“And out of about 500 emails we receive every week, probably about 499 of them are shouting Wii U! Wii U! As a games fan, I’ve been a Nintendo fanboy since the NES days. Most of our fans are Nintendo fans as well. So while we can’t confirm what platforms we will be on – some of that is beyond our control – but we are developing on Unity and we don’t want to leave anyone out. And we’d try to ship simultaneously to make the biggest splash possible when the game comes out.”
As for how much Playtonic would need to fund the game, they would need £400,000 to “comfortably” complete it – with anything beyond that being used to “scale up” their ambition.
“If we needed, we could make the game with a few hundred thousand pounds, but if we can go beyond that we will scale up the game and add features as fans want from us,” Price reasoned. “We could do the game comfortably on £400,000, but if we had more to spend we could, for example, hire a proper QA team rather than beta testing it.
“And as for ourselves, we’re not taking the best wages in our career right now – we’ve all come down in wages and we’re in a tiny office – it’s cold in the morning and too hot in the afternoon with all the computers on. But it’s kind of how we like it – it’s reminiscent of the early days at Rare in the barn there, in this place that was never supposed to be a development studio but was just a building next to a farmhouse.”
Project Ukulele’s Kickstarter will launch in May 2015.