Hidetaka Suehiro, also known as Swery, the infamous director of Deadly Premonition and general gaming bizzaro, has promised to find funding for his economically-hurdled project The Good Life.
The Good Life, which appears to be just as strange as other Swery projects, is currently on Kickstarter, having only achieved a little 50% of its funding goal, which equates to GBP£234,191 of the total £446,116 needed with 8 days to go. The project was previously on Fig, but failed to reach the funding goal of USD$1,500,000, stalling at 45%.
Core development on the title is being handled by White Owls Inc, an Osaka-based development team led by Yukio Futatsugi, the creator of Panzer Dragoon and Phantom Dust.
The premise of the game is a murder mystery set in a stereotypical English town, except all the inhabitants turn into cats and dogs at night (obviously). The style is drenched in an atmosphere that looks just as Lynchian as it does cartoony, with the overall theme being an homage to daily life RPGs. Strangely enough, the title has been a hard-sell up until now, with the majority of successfully crowdfunded projects being well on their way to being funded with 8 days to go.
Swery, despite the influence garnered from all the titles in his video game bibliography up until now, owns none of his titles due to publishing rights. For this reason, the producer is ardently seeking crowdfunding to maintain maximum creative control and ownership. Crowdfunding resulting in greater directorial independence is the major pull for Swery, which he revealed in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz:
“In Japan, if we get a publisher-type company to support the game, they usually take 100% of the IP. They own the game. The developer has no rights. But if we do crowd-funding and get some money to develop it ourselves, we get to keep the IP. We would like to change the system a little bit. As a developer, you are making your game, but eventually we lose it. So what motivation do we have to make the game? So we’d like to change the situation.”
The director revealed he has learnt lessons from the project’s Fig campaign, too:
“In terms of differences, we only tried to raise money from crowd-funding last time. This time, however, we’re using Kickstarter but also working with partners. We’re funding the project through both methods. Because of these partners, our funding goal is half of what it was when it was on Fig. It’s cheaper than last time. It’s dropped from $1.5 million to $650,000.”
As a result of these financial “partners”, the project now boasts improved visuals, gameplay options, and the ability to choose between cat and dog characters. Nonetheless, despite The Good Life only asking for half of the original amount pledged on Fig, the funding is stalling again.
Despite these hardships, Swery has gone on record to say that he “[has] no intention to stop the project” if the funding goal is not reached. In a determinedly positive mindset, Swery concluded that “[he] only [believes] that this campaign will succeed. [White Owls Inc.] are putting a lot of effort into making this a success. [White Owls] don’t really have time to think about what might happen if it fails. But whatever happens, [he is] determined to make this game.”
The Good Life is being showcased at Bitsummit, Japan’s ever-growing indie game convention, on May 12 and 13, after the Kickstarter campaign ends on May 5. Despite all of the hardships, Swery maintains that he and his team will find a way “to deliver the product to the users in the end.”