Tuesday, 2 October 2012

"She's alive!... I believe you... But in 19 minutes this area is going to be a cloud of vapour the size of Nebraska": Reduction: Final Words

(Bishop's response to Ripley as Ripley prepares to go all the way, for the final rescue.)

What to say about this amazing Kickstarter experience?...

I will say that this entire Reduction experience - from writing the story, to designing the missions, to getting Kickstarter set up, to asking for contributions - has been amazing. (To put it lightly.) That it feels like I'm finally getting a monkey off my back. Going through a portal. Transforming into something new.

I will say that it has been an emotional rollercoaster ride. For sure.

I will say this is the first time, ever, that I was able to get a project, that I directed and controlled, out in front of an audience in a way that was monetizeable. That could go somewhere in a serious way.

I will say that I've never been good at asking. Or trusting people enough I could ask things of them. Or being able to accept a no. (Or, even more so, believing that a yes was possible, or deserved.) I suspect others may identify with this.

I will say that, the way the game industry is set up now, I believe a project like Reduction really isn't possible to make - and I know that Reduction itself cannot get made (not where I am now; not according to the expectations of conventional wisdom in the game industry). It's too personal; too driven by the vision of one creator. The game industry believes all singers should be in the choir - it doesn't tolerate soloists. Unless the soloist is the CEO of the outfit. But then again if that's the case, then the soloist is a soloist only half due to their voice, the other half due to their executive talent. Two different kinds of talent. And anyway I think the proper role of the creator is not to be in the centre, controlling things. That can lead the artist into becoming risk-averse - too invested. Artists must be commenters, on the fringes, for their true power to be realized. (Only thing is, it's dangerous out on the fringes... In the wilderness...)

I will say that I'm just getting started. I've created five missions so far, but I have plans for many more. There are the remaining 7 or 8 mission in Reduction itself. But I also have plans for two prequels (Reduction Prior and Reduction Pre), and one sequel (Reduction Post). These chapters would be only 6 missions each. Reduction Prior is a "men-on-a-mission" campaign - a spec ops adventure that explains the lead-up to Reduction (you get a taste of this in Mission 2 of Reduction as it is). Reduction Pre is a naval campaign, taking place entirely on the convoy of ships that brings Marine squad from the Outer Systems back to Earth. Reduction itself deals with a final apocalypse (which you might guess if you've played through the campaign so far). And Reduction Post is simply the aftermath...

I will also say that I've received very very positive feedback from both gamers and game industry professionals. Not a lot in volume, but those who have discovered Reduction seem to be blown away or at least very impressed. Certainly Valve deserves a huge amount of praise for making the Alien Swarm game itself. But the Reduction campaign and videos didn't just make themselves. I even had a publisher approach me, offering to publish Reduction. (I told them an agreement would have to be made with Valve. I have no idea how or if that is possible.) If we are able to make Reduction into a standalone game somehow, that is actually for sale, then everyone who contributes will be invited to be insider beta player, and I will personally ensure you receive a free copy of the final game. Finally, I have intentions to make different kinds of games in the Reduction universe (which I own 100% of), such as a tablet game.

Finally, let me say this: the Reduction Kickstarter campaign may still succeed. I sense some wild cards in play. For example, there are three contributors who have put in exactly one dollar. Among them are software and game industry professionals. I wondered, why one dollar? My guess is they are watching the project. I suspect these contributors could send Reduction into hyperdrive.

So now I will make my final, direct ask to all of you out there. Please contribute to the Reduction Kickstarter campaign. It ends at about 10am, Thursday morning (the 4th of October), Eastern Time. If you have voted for it on Steam Greenlight, I appreciate that, but Greenlight doesn't do much for us to actually get the project done, as acceptance does nothing to fund development. Please contribute to Kickstarter, even to the first tier level. I would love to give away the gifts I've designed, to indicate you are an honorary "Offworld Drop Marine". That show that you came with me, and that we went all the way, together.

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