We’ve had an interesting week with the launch of several cool indies games along side the occasional Kickstarter game. Legends of Aethereus was one of those Kickstarter games having launched on the 24th of July giving codes out to all the backers of the Kickstarter campaign.
I did a quick post saying the game had been released and a gentleman by the name of Antony Keeton contacted me from the development studio behind Legends of Aethereus asking if I’d like an interview and a free review copy of the game. Well, one of the fine new writers working for the site will be reviewing the game next week but in the mean time I got to ask Antony some questions about the game and the development process thanks to Kickstarter.
(AGR) Have you been with the team since the beginning and through the Kickstarter campaign?
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) No, I have not. I joined the team a couple of months ago but was not with them during the Kickstarter, I am happy to be with the team now.
(AGR) Have you worked in this kind of environment before, with other game companies?
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) Yeah, I’ve done one other project which was helping out with Kerbal Space Program. I was the community manager for the team and it was my first time in the games industry. That first step in the field helped me get this position at Three Gates Studio due to the experience acquired at Kerbal, which was a step learning curve at the time. Hopefully this will be a long-term position.
(AGR) Coming from a different game that didn’t have the support of Kickstarter, is there much of a difference between working for a team with Kickstarter support compared to a game with private funding?
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) I would say there are some major differences. Both projects I’ve worked on, the funding came from the people who wanted the game. When Kerbal Space Program switched from being a free to play to pay to play, without people willing to pay for the project, the game would never have gone any further. While Kickstarter is very much the same thing, instead of having a publisher telling you what to do, with Kickstarter, you have several thousand people, (with a successful campaign,) who love the idea of the game and want to see it come to its full potential. The fans want you to deliver on the promises you made that caused them to put money into the campaign in the first place. Those fans have been my primary concern because without them, the game wouldn’t be where it is and released in full at the moment. Not that the newer fans aren’t important but without that boost from the Kickstarter fans we would be in a very different position right now. Luckily with Kickstarter, you don’t have to do what the fans want, unlike with a publisher, but instead the fans give you support and let you create the game you promised to create.
In short, yes. Working with Kickstarter or private funding is very different from a developers point of view.
(AGR) From your point of view, which one is better?
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) Crowd-funding! Who would have published Planetary Annihilation or Chris Roberts Star Citizen? Nobody!
(AGR) Have you worked with the team closely since you’ve joined?
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) Oh yes. I work directly for the lead designer, Mr Don Geyer, and I work with the Chief Creative Officer, the Senior Designers, I work with programmers and lead artists. As the community manager it is my belief that if I don’t know what I’m talking about, gamers are going to see right through that. If I don’t know from the prospective from what the team is doing, I can’t bring them the good ideas. If I don’t know what they’re capable of and how things are actually designed and I could easily bring them a stupid idea, then I waste their time. It’s a close knit team and I’m sort of their protector as I talk to the community and pass the important information back to the team members.
(AGR) Do you know what inspired the team to create Legends Of Aethereus?
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) I haven’t really been able to sit down with the lead designer and ask, why did we do this? I know most of these people, we have about twenty full-time members on the team, they were all mostly friends and they all wanted to make a video game. They got together and formed a company to build a game. They decided to build a game with a whole unique world that was completely different from everything else.
However, it is an amazing world.
(AGR) Now the game is complete or at least fully released. What is the main focus of the team now? More content or a new game?
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) I can tell you that it’s the dream of every studio to make more than one game. I do know we have been putting out patches and the team have moved over to hot fixes and patches to make sure the release version of the game is as stable as possible. One of the most recent patches changed the entire light system that made the cities look so much better.
We trying to make sure we listen to the concerns of our players. It’s very easy for us to push out a patch that could unbalance the game so at the moment we’re trying to make the game as great as possible at the moment.
After that we’ll probably switch to making more content for the game. After that, well, we’ll see.
(AGR) I know you guys did a beta before release. Was that helpful getting the community feedback early on?
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) With twenty developers, three programmers and tens of thousands of lines of codes. Bugs creep up on you. It’s impossible to have a bug free game so the beta test helped us squash a lot of those bugs and gave us lots of valuable feedback.
(AGR) Since you’ve seen the effect of Kickstarter, and you’re a supporter of it. Would the team be looking at using that tool again in the future.
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) I can’t speak for the team but I can tell you my personal prospective. Yes I very much hope that we would.
(AGR) Do you have any tips for any other developers that are coming from the same kind of path? E.G Kickstarter.
(Antony, Three Gates Studio) I would suggest that you grow your community before starting a Kickstarter as it’s much harder to create that community afterwards then it is before hand. If you have something workable, a demo, an alpha or a technology demo related to the project, you should use that to build a community first and then transition to Kickstarter. Otherwise you’ll get on to Kickstarter and find you have nobody interested as not enough people know about the game.
Well, it just shows that some people may not believe in Kickstarter but plenty of indie developers have faith the service will continue to be used for better rather than worse. We hope you enjoyed the interview above and if you haven’t got yourself a copy of Legends Of Aethereus, grab one here at Green Man Gaming or support the Greenlight page and wait for it on Steam.