Renegade Kid’s Jools Watsham and Cult County

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Renegade Kid's Jools Watsham And Cult County

Austin, Texas-based independent video game development studio Renegade Kid isn’t new to the indie scene. In fact, they’re the talented and seasoned crew that has brought Nintendo fans countless hours of addictive entertainment from Nintendo DS titles such as: Dementium (2007), Moon (2009), Dementium II (2010), and ATV Wild Ride in 2011. They’re also responsible for delivering the famed Mutant Mudds series and upcoming 3DS eShop titles Moon Chronicles and Treasurenauts. So no, they’re not new to the indie scene. But there’s another Renegade Kid title we didn’t mention: Cult County.

Cult County is a first-person survival/horror title that’s currently in development from their studio. Unlike their past titles, Renegade Kid decided to seek development funding from interested fans by launching a Kickstarter campaign. With a Kickstarter campaign, a certain amount of money must be contributed within a specified time period in order to “fund” the product — software, movies, clothing, etc. are all examples of Kickstarter products. In this case, it’s for Cult County. Seeking fan-funded development has its rewards and benefits, but can also be the demise of something bold and beautiful. This isn’t just about money, however;  emotional impacts are also involved. Regardless of whether or not a Kickstarter is successfully funded, there’s a learning experience to be had for everyone.

We recently had a chance to ask Renegade Kid’s co-founder and director Jools Watsham a few questions specifically pertaining to the Cult County Kickstarter campaign. Through Jools’s honesty, wisdom, experience, and expertise, we’re able to gain a better understanding and perspective about the game and the future it holds.

Cult County Wii U/3DS

On April 3rd, you launched the Kickstarter campaign for Cult County. Upon achieving a minimum funding goal of $580,000 dollars, it was announced that the title would be developed for a multitude of platforms including: Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and Wii U. What expectations did you and your team have going into the Kickstarter campaign?

One of the reasons we wanted to develop Cult County was from our desire to continue our work in the survival horror genre after having favorable feedback from our earlier works with the Dementium series.

What started as a 3DS title quickly grew into something we wanted to bring to the home consoles and computers, and for that we would need more team members to meet the higher fidelity expectations of the platforms.

Being a small studio, it would take us a very long time to complete the development of a console game with our own funding, due to the fact that we would need to develop other games to help pay for development of Cult County. Kickstarter provides the opportunity for fans to help support the project both financially and creatively.

Gameplay footage of Cult County wasn’t initially included in the Kickstarter campaign for viewers to see before making a supporting contribution. One week later, on April 10th, you provided fans with some early gameplay footage that showed general character movements and lighting techniques. While basic, it looked mystic, scary, and suspenseful. We liked that very much. Will you be providing any other gameplay footage of the game before its Kickstarter concludes on May 3rd?

We hoped the inclusion of gameplay footage would bring a boost of backers and funding to the Kickstarter project, but unfortunately it did not. The next thing that I would like to demonstrate is a scary moment to help give people a sense of what to expect from Cult County. However, there is not enough time left in the campaign to accomplish this effectively.

After not initially announcing the Nintendo 3DS as one of the platform choices for Cult County’s Kickstarter, your team decided to include that hardware as a development option on April 16th. Why was that?

We received many messages from fans on twitter and such who were disappointed the 3DS version was canceled. We weren’t getting much traction on the Kickstarter campaign, so we made the decision to include the 3DS within the minimum goal to help generate more backers. This was a big risk for us, because the original Kickstarter budget did not cater for a 3DS version, but we spent a lot of time determining if we could manage it, and came to the conclusion that we could if we busted our asses. So, we included it. Unfortunately, it did not generate a noticeable increase in backers.

Cult County Wii U/3DS

With such a broad range of platforms for Cult County, and a production cost of nearly $600,000 dollars, is there anything different you would have done in retrospect?

There are many things that could have been done differently. But, I think timing and luck are huge elements that play into a successful Kickstarter campaign, and it seems as though the stars were not aligned for this one. It is easy to say that we could do more, show more, ask for less, and such. Perhaps that is all true. I am very happy with how we presented Cult County, and very disappointed that it did not connect with our fans.

With only ten days left until the Cult County Kickstarter ends, more than $500,000 is still needed — funding currently sits at $41,705 — to make the game come to life. Aside from informing fans about the project via social media outlets, are there any other marketing strategies that could send this Kickstarter into overdrive, and help fans rally together for the final stretch?

I wish I knew the answer to that question. I think what this Kickstarter project needs – more than anything – is more exposure. The 1400 backers the project currently has are very dedicated and excited about the game. They see the potential. They trust Renegade Kid. I have faith that there are many more fans out there that would feel the same about Cult County, but have not heard about it yet.

We, like many other fans of entertaining video game software, would love to see Cult County become a reality on May 3rd. We must look at a potential hypothetical situation, however. If Cult County isn’t successfully funded, will your team launch another Kickstarter campaign for the title? If so, will the same platforms be considered?

We have not determined what we will do with Cult County if this Kickstarter campaign is not funded. Video game development is emotional as much as it is business – perhaps more on the emotional side for indie teams like us. We will need to collect our thoughts and go where our hearts lead us.

END OF INTERVIEW

I’d like to personally thank Jools for sharing his time with Nintendo News. I wish him and his company the best of luck with the Cult County Kickstarter campaign, and everything else they continue to provide gaming fans with in the years to come.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Great interview! There are many Kickstarter campaigns that don’t work out in terms of achieving their financial goal, but we don’t often get the chance to hear about the emotional part of that experience and I appreciate Watsham’s candidness. It’s not over yet, of course! But either way, it’s something that will shape Renegade Kid.

  2. I love Mutant Mudds for my 3DS and I also purchased Bomb Monkey. However, I’m not backing this campaign. I wish Jools and RK the best of luck and I would love to play more games from them. However, I just don’t like the idea of paying for the promise of a game. I pay for finished products. I have never played any other Renegade Kid games, but I am really excited to play Moon Chronicles when it is released. If Moon Chronicles was already out and I could get a taste of what kind of first person experiences Renegade Kid was capable of, I might be more willing to back a project like this. I am somewhat surprised that RK needed to go to Kickstarter instead of funding themselves through future sales of Mudds, Moon Chronicles, and Treasurenauts–all games that I can’t wait to get my hands on. I hate to sound so harsh because I really am a fan, but money is tight and I have to be picky with my game purchases. All in all, I hope Cult County gets made in some form and I hope to see more games from Renegade Kid in the future.

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