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Kacper Discusses His XCom Inspired Strategy Game, Hard West

with Greg Micek

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HardWest3The story of Hard West is an interesting one for a few reasons.  First of all the premise is unique; an XCom style strategy game in the old west.  That’s not something we’ve seen very often (if ever).  Secondly, the campaign itself started off very rough, and was quite slow out of the gate.  A number of people had already written off the Hard West campaign as a lesson to be learned; but the developers stuck it out and now, with 4 days left in its Kickstarter campaign, Hard West has crushed its funding goal and is deep into stretch goal territory.  We recently spoke with Hard Wests’ lead designer, Kacper Szymczak, about the game, the Kickstarter, and even some poetry.

Cliqist : Congratulations on exceeding your campaign target!  Are you surprised at all?

Kacper Szymczak : We were quite scared the campaign wouldn’t take off, especially since it took a while to build on the initial buzz, with GamesCom starting just around the corner. We did careful estimations beforehand though, and they have proven to be quite accurate.

 

Cliqist :The campaign had some challenges in the beginning, which is a vital time for any Kickstarter.  To what do you attribute your success?

Kacper Szymczak : The thing that worked best was personal approach to journalists, which eventually paid off. But it wouldn’t catch on if the project wasn’t catchy, somewhat bold and still sounding doable.

 

Cliqist :For anyone that’s not already aware, could you briefly describe Hard West.

Kacper Szymczak : Hard West is a turn-based squad tactical with a world map adventure-exploration, set in a gritty weird west. That’s the sum of all the parts it in a nutshell, but the parts of it are quite interesting on their own. See the project page for more info!

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Cliqist :The concept seems unique, but very familiar as well.  A combination of beloved games.  Why haven’t we seen something like it before?

Kacper Szymczak : First of all, there aren’t that many tactical games out there. Second, a huge number of them are based on either XCom or Jagged Alliance in terms of setting, because of fear of missing the audience with too bold of a shot. Kickstarter community, on the other hand, apparently expects exactly that – original ideas.

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Cliqist :What is the current status of Hard Wests‘ development?  How far along is it?

Kacper Szymczak : We’re halfway through in terms of scenario and mission content, but that’s where most of the polish will eventually be administered. We’ve got all the fundamentals which allow for a playthrough, but little in terms of fancy at this point. These features will not be tweaked as much later on though – they are costly and demand careful preliminary design.

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Cliqist : Any chance we’ll be getting a level editor at some point?

Kacper Szymczak : Some chances indeed. We’re checking options, and hoping to make some announcements before the end of the campaign. We’re taking it slow because we definitely do not want to make promises we might fail to meet.

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Cliqist : Your FAQ mentions that multiplayer will be a part of the stretch goals.  If everyone begs enough can it be added, stretch goals be damned?

Kacper Szymczak : It can. We have extensive experience doing multiplayer games. It depends on funds and time solely, and that depends on how well the campaign works out, how the game sells on Early Access, how well Ancient Space sells (that’s the first project of CFG)… You get the idea.

 

Cliqist : Your first stretch goal, Steam Early Access by the end of October 2014, is specific and aggressive.  Worried that you might be setting yourself a bit?

Kacper Szymczak : That’s because we are specific, and we are aggressive 🙂 One of the cornerstones of our organization is minimizing risk and minimizing waste. This deadline is 100% doable. What’s still undecided is what exactly will the Early Access contain, but the game is playable at this very moment, contains 2 finite scenarios of 1h+ gameplay, and 1 endless scenario.

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Cliqist : Is Hard West a scam or unattainable pipe dream?  What assurance do backers have that they’re not throwing their money away?

Kacper Szymczak : First, we already have publisher support. Second, we just finished a game. Third, Hard West is already partially done. Fourth, we have a lot of experience under our belts. Even the junior members of our team are expected to have some projects finished on their own at least.

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Cliqist :Can you close us out with a Hard West inspired haiku?

Kacper Szymczak : Sure thing. This haiku is actually a microcosm of Hard West. It’s short, sweet, there’s a decent dose of research behind it and it’s been painstakingly and lovingly put together in an extensive amount of time. So here’s hoping I got this right 😉

Midnight antichrist

blind guns spill poison carnage

– land thirsts suffering.

Thanks to Kacper for taking the time to talk to use about Hard West!  If you’d like to learn more about the game be sure to head over to the Hard West Kickstarter page for more into.

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Greg Micek

Greg Micek

Editor at Cliqist
Greg Micek has been writing on and off about games since the late nineties, always with a focus on indie games. He started DIYGames.com in 2000, which was one of the earliest gaming sites to focus exclusively on indie games.
Greg Micek

@cliqist

All the latest from the world of #indiegames. Partnered with @NewNormative
Greg Micek
Greg Micek
Greg Micek
greg@cliqist.com