[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]rust me, you read that right. Rabbit Run is apparently Sonic the Hedgehog meets Mario Kart, which I suppose doesn’t sound half bad in theory, but so far Draisey Games pitch for it really just sounds bland and uninspired. Your main character is called Girl Rabbit, and she’s on a mission to save her boyfriend, Boy Rabbit, from the big mean employee that stole him to sell at “Pets 4 Us” in the city. John Draisey, the project lead, describes the gameplay as primarily comprised of platforming with some racing elements. Again, this doesn’t sound bad on its own, but the story (as it’s told to us on Kickstarter) just lacks so much in terms of depth and character. It makes me wonder if Draisey Games is really serious about actually making a game at all. Does that automatically make them scammers? No. Whatever their intent, I still think they are quite naive to believe that they can achieve such a fantastically high funding goal.
As it turns out, their video does show substantive game footage, and they have plenty of concept art to go with that. The campaign is fairly well organized and shows effort and forethought. But who is John Draisey and Draisey Games?
On the campaign page there is a section where the (current) team has introduced themselves. Besides John Draisey, this includes a 3D artist, a texture artist, a music composer, and a programmer. They don’t really say anything of great import, however. They mostly just talk about their interests and hopes for the project, but don’t make any mention on experience or even education. John Draisey has something of a reputation among gamers, at least those on Playstation. He was once managing editor at PlaystationLifestyle.net. In addition to the current team, Draisey is seeking additional members after completion of the campaign, bringing the total up to 12.
For real answers, I had to go to the website for Draisey Games, which has a blog that details Draisey’s efforts in putting a dev team together, then starting the project. There, I learned at least some of the developing team are still in school, while others work long distance. The blog entries are mostly short, but they span more than a year, so they seem legitimate.
Rabbit Run is set for release on PS4, and the project looks fine for the stage it’s at…but $1.6 million? The game is a nice idea, but it needs a lot of work, not in terms of gameplay, but in terms of writing. People need to identify with their protagonist, and naming her “Girl Rabbit” isn’t going to do it. Also, it needs a strong central antagonist, of which I see none. Another thing Draisey needs to realize: if he really wants people to give his largely inexperienced team so much money, he’ll need to show a lot more than just a handful of concept art and seconds of game footage.
Oh, and did I mention? There’s only one backer reward for a $20 digital copy of the game. I’m afraid I don’t see this campaign making it, and I think Mr. Draisey ought to reconsider how to make his studio’s project more appealing to potential backers. Otherwise, they’re looking at a rather embarrassing start as a studio.
EDIT: As of 4/16 it appears Rabbit Run has added two more backer reward levels. These are at the $5 level (Thanks in credits, plus desktop wallpapers) and at the $30 level (Two copies of the game, thanks in credits, and desktop wallpapers.)