Who is Erin Reynolds? If you have any interest in the games industry whatsoever, it’s a name worth knowing. The 32-year-old Colorado-born designer is a true woman of the world, having grown up within a wide range of cultural backgrounds. The journey of her life has taken her through states such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York, and across oceans to Singapore and Vietnam. This kind of diversity led to the manifestation of an innovative design philosophy that permeates everything she creates.
Like many others before, during, and inevitably long after her lifetime, Erin Reynolds has expressed a desire to make the world a better place. Her medium of choice? The interactive worlds of videogames. Her online portfolio tells us she has confidence in the medium’s ability to empower, educate and inspire players across the world. Less pain, more play. It’s a noble enterprise, and a highly commendable one at that.
When it comes to the crowdfunding scene, Reynolds and her team are role models for how things should work. Not only have Reynolds and her team successfully demonstrated the ability to recover from a failed campaign with Cliqist’s Game of the Month, Nevermind, but they’ve consistently shown engagement with supporters across a variety of channels and delivered on promises made.
Unlike many other Kickstarter developers, Reynolds has backed a wide range of projects (104 in total) and continues to do so long after the end of her campaign. Moreover, she has responded to literally hundreds of backer comments, clearing up a whole host of questions, concerns, and anxieties about Nevermind, often in great length and detail too. This is exactly how developer-backer communication should be. It shows drive, dedication, and commitment.
The first campaign for Nevermind managed to reach just over half of its funding goal (that’s $129,615 of $250,000, for context). It saw a significant rise in donations in the final days of its campaign, suggesting it could have earned a whole lot more had awareness spread more quickly. Rather than consider the project to be a total failure, Reynolds wholeheartedly thanked the game’s backers for their interest in the title:
‘First off, a HUGE thank you to all of our amazing backers. Although we didn’t hit our Kickstarter goal, this project was nonetheless a resounding success in helping to build awareness around Nevermind, biofeedback, and positive games. Perhaps more importantly, it has clearly shown that there’s a thriving, active audience that’s eager for games like Nevermind.
We foresee a bright future ahead for Nevermind and that wouldn’t have happened without your help.’
Where other developers might have completely written the project off, Reynolds instead took a more positive viewpoint: interested backers were out there, and whether the project had failed to reach its goal or not, they were still out there, and they still wanted Nevermind. As these individuals were kind enough to donate to the game’s development, Reynolds clearly wanted to repay the favour as she continued to pursue her vision.It must have come as something of a blessing when Intel offered to cover the game’s basic funding. This new deal came at a simple price: include support for the company’s RealSense camera. With things once more in place, Nevermind returned for a second Kickstarter with a revamped campaign that did a better job of showing off the game. In addition to that the new campaign had a more modest goal of $75,000, a target that had already been surpassed by its first campaign. This time around, backers would be helping to provide Nevermind with additional peripheral support (including compatibility with the popular Oculus Rift VR headset).
Nevermind itself perfectly encapsulates the essence of Reynolds’ design philosophy. Through the use of biofeedback technology, the surrealist adventure game teaches players how to manage their stress in a way that can be applied to the real world – and the ability to handle and reduce stress is something the world sorely needs. It’s obviously something Reynolds herself has control of.
As an artist, it would seem that Reynolds isn’t content with simply expressing herself. She wants to see a reaction. She wants her art to directly affect the world around her, to shape, change, and influence the way things are. On her portfolio website, alongside an impressive collection of fine art, a statement from the artist reads:
‘My true love lies in bringing the universe of my all-too-often-overactive imagination into reality. A ludologist and illustrator, I seek to make my world available visually and viscerally so that it may be explored and enjoyed by others. Preposterous creatures, fantastical characters, and landscapes from untold dark fairytales are among my favorite subjects to create. Through both interactive/game design and illustration, I do my best to make these inventions of my imagination manifest; to be seen by the eye, interpreted by the mind, and felt by the heart.’
Who is Erin Reynolds? Erin Reynolds is an artist, a creator, and an innovator with noble intentions, a dreamer who simply wishes to make the world a better place, and one we should be glad to have in the industry. For these reasons and more, Cliqist is proud to induct Erin Reynolds into our Crowdfunding Hall of Fame alongside our previous inductees Tim Shafer and Brian Fargo.
Reynolds can be followed on Twitter, and her portfolio website can be found here. Her latest project, Nevermind, is our October 2015 Crowdfunded Game of the Month and can be found on Steam. You can enter to win a copy of Nevermind and a Wild Divine IomPE bio-sensor below to bring your Nevermind experience to the next level.
Be sure to check out our other Crowdfunding Hall of Fame honorees.