After releasing They Bleed Pixels, Spooky Squid Games decided to fund their next project on Kickstarter. Russian Subway Dogs was a fast-paced arcade game seeking CA$ 50,000. The idea was inspired by the real-life stray dogs who frequent the Moscow Metro. Despite being quirky and adorable in all the right ways, the campaign ultimately failed to raise its funding goal.
Down, but not out, Miguel Sternberg and his team posted an update to their Kickstarter page. In this update, Sternberg promised that he would continue to work on the game until it could be released in some form. While he didn’t rule out the possibility of running a second crowdfunding campaign, there was an important caveat to that plan.
“We will only come back to Kickstarter if we have secured other funding sources.”
Rather than simply returning with a lower goal, the devs decided to pursue outside funding and continue working on the game. This lead to Spooky Squid receiving a grant from the Ontario Media Development Corporation to help fund development. This allowed them to create a new build of Russian Subway Dogs, which they showed off this past weekend at PAX South.
The PAX demo featured an endless mode where players could continue playing until their dog’s untimely demise. The upcoming release will feature new enemies and backgrounds. Although not featured at PAX, there is also a campaign mode with time limits and other challenges.
I asked Sternberg what he would do differently if Spooky Squid decided to return to crowdfunding. His response was that he wouldn’t try to raise all of the game’s funding through Kickstarter. Instead he would target one part of the budget with a smaller goal. “You can’t do the full budget anymore,” he explained.
Lock Onto A Target And Fund It
This was a common sentiment over the weekend. Pretty much every indie developer I spoke with at PAX South agreed. It’s harder than ever to fund a game through crowdfunding. Targeting a specific aspect of the budget while seeking out additional funding channels allows developers to keep from over-promising during their campaigns.
Spooky Squid Games is planning to release Russian Subway Dogs this summer on Steam and itchi.io. In the meantime, players can still check out the original game jam version created for GDC Pirate Kart.