That Which Sleeps is a turn-based strategy game that’s been on Kickstarter for a few weeks now. While strategy games are a dime a dozen, the plans for That Which Sleeps makes it stand out from the pack.  Sure, it’s got the “not spectacular” you’d expect from a game in the genre, but instead of controlling armies of heroes looking to crush the forces of evil, you control a Cthulian monster looking to take over the world.  As the That Which Sleeps Kickstarter enters its final days we decided to have a chat with the delopvers at King Dinosaur Games to see how things are going, and what the future holds.

thatwhichsleeps5Cliqist : Can you call us a little about yourselves?

King Dinosaur Games : We are King Dinosaur Games, and we felt that there is plenty of innovation occurring in Game Development today, especially in the indie scene.   We felt that with so many new and interesting games being released all the time that it gives us the freedom to really stretch for the type of interesting, deep, and immersive style of game we always wanted to play.

We wanted to take the best of what modern game design has to offer and merge it with our favorite genres, making something we felt was really unique and fun.


Cliqist : On the Kickstarter page you mention King of Dragon Pass as a big influence on you. What about it had an impact?  I’ll shamefully admit that I have a boxed copy of it, but have never played it. Time to crack it open?

KDG : KoDP is one of the first things I installed on my laptop and I have it for my iPad.  Its just an incredibly immersive experience.  The way the events string together to create a story, but also the game play elements sort of allow you to “role-play” out your characters in a number of different ways.

I love games that build narrative and yet still give you room to use your imagination, and KoDP was great at that.  If you couldn’t tell by my gush-fest, yes play it.


thatwhichsleeps7Cliqist : I realize you may be sick of giving the speil, but can you fill us in on what That Which Sleeps is?

KDG : That Which Sleeps is a game about being evil – not the gentle kind of humorous evil you often find in the genre, and not the comically inept evil that throws itself on a hero’s blade.

In That Which Sleeps you are cunning and cruel, a long banished ancient evil rising from a deep slumber.  You are weak, and in your absence the world has grown strong.  You will need to manipulate, deceive, and sow discord throughout the world through the use of nefarious Agents, each of whom is suited for particular tasks.

Be careful when wielding your power, you will leave clues that the Heroes of the world may decipher to realize your return – and if they come for you before you are ready you may find yourself again locked beneath the Earth.


thatwhichsleeps6Cliqist : You guys have crushed your original $12k funding goal, and are now over $50k.  Are you suprised?

KDG : Yes and no.  We know we have something really fun and unique based on the feedback we’ve gotten from fans and other developers.  Our biggest concern was would backers be able to look past our graphics and assets to see what really cool stuff we had at the core of the game.  Mostly they have and we get to use these funds to improve those visual elements.

We’ve also had some great media coverage that helped to get the word out to more people.  We’ve been very active in some well known discussion forums as well, and the folks there can attest to how active & responsive we’re been during this whole process.


thatwhichsleeps2Cliqist : What do you attribute your campaigns success to?  Any advice for other developers looking to start a Kickstarter?

KDG : We asked for exactly what we needed to release our game, and then we asked for exactly what we needed to push it to the next level in a few different ways.  We are very responsive and collaborate with our backers and fans so they know that we are out there and we really enjoy talking about the elements of That Which Sleeps.  I think that can be contagious and some other folks got excited by it too.

To other developers that want to crowd-fund I’d keep it to a couple quick and easy points. 1) Have gameplay footage, lots of it.  2) Have a plan for what you’re going to do with the money.  3) Respect your backers as if they were angel investors that own 49% of your company – they are the ones absorbing much of the risk.


thatwhichsleeps4Cliqist : You’re deep into stretch goal territory at this point, having just comitted to proceedural generation.  That’s a big deal.  However, your next few goals are a step back in a way. What was your thinking on the new series of goals?

KDG : We polled our backers to ask them if they were happy with procedural generation as a final stretch goal or if they wanted us to push the envelope and create additional stretch goals.  The answer was overwhelmingly yes (only 3 respondants out of 600+ told us ‘no new stretch goals’).

So we took that into consideration and decided to create stretch goals that would add more content or unique game play to That Which Sleeps without slowing down development or the Beta release.

Ultimately we think they are really fun and will make everyone happy – if reached we’ll get to make some additional aesthetic improvements to polish the release even further, and backers will get more content and game play elements.


thatwhichsleeps3Cliqist : Are you worried about the curse of over-funding?

KDG : We are cautious developers, and put in place stretch goals that have either been tested and documented prior or we have successfully created a Proof of Concept for.   When it became apparent that we would be reaching all of those goals we did have people asking for us to put more features in, but we were honest with them that this is the amount of mechanics we feel comfortable including in the game given our time-frame and budget.

Mitigating risk has always been an essential part of our development strategy and it has brought us successfully this far, now we simply have to apply that same methodology to a larger pool of assets.


thatwhichsleeps2Cliqist : There’s a lot of Kickstarter scams and unfulfilled promises out there. What kind of assurances can you offer backers that you guys can deliver?

KDG : It comes down to personal integrity and professional experience.  We love our game, we love our backers, and no matter what we were dedicated to releasing something awesome.   Now we just have an additional 3,000 or so folks that have preordered and around 300 of them that are going to be working with us directly during the Beta releases.


Cliqist : Can you close us out with a That Which Sleeps inspired Haiku?

KDG : We got stage fright and did two.


They forgot your name

a Prophecy forgotten

That Which Sleeps shall rise


You tried being good

but it was boring and lame

come corrupt the weak

Thanks to the gang at King Dinosaur Games for taking the time to answer our questions!  If you’d like to learn more about That Which Sleeps you can head over to its Kickstarter page.  You can track the progress of the Kickstarter by heading over to our Campaign Calendar.


About the Author

Greg Micek

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

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